How much time and money do you spend each week on your appearance? How do you nurture your inner life? How can you feel more confident, balanced and beautiful?
Sometimes, it is important to reflect on these simple questions. I do this often, and here are some practical, and wonderful lessons I’ve learned along the way:
Lesson 1: You don’t need to spend too much money to look beautiful. Long ago, a dermatologist told me that skin-care products were unnecessary, even toxic. Her advice, ‘use visors if you’re on a bike, and pull up the windows when you’re in a car to keep environmental damage away,’ made a lot of sense to me, and I have followed it ever since. I use a purely home-made mix of ground almonds, sandalwood essential oil and a little turmeric to keep my skin glowing.
Lesson 2: Good company makes you smile, and everyone looks beautiful when they smile. My inner life is taken care of fabulously well by my strong network of family and a set of fun-loving friends with whom I am always laughing, and enjoy the silliest and smallest of things like going to a mall–even if we buy nothing more than a bag of vegetables!
Lesson 3: Ample water and good-quality sleep are the two pillars of beauty. Try getting along with either one of these, and the results reflect in the dullness of your skin and eyes. As a rule, I don’t drink ice-cold water even in summer, because it dims the agni (digestive fire). And come what may, I switch off the lights and go off to sleep at 10 pm. sharp.
Lesson 4: The mind needs exercise, too! I love to play Scrabble and Chess with friends to keep those brain cells working. Board games have a unique way of keeping you alert as well as relaxed at the same time (much like meditation, actually!)
Lesson 5: Successful people can be wonderful role models. As a lifestyle journalist, I’ve been fortunate to meet some super-successful people who create beautiful things. Think artists, designers, chefs, architects… They invest as much on authenticity (inner life) as much as they do in expression of it (outer beauty).
Lesson 6: Looks do matter. Over the years, I’ve realized the importance of paying attention to what I wear and how I do my hair–these simple things have a huge effect on the way I feel. Also, there is really no excuse for overeating. It adds bulk to your being, and sends out the not-so-nice message that you are neglecting to look after yourself. So, a regular routine of walking or yoga or both goes a long way towards keeping you in shape and boosting your spirits, too.
Lesson 7: Never settle for less. While most of my time is spent working, and I don’t remember the last time I checked into a spa or even consulted the mirror, I make sure I don’t compromise on the quality of self-care. As far as possible, my beauty ingredients are sourced from my kitchen–organic, natural and safe.