“Outer order contributes to inner calm.” is one of my favourite references from the “Happiness Project” written by author Gretchen Rubin. Rubin uses this mantra as a reminder that clearing clutter and maintaining an orderly environment around yourself can greatly assist in obtaining a sense of inner peace and calm. I constantly apply this saying to both my home and work environment.

I am a clutter clearing addict. My family is all too familiar with my habit of sorting through the entire contents of our home at least twice a year in order to get rid of anything that I deem no longer useful. If my house is in shambles, I struggle to sit down and relax. Conversely, if I feel like the house is in order it is much easier for me to sit down with a good book and a cup of tea, or play a board game with my family.

What I found interesting about my intentions this month, is that they revealed that this mantra can work just as well when applied to your personal physical exterior. By paying attention to my outer appearance and investing just a little time and money into looked “orderly” or “put together” I drastically improved my sense of inner calm. I felt much more put together, which increased my confidence and allowed me to focus on the people I was spending my time with, rather than being distracted by self conscious thoughts or anxiety.

It was rewarding from both a physical and mental standpoint. And it didn’t require drastic changes, no plastic surgery, or paycheque spent on a whole new wardrobe, these were on the surface really small actions. Small, but they left me feeling physically refreshed, which also left me feeling mentally refreshed.

So let’s take stock of what I really did. I ran out of foundation and instead of just replacing it with the same old bottle, I booked a make-over at Sephora to get some ideas for a new foundation that would work better with my pregnant skin. I knew that just buying a new foundation, which I had to do anyway, would cover off the minimum purchase in order to receive the forty-five (45) minute make-over for free. So really, I spent no additional money over and above what I would have already spent on the foundation. But I attained the added bonus of a fun make-over, learned some new application tricks, and left feeling like I had indulged a little. Added Cost: An hour of my time.

Then I went and purchased two maternity shirts from H&M to supplement my extremely slim maternity wardrobe. I only found two shirts that really made me feel good, so that’s all I bought. I’ve worn both those shirts twice this week already, and mixed and matched them with different sweaters and accessories that still work with my pregnant shape. Added Cost: $60.00, and forty-five minutes (45) of shopping.

My third action on this topic was to take twenty minutes each day to invest in getting ready. Thus far i seemed that the more pregnant I got, the less time I was taking to make myself presentable. As though my mind had unconsciously conceded that trying to look good in my eighth month of pregnancy was going to be a losing battle. This happened despite the fact that though through my entire pregnancy I had told myself I would NOT let that happen!

I used those twenty minutes to experiment with my newfound techniques of applying my make-up, invested some effort into what I was doing with my hair, and enjoyed putting together an outfit, even with my limited wardrobe options. (Actually the limited options made it much easier to choose what to wear. A concept I fully intend to apply to my regular wardrobe once I am back into those clothes!)

In reality, taking those extra steps added only another ten (10) minutes on top of the basic face washing, hair brushing, throwing on any clothes that fit routine that I had somehow slipped into. But the difference that additional ten (10) minutes made in how I felt each day was pretty considerable. I felt much more like my old self, like my pregnancy wasn’t taking over my whole body. Added Cost: An extra ten (10) minutes, and a re-structuring of what I was doing with my initial ten (10) minutes.

These three small steps translated into a sense of inner calm and confidence, which no doubt made me more fun to be around when I was spending time with friends. I also know that when I am confident and feeling good, it increases the attraction my husband feels towards me!

A win on all fronts, and an important and timely reminder to make just a little time in my day to put in the effort to look good, knowing that tiny investment will translate into feeling good.

Next-Up: Continuing Being Social – Joining a Pregnant Fitness Class