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clocks up 14 minutes on average each morning getting ready

Time:2018-10-11 09:13Shoes websites Click:

confidence Mirrors Self-Esteem my week without mirrors my week without

How much time do you spend staring at your reflection every day?

For me, it takes about 32 minutes to get ready in the morning, with a big chunk of that time taken up by my pre-coffee makeup and hair routine.

Then there's the automatic scrutiny of my body shape after I hop out of the shower; the sneaky hair check when I walk past a shop window; the eyeliner touch-up in the office bathroom before going out for the evening; and the occasional post-dinner lippie application.

It might not sound like much, but over the course of a year those innocent-sounding moments add up to entire days. They keep my thoughts focused on what I look like, rather than how I feel or the projects and issues I'm interested in. And, frankly, sometimes all that beautification feels like a chore.

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To see what happens when I focus less on my appearance, I set myself a challenge: Go one whole week without glancing in a mirror. Document the experience. Reflect on whether my mindset changed.

For comparison, I invited my husband to join me. Ben, an energy consultant, clocks up 14 minutes on average each morning getting ready, from the moment he jumps in the shower. Shaving contributes a big chunk of that time (he only shaves once a week, which keeps his average getting-ready routine time pretty brief).

He says his relationship with the mirror is more utilitarian: he mostly uses his reflection to make sure he's looking polished or that his jumper doesn't totally clash with his shoes.

We predicted the challenge would be easier for Ben, but wanted to see whether both our experiences might be liberating in some way — or whether it'd be just plain inconvenient.

Here's how it went down.

The ground rules

Mirror reflecting a plant in a contemporary home

Image During the mirror-free challenge, Grace was interested in seeing whether it changed her mindset.(Unsplash)

Ben and I banned ourselves completely from looking in mirrors for the week — whether at home, at work, at the gym or elsewhere.

Selfies, webcams showing our reflections, and stopping in front of reflective surfaces to check out ourselves were also forbidden. Asking others to style our hair or choose our outfits was similarly out.

Day 1: Tuesday

Grace Jennings-Edquist and husband Ben dressed for work on day two of the week without mirrors.

Image Both Grace and Ben found the first day mirror-free made them feel self-conscious and "unfinished".(ABC Life)

Grace: Despite having turned all the mirrors in the house back-to-front, I had to actively avoid my reflection in windows, my laptop screen and even drinking glasses this morning. This week is going to be harder than I thought.

I chose to wear a maroon bodysuit and black jeans, thinking it'd be a low-maintenance outfit. But as soon as I set out for work, I found myself self-conscious about whether the bodysuit would create the dreaded VPL (visible panty line), so I ended up wearing an oversized grey jumper most of the day.

I must've been giving off a self-conscious energy because one colleague told me my body language was more subdued than usual.

"You're not meeting our eyes as much," he said. "It's like you're trying to blend into the background."

I was also acutely aware of not wearing eye makeup. While I'd applied my regular foundation base by rubbing it onto my skin like sunscreen, I felt 'unfinished' without my liquid eyeliner, brow gel and mascara combo. It felt like turning up to work in my pyjamas.

Barely anyone actually noticed my more low-key styling, though. Instead, one or two people actually complimented my appearance. So, day one went okay.

Ben: I wore classic, pretty neutral colours for work because I figured they couldn't go too wrong: A white shirt, grey jumper, brown chinos, blue blazer and brown leather boots.

I really wanted to check my shirt, to suss out whether it was crinkled or pulling up at the top, so it was difficult not to check my reflection.

I also surprised myself by finding that I worried about my hair in the morning. Not being able to style it with a mirror was a struggle and freedom in the same stroke. There are always bits that stick up, and my hair's longer than it should be, so it does require some sticking down with product.

Day 2: Wednesday

Grace Jennings-Edquist and Ben on day two of their week without mirrors

Image "By the time I headed out in the evening to a function, I'd almost forgotten about the challenge altogether," says Grace, settling into the challenge on day two.(ABC Life)

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