Nusraat Faria on beating depression, finding work-life balance and how she took care of her skin during the lockdown

Anyone who has ever met Nusraat Faria will be all praise for her vivacious smile coupled with a warm gesture. This time, when we met for the Jarwa House shoot, the entire team felt the same. As I entered the shooting spot for our August 2020 Eid Ul Adha cover, I saw her clad in a black abaya; with hairs flowing down her shoulders, waiting for the makeup to be started.

At the very first sight, she greeted me with a smile, shining bright like a diamond. It took me only seconds to realise that her skin was glowing with a natural radiance not common among many of her peers. After the exchange of initial pleasantries, when I inquired of her about the secret of jubilant beauty, she gifted a big grin and answered, “no makeup and all-natural food for the last three months”.

For a busy movie star like Nusraat who even had double shifts a couple of months ago, lockdown brought a unique opportunity to rejuvenate herself with a routine with lots of healthy diets. However, as I dug deeper, I came to hear about a story of failure and triumph. “Up until 2018, I had a completely different vision about life: like any other emerging stars, my goal was to do lots of works and act with all the big stars. I was paying no attention to my health; while working day and night, I was pretty reluctant about my mental wellbeing as well,” Nusrat started telling me her story. “Then something odd happened. For some reason, later that year, there was a time when I had no work in my hand. Suddenly no shoot, nothing. Being jobless I found myself stuck in a limbo and it took a toll on my mind. I was anxious and eventually got into depression.” So, how did she overcome those trying times? Nusraat exhales deeply and started over: “I sat back and reflected on everything that I have been kept myself busy with. Those months of joblessness made me think about myself; as if it was a journey towards my inner self and I am thankful to god for that it happened to me. I realised I have to start over by hitting the “refresh” button of my life. That’s how I got intrigued by healthy lifestyle choices and how to maintain a work-life balance”.

For anyone interested to know about her daily regimen, you will be intrigued to know that the star actress, unlike many others, is an early riser. “For a 9 am call time, I will certainly wake up by 7 am and my day always starts with detoxing my stomach. A glass of warm water with cinnamon or cucumber followed by some empty stomach stretching detox my full body,” she stated. Being a big fan of cardio, she engages some more time in full-body exercises, followed by a breakfast comprising of oats and eggs by 8 am.

To maintain good health, we all know the importance of fruit-based diets. Before the lunch, which is mostly protein-based and comprises of chicken and veggies or raw foods like sushi and nori rolls, a small fruity meal with apple or pomegranate is something she would prefer. Nusraat cautiously tries to avoid caffeine; though sometimes, to shrug off drowsiness, she wouldn’t mind a cup of americano. The health-conscious diva is a big chicken lover and prefers it in any form. She always carries different types of nuts like walnut, almonds to snack on in between work-breaks. “One thing you would be surprised to know that toast- biscuit is something readily available even in the remote villages; I carry a jar of peanut butter with me; these two is a great combo to quench my hunger because it provides both carb and protein,” she shared the secret. At night, she prefers her meals to be ready by 7.30 pm–soups with lots of chicken broth and vegetables. “One thing is important to remember and that is we eat more than adequately when we are too much hungry; this is why I try not to wait to get hungry and take small meals to keep my stomach happy,” she added. With this kind of diet regimen, Nusraat always tries to maintain that she is taking not more than 1600 calories a day.

So, does she have any craving for sweets? “Being blessed with a sweet tooth, there was a time for me to impossible to ignore desserts. Eventually, I learned to control that craving. However, I still consider brownies to be my life,” she quipped. To fulfil her craving for brownies, she admitted to having googled a lot and finally managed to figure out some recipes of how to make weightless brownies. “Instead of sugar, one can use honey and apple sauce easily; combined with that, using dark chocolate and coconut water enhances the taste and flavour of the brownie,” Nusraat sounded like a Master-Chef winner. She expressed her gratitude to her team that always carries a stove with them to be able to prepare an easy chicken meal anywhere by boiling the meat with little or no spice and salt. “Processed foods are not good for health as they help us gain weight easily and that’s why I try to avoid them as much as possible,” she suggested.

During the lockdown, Nusraat became a bigger aficionado of natural living. “Every morning, I drink around 800 ml of coconut water. Alternately, I mixed aloe vera with the same and drank, and to be honest, I owe my glowing skin to this concoction,” the diva finally shares the million dollar secret for our readers. As makeup was going on, I asked her now that we are getting into a new normal, works will be back and how does she plan to take care of her skin? “We, the entertainment celebrities are under constant public scrutiny and that unconsciously instil deep insecurity in our minds. We have to look fit, we have to look the best, and we are worth nothing if we can’t maintain the status quo,” suddenly the people’s sweetheart sounds all serious. “This is why I changed my life and workstyle from 2019 onwards,” she continues to add, “I decided to take up roles with good stories; stories which are relatable and feel-good in nature; I started working with brands which intend to send a positive message in the society. For example, I became the brand ambassador of a renowned sanitary napkin and that experience taught me a lot about women empowerment issues. Besides, I started doing regular yoga and breathing exercises. All these lifestyle changes have immensely impacted my physical and mental wellbeing.” She also advised on social detoxing. “The social media is full of misinformation and negativity. I do social detox every other month: for seven days I refrain myself from checking it and trust me, it is helpful in many ways.”

As the lockdown continues, the actress is maintaining hygiene rules and social distancing to ensure the wellbeing of herself and her colleagues. When asked to give parting advice for our readers, she gleefully smiles and says, “take good care of yourself and your near ones. Spend more time with your parents and family and embrace positivity as much as possible. Because we only live once and we must ensure that we are living as happy beings.”