There’s more to being beautiful than wearing a killer shade of lipstick. Sure, the occasional facial, massage and hair spa can do wonders but inner and outer beauty need a little more. So what are the ten things that keep successful women of all ages thriving and on track? We spoke to enough women to know that whatever their age or stage in life, there were some lifestyle choices they all have in common.
Making time to exercise daily
It could be a brisk walk in the park, a hectic Zumba session or refreshing swim. At least 45 minutes of exercise daily is non-negotiable. Happy, successful women believe in the value of regular exercise, not because they are trying to be thin, but because they know that exercise relieves stress and increases energy and stamina. Marketing manager Kareena Kumar says, “Sleeping in used to make me groggy. Scheduling a morning workout with my trainer forces me to get out of bed and get going!” Actress Shilpa Shetty credits exercise (and yoga) for making her fitter from within. So, get started!
Not expecting perfection, of themselves or others
There’s enough research that shows wasting time and energy trying to be ‘perfect’ only leads to unhappiness. Successful women know that that they can’t do everything well all the time. Beating yourself up for not throwing the best party, not losing those last few kilos or not getting the best appraisal at work will only sap your emotional and mental energy. As Barnard College President Debora Spar wrote in an op-ed for Glamour magazine. “Don’t emulate Wonder Woman; think about what’s wonderful to you instead. Then boldly, audaciously, joyfully, leave the rest behind.”
Eating a rainbow array of foods
Happy women are healthy women. If you haven’t already, start filling up on veggies and fruit. Avoid fried, processed food, cut our sugars and junk from your diet. Your skin, hair and figure will thank you for it. Actress Deepika P believes “a heathy diet is the first step towards a strong and fit body.” So, pile your plate with lean protein like fish or lentils, veggies and whole grain for a hefty dose of fatty acids and vitamins. Says IT professional Manjula Jadhav, “Cutting out junk from my diet was my way of showing how much I respected my body.”
Taking makeup off every night
No matter how tired, hungover or sleepy this is non-negotiable. Because if you don’t, oil and sweat will clog pores, cause breakouts and make your skin dull and lifeless. Despite her hectic schedule, angelic looking actress Aditi Rao Hydari, says, “I never skip removing make-up with a water-based cleanser. I follow that up with a gentle, soap-free face wash and moisturizer.”
Using a serum
As we age our skin’s moisture levels ebb, so it’s a good idea to start using an overnight facial serum from your mid-20s. These concentrated but lightweight formulas contain molecules that are smaller than those in creams and moisturisers, which means they penetrate deeper. The chirpy, gorgeous Jacqueline Fernandez has oily skin but swears by The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum in Oil for a flawless complexion. Serums tend to be pricey but one only needs a pea-sized amount because the concentrated drops are ultra-efficient.
Wearing SPF, come rain or shine
Enough said about the skin damage caused by UV rays. But if you’re skipping this vital step because your moisturizer or foundation is infused with SPF, stop! You need a separate ‘broad spectrum’ sunscreen (at least SPF 30) whether the sun is shining or not. And if you’re going to stay outdoors, reapply every couple of hours. Actress and fashionista Sonam Kapoor says, "I never skip sunscreen: I apply it 20 minutes before stepping out in the sun." Oily skin? No problem. There are plenty of mattifying, formulas like Plum Chamomile & White Tea Sheer Matte Day Cream SPF 50 to choose from.
Spending time with family and friends
Financial analyst Savita David has an action-packed day at work but stops herself from checking emails the minute she awakes. “I like to chat with my husband over a cup of coffee. Then I meditate for a few minutes. My day goes so much better.” It might sound simple, but a study in The Journal of Positive Psychology found that spending quality time with your friends and family is linked to greater life satisfaction. Successful women already know that!
Drink lots of water
We all know we should, but very few actually do. Actress Priyanka Chopra says, “I am a Cancerian and love water. I drink at least 10 glasses a day and trust me, it has done wonders for my skin.” If you’re worried about the fine lines around your eyes and mouth, it could be a case of dehydration. Drink enough water—coffee, tea and alcohol don’t count—and add loads of juicy fruits and veggies to your diet as well.
Believe in the power of self-love
Most women put themselves at the bottom of a long list. But as successful women will tell you, it’s okay to occasionally luxuriate in the ritual and the pleasure of pampering yourself and making yourself even more beautiful. So go for that long overdue spa sesh right now splurge on the bag you’ve eyed for ages or treat yourself to a girlie holiday.
Express gratitude for what they have
It’s so easy to crib about what you don’t. But remember success and happiness can’t exist in a vacuum. Express gratitude for your support system—your mother in law, house help and colleagues—that allows you to live the life you do. Take a leaf out of talk show host Oprah Winfrey’s book; in 2009, she took her entire staff and their families on a Mediterranean cruise!