Cosmetic Surgery – A hindrance to self-confidence?

I had a very interesting conversation with my sister today about celebrities who have done cosmetic surgery and how it may have changed their appearance.

Celebrities have a huge following which means they have the possibility of creating huge social change a lot easier than others. Yet there are some who have fallen victim to the pressure of it all and started changing their appearance to gain more ‘acceptance’ (this may be self-acceptance and/or that from others). As a result they have added fuel to a whole new culture of cosmetic surgery. Obviously they are not the only ones responsible but they have created this notion that having certain facial features is what makes one beautiful. This, in turn, means more of the general population have resorted to such means more easily. Shouldn’t such celebrities be encouraging everyone to embrace themselves for who and how they are? I’ve seen it all being said, but again actions speak louder than words.

Everyone is entitled to have insecurities. However insecurities, in the spiritual sense, represent a bigger problem. It means one is not accepting themselves for who they are and how they look. Cosmetic surgery (unless it has a medical purpose) fixes the ‘effect’ but not the ‘cause’. We need to work on figuring out the cause of this insecurity. Surprisingly, in most cases, the ‘cause’ of this insecurity is down to ‘what others do/think’ or ‘what we define as beautiful’. If it’s a former, it shows that we are not living for ourselves but for others. If it is the latter, we need to question what made us define beauty the way we do.

Confidence is an inside job, so if we are relying on the external appearance to give us confidence, which is an internal trait, where does the problem lie?

Think about it,
Praveena

Study tips for Finals

Finals were a super stressful time for me. However, having all my notes prepared and at the ready to go for when revision started made my life that much easier.

REVISION NOTES

I am usually very last minute with everything, however organised I try to be. I wanted to change that in my final year so I started preparing typed notes from day 1 of final year. Therefore by the time I got to the end of my final rotation, I had just about all my notes typed up.

When it came to revision, I went through these notes and created key cards of points I know are new content and I will struggle to remember first time round. By doing so, I avoided the need for me to have to go through my big pile of typed notes. Instead I had bitesize summary key cards!
Then I started going through these key cards and as I did so, I created my post-it notes (discussed below), which I went through the day before exams.

Overall I went through all my notes for everything at least 3 times before exams.
Everyone has their own way of studying and revising. For me, creating/writing and repetition of notes is important especially will the breath of knowledge I have to acquire for exams.

REVISION SNACKS

I do not know about you guys, but I tend to eat very badly when it comes to revision. I do very little cooking and just eat whatever is available to me. Little did I know then that my eating badly had a knock on effect on my revision productivity, until I changed my eating habits.

When I eat something a bit too filling, I tend to feel sleepy and cannot carry on with revision. For this reason, I began to stick to fruits and vegetables which I would snack on. My favourites have been cucumbers and carrots.

I just wash them and then eat it raw! I find it a lot lighter yet filling. Overall my concentration improved, alongside my productivity and my skin!! A win-win.

I guess the message I am trying to convey is that it becomes easy to neglect our diet when we have revision, but if we took a few extra steps to take care of what we ate, it will have a positive impact not only on our revision, but our body and skin as well.

THE DAY BEFORE AN EXAM

I like making summary post-it revision notes. Why? I end up make pages and pages of notes and revision key cards. The day/night before the exam, I physically cannot go through all the notes so these summary post-it notes are great.

I usually just write the bits that I commonly forget – minute details like certain drug names and doses for particular conditions.

I find it a perfect way to cover everything quickly, provided that I still remember major key concepts and medical presentations/conditions.

Hope you found this useful. I will be sharing more of my revision tips soon so keep your eyes peeled. For the time being if you have any questions or would like revision coaching, give me a message!

Love,
Praveena

My journey to better skin

Skincare is very important for me. Now that I am older, maturer and wiser my attention to my skin is more important than ever. I have decided to share some of the things I do!

My morning routine: I cleanse my face using the Simple Foaming Cleanser; I then Simple moisturizer SPF30 mixed with the Simple hydration booster; and finally I use the Simple Age Resistant Eye Cream.

My night time routine: I remove make-up if I have worn any with the Simple cleansing wipes. I then cleanse with the foaming cleanser (mentioned above); I moisturize with aloe Vera gel at night, rather than creams/lotion.

Two to three times a week I use the all-natural Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Mask, which was recommended to me by a friend. It is absolutely amazing. It not only leaves my skin feeling soft but trust me it has removed my black heads like magic – I have tried so many masks but this is honestly something else.

When I am at home for the whole day, and do not plan to go outdoors, I do not wear sunscreen or moisturizer. I just cleanse my face and if my skin is dry, apply aloe vera gel to cool and moisturize my skin. I believe in giving my skin time to breathe.

I have very sensitive skin which means the less products I use, the better it is for my skin. For this reason I keep my skincare routine very minimalistic and natural, but I ensure I use all the essentials and keep it consistent. The Simple brand products are the only ones which I can use daily without any problems. I decided to commence this brand products when I become a fan of their wipes. I loved how the wipes made my skin feel and look. I knew then that their products were ideal for daily usage.

The products I have mentioned have worked well for me. I cannot guarantee that it will do the same for you, because each person’s skin is different. Therefore it is important to do adequate research into each brand, their methods, their values and their ingredients, before you invest.

Lots of Love,
Praveena

Western Thirumanam Song Selections

Hey all,

Hope you are well.

I am just about recovering from being quite ill for the past few days, but I have not forgotten the promise I made you all.

Many praised my track selections for the Western Thirumanam fashion show, for which I choreographed. I promised to give you the list of the tracks so here goes. All the tracks (a couple of which were selected by the Western Thirumanam team) are in no particular order. I have attached the youtube links as well.

Hope you find it useful.

• VGo Silsila Yeh Chahat – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvocbGud808
• Kadhal Yogi – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_wqHsSIyKg
• VGo Albela Sajan – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoA56k2k1Wo
• Yevvana – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bt8V7WlJnHg
• GrooveDEV Chaiya Chaiya – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWrQD8Tf4ZA
• Dr Srimix Mere Samne Yaarumilla – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xqj6ri9Ll0Q
• VGo Aayat – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxm439etfDk
• Shadow Entertainment Mudhalvane – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Csay8HzFk9I
• Dr Srimix Ancient Indian Summer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9R8zIbgnAw
• Mental Manathil (female) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nx_OQUkjsHM
• Uyire – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dE5SLY5tKEc
• Kaal Mulaitha Poove – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcdbM-lgTOs
• Dr Srimix All the way up – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wq0DtYDg_c
• Sketch Theme (Promo) song – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiMUX8_Qbks
• Pothai Nirathai Thaa – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMxTPmNaFqM
• Zack Knight Bom Diggy – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEgTtQFMjWw
• Lovely – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HT7g_9eNnYk
• VGo En Veetu Broccoli – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H65nitaREbY
• Vidya Vox Tamil Born Killa – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prpFIbl2ZQo
• Ladio – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrZ0rZjtm-4
• Anbil Avan – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5uSwo-gwok
• Ammaye Sannaga – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHGISypQnYQ
• Benny Dayal Tamil Fever – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVYQOW2CIDw
• Bairavaa BGM – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5BuFUIohHM

Enjoy listening and dancing away folks!!

Medical School, Dance and everything else

‘Praveena, how do you manage Medical school, dance, blogging and everything else you do?!’

I am not going to give you the cliched ‘Time management’, ‘organisation’, ‘commitment’ talk. That is given in life regardless of what you want to pursue.

I am going to tell you how much I struggled. Honestly it was tough. Society prefers me to do one or the other, but not everything. This is because society does not believe that I can do all of it well.

I wanted to prove society wrong. I think it is completely okay to have a passion for multiple things. I think it is also okay to pursue it simultaneously with the right mindset.

Being a medical student (now doctor!), dancer/choreographer, having a small wedding choreo business and blogging sounds glamorous but it involved a lot of sacrifices at different stages of my life.

To pursue my medical studies, there were moments in my life that I had to stop dancing. To pursue dancing, there were moments when I had to put dance over medicine. When I wanted to establish my business, I had to sacrifice my health and well being and travel more between cities (driving two hours from Birmingham to London and back doesn’t sound as strenuous but imagine doing that nearly every weekend for the past year!). To blog, I had to invest so much more time into reading.

To pursue it all at the same time, I had to sacrifice my social life big time…and I still do. I couldn’t go out as much because I would have to be awake early the next day to drive back to London/Birmingham. I stopped watching TV shows for a whole year, because I genuinely did not have the time. The big reminder is, this is the CHOICE I made. Others may not be like that and that’s completely fine. Just remember to make a choice that is true to what you want.

During each stage of this process there were failures and disappointments I experienced. As a result I was constantly being judged for my choices. By several people, but I put that all to the side because I knew exactly what I was doing. It may have not been the way others may have done it, but that’s okay because I am slowly getting through it.

Sometimes the balance has tipped and I have made mistakes. It was not all as smooth as it looks. My health, my education, my dance career, business, blogging have all suffered at some point or another. Nonetheless, finding the drive to get through and find the light at the end of the tunnel was key.

Moral of the story – be ready to sacrifice. Be ready to commit. Be ready for criticism. Make the choices to pursue what you love. You do not need anyone’s permission except your own to do good. So just do it!

The journey has only just begun. Being a student did make it a lot easier to pursue everything I wanted to and establish a strong foundation for my passions. I will start working in a month and a half. Therefore, work life is going to present to me a whole new set of challenges, so I do not know what is going to happen and how difficult it is going be. That’s the perks of life though right…ready to take on the next set of challenges to further establish my profession, passion and everything else.

Why Twitter?

I recently re-started using Twitter after ages!!

When I say re-started, yes I mean it. I used to be an ardent fan of Twitter back when I was in 1st and 2nd year of university. Towards the end of 2nd year/beginning of 3rd year my use of twitter waxed and waned and I completely stopped using it. I’m in my 6th and final year of university (at last!!) and I have jumped back onto the Twitter bandwagon. This time however, the purpose of it is very different!

I had a personal twitter account when I was 19/20 years old, which I used for several purposes. Predominantly it was to share my personal emotions and feelings about certain situations – yes, that whole phase in life where social media was used to indirectly (or directly in some cases) target people who we felt had hurt us (looking back I cannot stop cringing!).

Now, 4/5 years later, I am older and wiser. I am slowly on a mission to find my purpose, which means I want to aid people in any way possible to do that. This was my reason for changing the way I started to use social media.

It started with Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and now Twitter. I wanted to use it as a platform to share wisdom and motivation. Therefore, with a new Twitter profile, I decided to begin this new journey. Why? Because we are all in this game of life together. We need to grow together which means we need to help each other out.

Now that I have started using Twitter a lot better, I feel like I am learning more and contributing more to the world of wisdom, which is exactly what I wanted to do.

For those who want to follow me on Twitter, it’s @PraveenaUK 😄

Your Lunch Break

I am sat in my hospital library having just finished a wonderfully refreshing book by Laura Archer called ‘Gone For Lunch – 52 Things to do in your lunch break’.

I have not started working yet but I know that when I do, I will do my level best to ensure I invest at least a good 10 to 15 minutes for lunch – (based on what my friends, who now work as doctors are saying, getting a 5 minute lunch break is a blessing; so let’s see what work life has in store for me!).

Reading this book made me really think about how important taking some time out to invest in ourselves is, especially during a long working day.

How many of us truly give ourselves a well-earned lunch break? We try to multi-task by doing admin jobs whilst eating, we scroll through our phones whilst we eat, or we do not give ourselves an opportunity to eat at all. We get so focused on having to finish work on time that we think working through our lunch break will enable us to do that.

The impact of not giving ourselves a lunch break can be negative on the quality of work and the quality of our health.

We are all entitled to a lunch break. I do not think there is any professional work-place that expects us to work for 8 to 12 hours constantly. So why do we expect that for ourselves?

For us to work productively, we need to have a break. Giving ourselves a fun activity to do during that break will make us look forward to the break and ensure we take it (even if it is for 15 minutes). It also means we return to work after our lunch break, with so much more energy and our productivity will increase. This in turn will make us enjoy work that much more, because we are not tired and we are not hungry.

Remember, we are humans. Not robots. We are entitled to a lunch break so why deprive ourselves of it?

Work. Break. Work – a cycle of full enjoyment!

What is prayer?

Many of us invest a lot of time into prayer, and many of us do not. That is a personal choice and there is no right or wrong about the need to have to pray. However, a statement in a book I read recently made me think a lot deeper about what prayer actually is:

‘Prayer is about [focusing] less on ourselves and more on others’.

I found this statement very interesting indeed and made me realise the difference between meditation and prayer – both of which I do practice.

Meditation enables me to focus on myself. It is all about me and bringing my energies back to neutral. When I pray, I pray to focus on the world around me and makes me aware of those closest to me.

So does prayer have to be considered a religious practice? Absolutely not. Praying has always been associated with religion and there is nothing wrong with that at all. I do nonetheless believe prayer does not always have to be a religious practice. Our thoughts of well-being for others is a form of prayer isn’t it not?

Prayer I think is a practice for humanity to focus, love and grow.

I pray for love across the world!

Late Night Musings

It is 00:19. I have not been blogging in a while, so when I did get into the swing of things today I could not stop myself.

I do think a lot. My thoughts can be my biggest strength and my greatest weakness. However, blogging is a way in which I have started to become more aware of my thoughts.

The struggles and challenges are not a reflection of me. However, the way I deal with them is a true reflection of me.

I constantly face physical, mental, emotional and spiritual difficulties in life. I could be an individual who looks at these challenges as my own failing in life. However I am so proud of myself. Each of these challenges is an indicator that I do not like playing it safe. It is a sign that I am trying! I like doing things that push me and take me out of my comfort zone.

Every day, week, month and year I make sure to strive higher than the previous. Others may not see any growth or difference, but I see it constantly.

With every patient I talk to, every book I read, every blog I write, every dance cover I do, every competition I take part in, every performance I do, every day I survive, I am growing into a better person. This is all taking me one step closer to being the best version of myself.

My hair care routine

I get a lot of enquiries about my hair care when people meet me in person, or via social media. I honestly do not do much, but whatever I do is tailored towards long lasting healthy hair, especially because I have never always had amazing hair. Even now, I have areas of thin/bald patches which have slowly been getting better over time.

A lot of the habits I have acquired are from my mother. She has amazing hair, *touchwood*. I have grown up practicing the following natural rituals which have actually helped my hair grow healthily and long. These have worked wonders for me, but everyone’s hair type is different so I cannot guarantee it will work for you, but nothing beats staying natural!

1. I wash my hair no more than twice a week. Washing my hair too much makes it very dry and increases the chances of me developing dandruff which then increases hair fall. So I usually wash my hair once or twice a week max.

2. Before I wash my hair, I make sure to massage coconut hair oil into the roots of my hair and my hairline. Ideally I would do this the night before I wash my hair, but sometimes due to busy schedules this may not be the case. Even if I do this one or two hours before washing my hair, I see the benefits. The oil has helped me fight off a dry scalp. Putting oil is one thing but actually massaging it into my scalp is what I believe has stimulated hair growth.

3. I use as natural of a shampoo as possible. I’ve started realising that the shampoos with loads of chemicals or are nicely scented actually dry my scalp a lot more. I’ve been using a coconut-based shampoo recently which my mother got me. It is slightly pricey but it has been brilliant for my hair.

4. I do not blow-dry my hair. I’m scared of blow-drying my hair! The moment I have washed my hair I soak up excess water with a towel and then let it dry naturally. I really don’t think that deeply about having to go out with wet hair. It is not the end of world!

5. I do not straighten, curl or dye my hair. I’ve been against using heat products on my hair. I have seen so many girls around me who started off with voluminous hair and then lost the volume over the years due to heat and dying products. I’m quite comfortable with my hair as it is. Sometimes it is a mess, but whatever. I’m comfortable and that’s all I care about.

6. I do trim my hair from time to time. I was so bad at this, I will put my hands up to it. I love my long hair and I would go months/years without cutting it. My mum would look at my hair and tell me off in tamil because according to her my hair would go through periods where it would look like a ‘rat’s tail’! (No offence to a rat’s tail of course). She nagged me a lot and once I did cut my hair, I realised how healthy my hair looked then looked.

7. I aim to drink plenty of water and have plenty of fruits, veg and protein. Many individuals forget that the health of our skin and hair is a direct reflection of the food and drinks we consume.

My mother is a woman who is 50+ years yet her hair is still so voluminous, full of colour and health. I have been religiously following her advice about hair care because I have never had the best of hair. When I am her age or more, I want to have healthy hair so the process to get there starts now.

Hope you found this useful! 🙏🏾