Work To Live. Not Vice Versa

Lavanya SURESH responds to ThinkWellness360 questionnaire:

Your view on beauty?

Beauty has a glut of facets, including the age-old cliché that it resides in the eyes of the beholder. If I were asked what beauty means to me, personally, my spontaneous riposte would be the Tamil proverb, Agathin azhagu mugathil theriyum. When transliterated into English, it means, “The face is the index of the mind.” In other words, ‘agam’ refers to the inside; and, ‘mugam’ to the face. Our ancestors believed that what’s inside you reflects on your face — physically and mentally. I have always believed in this adage. To be truly beautiful, for me, is quintessentially representative of a healthy mind in a healthy body, and vice versa.

Your ‘take’ on fitness?

For me, fitness is about feeling healthy and being in good shape to doing routine and focused activities that I want to do and living the lifestyle that I want to. A balance of physical fitness — i.e., good BMI, flexibility and muscular strength — and, appropriate nutrition and emotional fitness is what I believe is prerequisite for one to be called fit.

Your view of health and wellness?

I go by the WHO ‘maxim,’ “Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease.” While this is true in many ways, one cannot be free of disease all the time in one’s lifetime. For me, wellness is being able to progress towards one’s maximum potential, regardless of one’s current state of health. This can only be achieved by maintaining a healthy lifestyle — in terms of physical and mental factors. Having a balance thereto: of good health and optimal wellness is critical for a happy, long, vibrant life.

Your ‘take’ on work-life balance?

The moment you say work-life balance, one thinks of fixed work hours, holidays, attractive salary, and employee-friendly work culture. Well, work-life balance, in my perimeter of thought, ought to be determined by the following questions. “Do I enjoy going to office?” “Do I feel guilty to have a personal life that I love to prioritise? “Is money the only motivating factor to work?” How well you answer them reveals how you are managing work-life, life-work and personal balance. You should enjoy working and not feel guilty of having a personal life away from the monotony. I always follow one rule [with apologies to Socrates] — work to live; don’t live to work.

Your mantra to beat stress?

This is my alter ego, the chemical engineer, speaking. Water is my mantra, as also habits, hobbies and oxygen. Habits makes our life better. It rules out uncertainties in daily activities. By following good habits, one is organised; also relaxed. Next comes hobbies; hobbies are a great source to unwind and focus on things that make you happy. Gardening is my hobby. When I take time to make myself available for the plants that I grow, I think of nothing else but plants. The few quality hours I spend every week allows me to unwind and recharge myself. Yet another important factor for a stress-free life is oxygen, just like meditation is to relieve stress. I practice breathing exercises regularly to keep my mind and body stress-free. Finally, water — you ought to give your body the hydration it needs to take care of itself. Most health problems start with ‘pitta,’ i.e., ‘fire’ generated in the stomach. Hydrating well is good not only for our body, but also our mind. This, along with a habit-centric, well-planned lifestyle, and hobby makes me happy. Focused breathing, exercise in general, and keeping myself well-hydrated, is my ‘open secret’ to leading a stress-free life.

LAVANYA SURESH, BE [Chemical], LLB [General], PGD [Patent Laws], is first and foremost a daughter, home engineer, and soul mate to an amazing man. She has over eight years of on-the-job experience in handling matters related to intellectual property rights, viz., patents, trademarks and copyrights. She lives in Navi Mumbai.

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