The first in our series of self-care posts for #thebigselfcareshare is from Suzy Reading, Psychologies Magazine Mind Editor and Neom Organics Psych Expert. She is also a Speaker and Author of The Self-Care Revolution.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a mother of two, a Chartered Psychologist, Yoga Teacher and Health Coach. All my professional qualifications combined with my life experience lead me to my current offering. I’m passionate about empowering people with the tools of self-care, which is the one thread that draws together all my different training and therapeutic modalities. I love to help people better manage their stress, emotions, and energetic bank balance.
It was my life experience of motherhood colliding with the terminal illness of my father that sparked my passion for self-care which I teach to my clients, young and old, to cope during periods of stress, loss and change and to boost their resilience in the face of future challenges.
I love flying the flag for self-care and relish the opportunity to be a contributing editor for Psychologies Magazine and the Psychology Expert for wellbeing brand Neom Organics. My first book ‘The Self-Care Revolution’ came out this year and I’m very excited to have more in the pipeline.
What does self-care mean for you?
I think we need a crystal clear definition of self-care so we can fully embrace it both as a concept and a practice. There’s an awful lot of confusion out there! I define self-care as health care. It is nourishment for the head, the heart and the body.
I define self-care as health care. It is nourishment for the head, the heart and the body.
There’s a second part to my definition that helps us choose the most nourishing action in the moment and that is, self-care nurtures you in this moment AND nurtures the person you are becoming, your ‘Future Self’ so to speak. Self-care is not always easy or comfortable, sometimes it is the last thing you actually feel like doing, but the true act of self-care is the choice that is genuinely life-giving and nourishing. Sometimes that might be a pampering, soothing practice, sometimes it’s stepping up in a way that might feel challenging. Self-care helps us to cope in the moment, to heal and recover from times of stress, loss and change, it provides us with a protective buffer against future curveballs and it gives us access to our best self… it really is the ultimate win-win.
How do you incorporate self-care into your daily routine?
I absolutely love this question because while we all know what we need to do to feel healthy and vibrant, it’s another thing to actually make it happen! There are several approaches that I use to make self-care a part of daily life.
The first is thinking of self-care as ‘micro-moments’ of nourishment. Nothing grand or elaborate is needed, it needn’t take long! Self-care can be tiny little ways to de-stress dotted through your day, like using scent, the breath, your posture, a single yoga pose, tuning in with nature, or using a mantra.
The second is turning everyday actions into self-care. What are you already doing that you can make more nourishing? The way you greet the day, the way in which you dress, how you shower, how you eat your meals, the way you talk to yourself? You can turn these into a ritual of nourishment with awareness and choice.
What are you already doing that you can make more nourishing?
The third is to make mindful use of my downtime – it’s easy to fritter away precious spare moments. Choose carefully how you use your spare time by using the prompt, what do I need now?
Share a self-care tip, something that’s helped you on your path to being kinder to yourself.
Build your own calming toolkit:
Think of any challenge you are facing right now and come up with a path of action. Humans thrive on certainty, so even if you can’t guarantee a particular outcome, having a defined toolkit of things to try can be a powerful coping strategy. Think along the lines of ‘when ‘X’ happens, then I will ‘Y’ – these primer statements become even more potent when written down and I keep mine in my journal. Creating this toolkit can diminish anxiety and will help you take swift, constructive action when challenges arise.
Some ideas include:
- When I am feeling overwhelmed, then I will… take a child’s pose, be with my breath for one minute, make sure I have eaten something life-giving in the last hour, repeat the mantra: I soften into this moment.
- When I can’t sleep, then I will… try a brain dump with a pen and paper, scan through my day and think of three blessings and why they happened, use my magnesium oil spray, make my exhalation longer than my inhalation…
I hope your toolkits serve you well! And if guilt about engaging in self-care pops up (it is a tenacious creature) remember, it’s not me FIRST, it is me AS WELL.
We’re in it together.
Wow. What a way to kick off #thebigselfcareshare. Thank you so much for your valuable contribution, Suzy, and for teaching us that small steps can help us make big changes. You can join Suzy’s Wellbeing Community at:
And visit her website: www.suzyreading.co.uk