#POPxoWomenWhoWin: Elle Beauty Director Mamta Mody On Skincare, WFH & Dealing With Burnout

#POPxoWomenWhoWin: Elle Beauty Director Mamta Mody On Skincare, WFH & Dealing With Burnout

If there's one profession that has been glamourised in popular culture for decades, it is publishing. Any young woman with an inkling towards writing, fashion or beauty would grow up fantasising about walking through the shiny doors of Vogue à la Andy in The Devil Wears Prada. But how accurate are these portrayals? Are all magazine editors mean like Miranda Priestly? Can weekly columnists afford Carrie Bradshaw's exorbitant Manolo Blahniks and a one-bedroom apartment in New York City's Upper East Side? Or is it all about spending hours chatting with your girlfriends in the fashion closet like The Bold Type?

In the spirit of keeping it real, POPxo decided to catch up with some real-life media mavens about their life and journey in the publishing industry. Through this series, we hope to give you a peek into the minds of some of the most powerful women in India's media landscape. Today, Mamta Mody, Beauty and Health Director at Elle, opened up to us about her morning routine, a typical WFH day and dealing with burnout.

How do you start your day? Do you have a morning routine?

Having interviewed several successful people and wellness experts about their beauty routines, I wish I could say that it’s rubbed off on me. Sadly, I’m not the responsible adult who wakes up early, drinks moringa-infused warm water, exercises, and eats a wholesome breakfast every morning. While my mornings were more organised when I had to go to the office, now I’m happy if I can manage to do two of those things before 9 am. It’s tough to stick to a schedule while working from home, but I try not to be too hard on myself for slacking off either. However, I have managed to adopt one good habit during the lockdown. I bought an alarm clock, which means I don’t have an excuse to look at my phone as soon as I open my eyes. I can get to the notifications and non- stop scrolling a little later in the morning.

What does your morning skincare routine look like?

My WFH skincare routine is pretty basic: I use a serum, moisturiser and sunscreen. Since my skin is quite dry I avoid using a face cleanser in the morning unless I really need it.

The pandemic has most of us locked in our houses with our family. So what does your typical workday look like?

In moments of stagnancy and monotony, a routine gives the day some structure, but it’s been really infuriating to follow any kind of routine while working from home. Most days are a blur of phone calls, meetings, emails, deadlines and house chores. The biggest challenge has been overcoming distractions, but creating a to-do list has really helped me here. I’m a big believer in making lists, and it’s so satisfying when you can tick off all your tasks at the end of the day. Now that it’s tough to separate my personal time from my workday (I wish I had that discipline), I add my personal chores to this list as well. We’re all juggling much more than usual during a typical workday, so it helps to be a little more forgiving towards yourself when you can’t achieve everything you set out to accomplish that day.

Work from home has blurred the boundaries between our personal and professional lives, with many of us working longer hours than we used to pre-COVID. How do you deal with burnout?

Dealing with burnout is a fairly personal experience. I first try to process how I'm feeling before I remedy it. If I have a stress headache, I’ll be sure to sip on water and I’ll try a breathing exercise. I find The Breathing app quite helpful, it guides you through a simple resonant breathing exercise that rebalances autonomic nervous systems. If I feel up to it I’ll do a 10-minute cardio workout, but on really tough days I allow myself some time to wallow before I get back to work.

What is the one thing you look forward to every day?

If only my life was so exciting that I had something fun to do every day, but I try to plan one fun activity every week.

Despite the pandemic and self-isolation, our lives continue to be hectic as we juggle work and family life from home. Do you manage to find some time just for yourself every day?

Instead of struggling to carve out a few hours or an entire day for myself, I try to take short breaks during a workday. Whether it’s breakfast with no-screen or stepping away from my laptop for 15 minutes in the middle of a workday, it’s important to make that little time count by doing something worthwhile instead of scrolling through social media.

If there was something you could tell your pre-pandemic self, what would it be?

It’s really possible to live with less. Now that I’m spending so much time at home I can see how many unnecessary things I’ve accumulated.

Featured Image: Mamta Mody