March is the month where we celebrate many things including Mother's Day and International Women's Day so I thought it appropriate to feature some inspiring mums and we'll be showcasing them throughout March - hope you enjoy the "March of Inspiring Mums" series!
Today we'll be featuring the lovely Suzy Reading - a mother of two, a Chartered Psychologist, Yoga Teacher, Health Coach and Author, who specialises in wellbeing and empowering people with the tools of self-care and managing their stress and emotions.
She has exchanged the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia and now lives amongst the hills, woodlands and deer of Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire with her family.
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, young and old, to cope during periods of stress, loss and change and to boost their resilience in the face of future challenges. Suzy is a contributing editor for Psychologies Magazine and the Psychology Expert for wellbeing brand Neom Organics.
1. Tell me a little about yourself and how you got into the job you’re now doing?
My career has had many twists and turns, but the one thread running through it all is nourishment, compassion and care. I worked as a personal trainer for a decade, which taught me the importance of movement and posture for health, and the inextricable link between mental and physical health. Teaching yoga for me is the bridge between the mind and the body and I love weaving it into my work now as a Psychologist. It was my life experience of motherhood colliding with the terminal illness that introduced me to the concept of self-care and in my own healing journey I learnt first-hand its transformative power. I am passionate about sharing those same skills and strategies with others, hence my book ‘The Self-Care Revolution’ which came out in December 2017. My work now involves coaching, counselling, walk and talk sessions, private and group yoga, postnatal yoga and self-care courses, corporate talks and hopefully, more books!
Tell me one interesting fact about you?
I used to be a figure skater and can still pull off a spin or two!
Please can you share 3 tips for managing the juggle of motherhood, life and business?
- I learnt this one the hard way, and this is why empowering people with the tools of self-care is my absolute passion: nourish you! Energetic bankruptcy serves no one. Your children need you to keep going and keep giving. If you fall in a heap who will take on your responsibilities? For the wellbeing of your family, make sure your health gets a look in too - it's not me ‘first’, it's me ‘as well’. You are your business's best asset. If you want to make sound decisions and be productive, take care of yourself head, heart and body. There is nothing selfish about this, it is wise and necessary. There's nothing indulgent about brushing your teeth so why should your mental/emotional health be any different.
- Know your ‘why’. It's not enough to know what you want, you need to get clear on your WHY. Why did you embark on your business? Who do you want to be as a mum? What qualities do you aspire to possess? Knowing these things will galvanise you when you are tested by life, and you will be tested. It’s not just negative events like illness, job stress or conflict in relationship that can tax our energy bank, things we most desire, like buying a house, scoring a promotion or a new client, even planning a holiday can deplete us too. No one is immune!
- This last one I am still learning... Speak up. Give voice to your feelings and needs. Ask for help. And remember you are not surrounded by mind readers. Allow yourself to be just one, fallible human being and you can't do it all, all the time. You'll be surprised how many people are just waiting for you to say the word!
What’s the best piece of advice you could give a new mum?
Write down your self-care toolkit! It’s not enough to just think about this stuff, you need to write it down. Having a clearly articulated selection of nourishing practices from which to choose will circumvent a whole heap of floundering about, because in that state of chaos, the frazzled nervous system, the flooding of stress hormones, it is damn hard to think straight. We know we need to take action to nurture ourselves, but where do we start? If you have it written down, you have a massive advantage.
Parents need a whole new toolkit of soothing, energising and healing practices – things that take ZERO time, energy and expense. Please spend some time reflecting on the kind of skills, activities and tools that help replenish your energy bank and write them down. If you’re in that state of overwhelm and you don’t know where to start, hang in there, go gently, I’ve been there too. You just need someone to brainstorm with you, someone in your corner who can help you pin down things that are truly accessible and transformative. You’ll find a whole framework of self-care in my book, The Self-Care Revolution and if you ping me an email I’ll send you a link to a free download with The Vitality Wheel to inspire you. Join my wellbeing community at Instagram for all the lessons I am learning about self-nourishment and for my favourite tips and tools.
Colour can make a real difference to our mood - what’s your favourite colour? And how does it make you feel when you wear it?
Warm peachy tones and bright pink fuschia lippy. Wearing these hues makes me feel wrapped up in love so I can radiate that tenderness and care to those around me.
What’s your favourite activity to do with your children?
This has to be some kind of immersion in natures beauty. I love getting outdoors and soaking up the sensations, sights, scents and scenes around us. We savour the experience, talking about what we are noticing. This is such a potent mood booster and I love that my kids volunteer what they're appreciating unprompted now. This transforms the hum drum school run into a nature walk. Collective self-care!
What do you like to do for some me-time?
Things like soothing yoga, legs up the wall pose, listening to a podcast while out walking/ jogging, reading something uplifting with my feet up by a sunny window, conscious relaxed breathing, mudra and mantra meditation and a damn good cuddle always helps :)
Self-care is so important and Suzy loves to share her knowledge and help others. As women, there are so many things to juggle but it's important to look after yourself too - I love the concept of managing and being aware of your "energetic bankruptcy". Thanks Suzy for the great reminder of this and for sharing an insight into your world!
Her first book ‘The Self-Care Revolution’ published by Aster, is also available here.
If you've enjoyed this interview, make sure you check out our other "March of Inspiring Mums" series here