Monday, 19 June 2017

Her Wisdom - Suzy Reading



I hope you will join me in welcoming Suzy Reading to my HER WISDOM series today, by chance I started to follow Suzy on Instagram a few months ago after reading some of her wise words in Psychologies Magazine and since then her attitude and philosophy to life has really stayed with me. Suzy's words and ideas on self care continue to resinate with me, she's a mum of two just like me but she cherishes time out for herself just like me too! We also discovered lately that we're both about to turn the big 4-0 with in a week of each other, another journey no doubt we will share together! Hope you enjoy getting to know Suzy better and find some wisdom yourself in her words today...

How do you begin your day? What are the first 3 things you need to do to get your day started?
As I wake I focus my mind on either one thing in my day that I am happily anticipating or something for which I feel grateful. This helps me rise with a feeling of zest, anchored in perspective. I like to use scent that channels how I want to feel –something uplifting, energising, focusing or calming. I love Neom Organics room sprays, facial mists, hand balms and their eau de parfum is an unbeatable mood booster. As I stand tall and take a few deep breaths to savour my chosen scent, I also use a mantra that prepares me for what’s to come in my day. I love that none of these things take long and they form a potent ritual that sets me up for my day. I can check in with them too as my day unfolds, making space for these micro moments of nourishment.

Share your favourite piece of wisdom and why it means something to you.
"Self-care isn't selfish, it's the gift that keeps on giving"
I've learnt this lesson the hard way: When I don't nourish myself, I am rubbish at nourishing those in my care. Conversely, when I lovingly tend to myself, head, heart and body, I have access to my best self and everyone wins. If I want to raise compassionate, resilient kids I need to role model self compassion and I need to empower them with the tools of nourishment. Guilt is pierced with this insight. If I can help just one person avoid the energetic bankruptcy I experienced, then it's all worth it.

What is your go to thing for comfort when it all gets too much?
Think of Homer Simpson saying d’oh! He instantly brings his hand to his forehead. When we experience shock, this is the common place hard-wired response – to either bring the back of your hand to your brow, or if you are sitting, you rest your head in your hands. It is instantly soothing for your parasympathetic nervous system and helps mediate the stress response. This is the first thing I turn to when I need comfort. It may be in the form of earthing my brow if I am seated at a table, if I’m on the go, I will make two gentle fists and press them into my forehead as if I were massaging imaginary horns or I surrender in a yoga childs pose. Try it! Feel how it connects you with a feeling or peace and ease. Physically it softens your eyes and jaw and tension melts away.

Who are the women that inspire you?
I love Amy Cuddy for her work on authenticity, confidence and the way we hold our bodies, Brene Brown for her ideas on vulnerability, Sharon Salzburg for her contribution on compassion, Barbara Fredickson for her concept of love and connection, Sonja Lybumirsky for empowering me with the toolkit of positive psychology and my local go to is Mandy Lehto for real, everyday hacks to being the person I aspire to be. 

How do you see yourself and what makes up your sense of identity?
I define myself by the roles I play in life – such as mother, wife, practitioner, friend, daughter, sister, and by the qualities I aspire to possess in those roles. This is about connecting with my strengths and what I feel my purpose is. I found the ‘Values in Action’ survey really helpful for clarifying this for me and turns my identity away from things I have done, towards how I am in this world and what I can contribute. There is nothing more important to me than compassion, love, gratitude, appreciation and authenticity.

Do you have a favourite dish or recipe that makes you feel good or gives you a much needed boost?
One of my favourite meals is to return to the simplest fare possible. I gather together lots of raw vegetables of an array of colours, pop them all on a sharing plate with toasted wholemeal pitta bread and hummus and tuck in with my kids. This feels cleansing, nourishing and filling. I love that we can share it together and preparation time is literally minutes. My fridge is always stocked with edamame beans so when ‘hanger’ hits the healthiest thing is the easiest.

What does confidence mean to you, what builds yours?
Confidence to me means standing firm in my ground, feeling a connection with the earth and knowing that I have a right to be here. It is about living my truth and acting in accordance with my values. I build my confidence using yoga to channel the power of my body and breath and mantra to harness to power of my mind.

What’s challenging you right now?
Ooh, I love this question. Balance, making peace and letting go. Right now I am finding it really hard to squeeze my growing work commitments into the small windows of child-free time available. I want my time with my kids to be quality but it is hard to be present when emails need answering and writing deadlines loom. It is a constant juggling act where it is hard to feel like I do anything terribly well! And then the making peace and letting go bit is about preparing for the next chapter when Ted starts nursery later this year. We’ve been so blessed with an amazing amount of time together but it’s time for him to spread his wings and for me to spread mine. I’m giving myself permission to feel the multitude of emotions swirling around and to step up and embrace a fuller expression of my professional self.

Tell us more about your latest or next project.
My latest project is my first book, The Self-Care Revolution, which has been a lifelong ambition. I wrote it after Ted was born as my way of making a professional contribution while being available for him. 3 years in the making and I am so excited that it is now coming to fruition! And the next is bubbling away in the subconscious already.. something along the lines of ‘No More Scary Mummy’ or motherhood redefined: how to be the mum you aspire to be… when I finally get the time!

Suzy is a Chartered Psychologist, Yoga Teacher, Health Coach and mother of two. She specialises in stress management, wellbeing and teaching tools of self-care. Want to boost your vitality, reclaim a state of calm or achieve better balance in life? Get in touch with Suzy. She is available for wellbeing coaching via Skype wherever you are in the world.
Drop her a line today: suzy@suzyreading.co.uk 
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