You are reading the “New Normal” series, for which I’ve invited a few beautiful souls to open the doors, figuratively of course, to their homes and lives, and share the stories of their new reality — how does that look and feel? How are they adapting? How has it shifted their mindset and approach to life? But I’m most excited to share their #stayhome and #WFH tips and recommendations in the self-care guide at the end. In this chapter, I speak with Savina Chai, an entrepreneur so driven and hardworking, who’s a well-balanced alchemy of style and substance, with a precocious wisdom to boot. She is also the founder of my new favourite beauty read, BEAUBIT.
“ADJUSTING TO THE SLOW PACE OF LIFE IS NEW TO ME. I HAVE TO FIND CALM WITHIN MYSELF TO BE ABLE TO RELAX.”
Karman: How are you today, Savina?
Savina: I’m feeling great today! I had a productive morning and am ready to challenge myself mentally.
K: How are you acclimitising to this “new normal” across all spaces of your life?
S: Work has been non-stop last year. I travelled for business twice a month with no rest when I’m back. I had to re-adapt to a slower pace and a less packed schedule. I was a little stressed because I suddenly had all this time on my hands, but it made me realise that being busy doesn’t necessarily mean I am progressing and succeeding. I had to refocus my priorities.
At home, I am revisiting working out from home, something I used to do but gave it up to go to a physical gym. I’m also taking the time to listen to podcasts. At work, it’s about solving problems to adapt to changes brought on by Covid-19.
“It made me realise that being busy doesn’t necessarily mean I am progressing and succeeding. I had to refocus my priorities.”
K: Where are you finding it to be the most challenging adjustment? And in which area(s) have you discovered/maintained joy, calm and positivity daily?
S: Accepting that some days will be quieter than others. I’ve had such a busy year, socially and professionally. Adjusting to the slow pace of life is new to me. I have to find calm within myself to be able to relax.
K: What does self-care look like for you now?
S: I have more time in the evenings now. I have time to finally have a cup of tea! That is such a simple but amazing way of taking care of myself.
K: How new insight, outlook on life has this crisis offered you?
S: I am thankful for this opportunity to rethink my business strategy. It will be even more challenging going forward, but I use this time to progress and look within.
K: In what ways do you see yourself looking/being different when we’ve emerged from this on the other side?
S: I’ll have become more appreciative of my work, my home, my cats, my friends and my life.
SAVINA’S #STAY-HOME SELF-CARE GUIDE
The extra time I have at home is spent on…
Cleaning my two cats and housework.
I’m listening to…
“How to Hack Your Mind (And Heart) to Change Your Life” on The School of Greatness podcast.
My go-to workout video is…
Les Mills’ home workout which you can stream on YouTube. I love it.
My Morning Routine
I start my morning with coffee and a 30-minute workout.
My five #WFH tips for staying productive and disciplined, and setting boundaries between work and personal time/space:
1. Being productive is a mental state that is achieved with discipline, commitment and endurance. The easiest, fastest and my favourite tip to increase productivity is by physical exercise. You learn personal discipline while keeping fit.
2. Schedule calls before lunch. It helps rest your eyes after a couple hours on your screen.
3. Start your day early and commit to waking up by 8am daily. No snoozing allowed. Weekends included.
4. For me, it’s work smart over work hard. If you’re taking more than an hour to complete a task, you’re not doing it right.
5. Stay off the Internet when you’re working. Schedule work time into blocks of two hours.
Photos: SAVINA CHAI
[Sentiments and thoughts expressed here are accurate as at April 1, 2020, when Savina wrote back.]