I Limited My Mirror Time to 10 Minutes a Day—and It Made Me Rethink My Own Reflection

Photo: Getty Images/Westend61
On an average day, I probably spend 30 to 60 minutes looking into a mirror. Last week, I set out to see if I could change that. My mission was simple: I whittled the time I spent with my own reflection down to just 10 minutes, either all at once or sprinkled throughout the day. For the most part, though, I used up my allotted time when I was getting ready in the morning. Then, I spent the rest of the day dodging my own reflection in bathroom mirrors and storefront windows.

Throughout the course of my experiment, I stuck to my typical exercise regimen, work schedule, and social life as best I could. Most of the time, I actually liked this experiment! It taught me that I can cut down my beauty routine significantly and still go about my day as usual. The only times the parameters I'd set for myself really got in my way were during a workout and when I really wanted to check my smile for spinach before heading to my next meeting.

During fitness classes I made a point to book my spot in the back of the class so I wasn't as inclined to look in the mirror. Obviously, there were times when I caught and corrected myself. It did become an issue during Barry's Bootcamp, a treadmill and strength training class I go to a couple times a week. We were doing tricep extensions and I wanted to make I wasn't bending over too far, so I let myself have a quick glance in the mirror to check my form.

The urge to cover something up, to add another layer of mascara, to tweak this and that was turning me into my own worst enemy.

The physical beauty part made me feel much more self-conscious. I didn't know if my makeup was running down my face, or if my hair was out of place, and I just had to roll with it. Luckily, I didn't hear anyone gasp in horror at my appearance. One night I went to dinner with friends after work. With a long day behind me, I normally would have gone to the bathroom for a touchup, but I didn't! I was kind of self-conscious about it for the first half of the evening. But when I told my friends about Project Nix the Mirror, they said, "Honestly, you look the same!" And, honestly, that made me feel good.

The weekend was refreshingly easy because I was out and about for most of the day. In the morning, I brushed my teeth and washed my face in a quick five minutes. In the evenings, I showered again and did my makeup once more before heading out. The most notable realization is that so much time I'd been spending in front of a mirror just isn't needed; I don't need to worry about covering up so-called imperfections. At the end of the day, it's fine. The urge to cover something up, to add another layer of mascara, to tweak this and that was turning me into my own worst enemy. I realized I'm in control of my mirror time. Limiting it—even for just a week—let me take back the power I'd surrendered to my own reflection.

As told to Kells McPhillips.

Certain mirrors might make you (and everyone else) look like the Corpse Bride. Here's how to stay confident despite 'em. And check out why one fitness lover works out in front of the mirror for higher self-esteem

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