Episode 5 - Self Care with Suzy Reading
Suzy is a mother of two, a Chartered Psychologist, Yoga Teacher, and Health Coach. She specialises in self-care, helping people manage their stress, emotions, and energetic bank balance.
It was her life experience of motherhood colliding with the terminal illness of her father that sparked her passion for self-care which she now teaches to her clients.
Suzy is a contributing editor for Psychologies Magazine and the Psychology Expert for wellbeing brand Neom Organics. She grew up in Sydney and now lives in Hertfordshire, UK.
We discuss Suzy’s book The Self-Care Revolution and how it is easily accessible and can be picked up and dipped into at any page without needing to read it cover to cover.
The book was a healing journey for Suzy - her own life experience of motherhood coinciding with the terminal illness of her father. Self-care and the love and support of friends and family are what put Suzy “back together” again.
Suzy wants to help others receive the healing, restorative toolkit which she has learnt on her journey to make self-care part of daily life.
Self-care practices can be micro-moments in your day.
As a psychologist and coming to self-care as a means for coping and healing from stress, loss and change Suzy sees self-care as health care; nourishment for the head, the heart and the body.
Self-care is something that nourishes you in the moment but it also nourishes something that you are becoming - your future self. Suzy guides us to ask your future self if they in this moment agree and, if your future self agrees, go for it with abandon with relish.
Self-care should not be equated with luxury - sometimes it is the last thing you feel like doing. Ask your future self if you would say go for it or rest, for instance. This is an art form - it is not easy.
What may be self-care for one person may not be for another and what may be self-care for you at one moment may not be right for you the next day. Using a toolkit can help us to make self care accessible.
We discuss Suzy’s Vitality Wheel.
Sleep, rest, relaxation and breathing - they are grouped together as they all stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) which helps to mediate stress hormones - healing, calming, soothing. If good sleep is inaccessible - we have rest. If we can’t stop and rest, we can work with our breathing.
Movement - intuitive - nutrition and exercise often equated to physical health. But, we need to move to nourish our mental health and eat to nourish our minds and mental clarity.
Nature - our environment has profound impact on our wellbeing. Outer order creates inner harmony.
Coping skills - linked to CBT training. There are various stress management strategies in the book including mindfulness. Broadening our understanding of self care is key.
Social connection - not just in our relationships with our close family - enormous amount of zest available in connecting with anybody - whether you know their name whether you are going to see them again.. .. bearing witness to someone who is serving you coffee shared meaning - shared self care. Giving a smile to a stranger can make such a difference to your day as well as theirs. You can be of service - it is not just receiving it is and upwards spiral of giving. Kids intuitively try to do this. Be on the look out for plugging in as it feeds the soul.
We are more than just our physical bodies - feeding our inner child, our soul. Looking at our health in its totality.
Goals and accomplishments - looking at ‘What Got Done List’ - bolsters ourselves. Look at how far we have come.
Values and purpose - the “juicy” stuff - getting clear on this helps us to implement self-care. Talking about our values can light us up.
When we are nourished we can show up as the best version of ourselves.
Mood boosters - skills and activities - listening to music, YouTube video, your posture, scent, colour, outfit change to lift the mood. Skills to allow us to extend nourishment to ourselves is kindness, compassion, gratitude, savouring and curiosity. Suzy thinks they are skills available to us all.
Why self-care is so important - we can’t live without it. Once we get clear on the purpose it becomes clear - 5 reasons:
To help us cope.
To help us heal and recover.
To provide a buffer against change.
To give us access to our best self.
To raise resilient children - we need to model this for our kids.
How to incorporate self-care into kids’ life - collective self care/family self care. What nourishing skill or activity can you all do as a family?
Include self-care so it becomes an approach to life.
Self-care in the holiday season - “savour the good and make peace with the shitty”. Compassion is guiding principle, setting intentions around visiting family etc - making memories together and enjoying space together - helps frame mind and be more patient.
Energy bank basics - sleep, feeding brain, movement, connecting with people you love, white space - absence of stimulation and ambition. If you are not getting these, there is a need to be mindful of this and change our expectations.
Self-care in relation to the article here - Suzy said the misunderstanding is the equating of self-care with luxurious time-consuming acts. The word used in the article was self gratification. The original context of self-care was in the used in relation to workers in high risk roles. They need to engage in self care so they can sustain themselves.
We all have a fallible body. Nobody is immune from trauma. We need self-care to help us heal and have a buffer for the next event.
Need different self-care toolkit when we become mums. Needs to be articulated before we have our baby when we are squeezed energetically. This is when we learn to parent ourselves. It is our responsibility as mothers. We are stepping up to learn how to parent ourselves. Small, micro steps.
Suzy subjugated her needs entirely as a mum and ended up sick - she sees it as having to do it for the benefit of ourselves and our kids.
Favourite food - avocado
I loved reading this article from Bustle to give me some ideas and context for self-care in the New Year.
Suzy’s website is here
Suzy’s book The Self-care Revolution is available on Wordery
Join Suzy’s wellbeing community at:
Article on self-care in relation to Brooklyn Decker can be found here.