Umaimah Mendhro is the Founder & CEO of VIDA, an apparel and accessories platform that allows shoppers to buy beautiful items while also supporting communities around the world. To create VIDA products, independent artists, designers and makers come together, not only to produce work, but also to  support each other. Umaimah was raised in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, then attended both Cornell University and Harvard Business School, where she was a Baker Scholar. Always motivated by giving back, she took a year away from Harvard to travel to her hometown and build a school for children there who had no access to education. Talk about inspiring. With VIDA, Umaimah is actively promoting her belief that “fashion can be responsible, accessible, and innovative.” Below, this incredibly impressive founder tells us about the self-care rituals she follows to feel her best.  

Bad habits you’ve cut from your daily routine?

  1. Mindless snacking. It’s easy to mindlessly snack to de-stress, so I’ve made a point to cut that out.
  2. I am also trying to choose healthy snacks over processed and salty options. I’ve made a habit of carrying my little mid-day snacks to work with me – handful of nuts, cheese sticks, carrots or fruits, and only eat the set amount I bring every day.

Good habits you’ve added?

  1. Working out. I fit in 30 minutes of working out every day and start my day with 5 mins of quiet/thinking time followed by a 30-min run on the treadmill.
  2. Connecting with my family. I take a moment to call my parents in Pakistan (I speak to my mother almost every other morning).
  3. My mind is constantly running, so reading is a great mental break for me and I end most days with 30 minutes of quiet reading.

How do you take care of yourself throughout the day?

I think it’s really important to take time to clear your mind throughout the day, so on most days, I try to step out for a 10 min walk around the block – sometimes by myself, sometimes to catch up 1:1 with our team – when I need to refresh my brain. I also usually block a chunk of time on my calendar to ensure I get time to think and plan ahead.

Are there any activities or hobbies you do to relax?

One of my favorite ways to de-stress is by cooking. Reading is another activity that helps me relax and disconnect – I’ll read the day’s tech, fashion, and business news on Flipboard and read a book for at least 30 mins or so on my Kindle. I watch TED Talks during my 30 min treadmill runs in the morning.

How many hours of sleep do you get a night?

I try to get 6 hrs of sleep every night. One thing I’m trying to work on is disconnecting completely from my phone and laptop right before going to bed or if I wake up in the middle of the night .

Do you have a favorite wellness trend? 

Mindfulness. With all the multitude of things on our minds any given day, I think it is very important to pause, reflect, and just take a brain break for a few minutes. This helps me be more present, focus better, connect the dots from previous thoughts and conversations, and be a lot more creative at work.

What is your favorite healthy food?

I eat the same breakfast and lunch every day, which incorporates healthy veggies, fiber, and protein. I love kale and Brussels sprouts and, prepared Mediterranean style, okra and eggplant.

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