Live Your Best Life: Suzy Reading
Living your best life isn’t about having a perfect life or having it all figured out. It’s about living the life you want, being true to yourself, contributing to the world in a way that works for you and focusing on being the best version of yourself each day, whatever that looks like.
I am delighted to bring you the next inspiring woman in my Live Your Best Life interview series. I ‘met’ Suzy Reading on Instagram and her insightful posts on how vital it is that we take care of ourselves, rather than ignoring our own needs in favour of looking after everyone else, really struck a chord with me. Suzy is passionate about spreading the self-care word and I loved finding out more about how she’s living her best life…
Hi Suzy! Can you share with us a little about yourself, what your life is like and the path you took to get to where you are today?
I’m Suzy, mum of two, psychologist, yoga teacher and writer. I knew from an early age that I wanted to ‘help people’ but that path has meandered and often took on a life of its own. I grew up in the sunny northern beaches of Sydney, Australia and after six years at uni studying psychology, I went to the UK for a two month trip that accidentally turned into seven years. During that time I met my lovely husband and launched a flourishing health coaching business. We moved back to Australia in 2009 where motherhood collided with the terminal illness of my father. Life was tough and I felt I earnt my stripes in navigating loss, stress and adversity, and the self-care framework I developed in my own healing journey is the tool I now share with my clients. I know it works – it was the glue that held me together when we moved back to the UK to be with my terminally ill father-in-law, while expecting our second cherub. Self-care coaching finally makes cohesive sense of all my training!
I love that my years of study combined with my life experience allows me to truly help people achieve wellbeing: head, heart and body. Life is a fabulous jigsaw puzzle for me, as it is for so many. There are many balls in the air – mothering, being a wife, running a home, a coaching business, teaching yoga to mums, grandparents, babies and everyone in between, corporate speaking and writing. Self-care is the thread that keeps it all together.
Are there any particular inspirational quotes or mantras that hold meaning for you?
“I am safe, I am loved, I am held” – this mantra came to me while I was carrying my youngest child. As I cradled my abdomen, they were the gifts I wanted to extend to him. It struck me that they were the gifts that I needed as an adult too and that I need to be able to provide them for myself. Repeating this mantra helps me stand tall and connect with my inner resourcefulness and resolve, allowing me to be the best version of myself. They help me lend my calm, abiding centre to my clients and teach them the tools of self-care, self-love and self-compassion.
How do you recognise when life’s getting on top of you?
I have a few different warning signs that remind me I need to slow down and replenish in different ways. One is a familiar ache in my lower back from my figure skating days, reminding me I need to tend to my body with gentle, soothing movement. Another is when I feel I am compulsively looking at my to-do list or social media, telling me to be mindful of stimulation and to nourish my mind and nervous system, and certainly when ‘Scary Mummy’ shows up, reminding me I need to pay into my energy bank.
What do you find helps you get back to how you want to feel?
Daily self-care gives me the best possible access to feeling how I want to feel. Yoga always helps to soothe out my physical aches and lovingly releases what I call ‘mind squeeze’ – that state of tension when you’re feeling full up and reactive. I include yoga postures to stretch out and open up my body to receive a more complete breath, and seated meditation using mudra (hand gestures) and mantra to nourish my mental and emotional health. Nature is a great tonic too and I love that I can enjoy it with my children for collective benefit. Just checking in with my values and purpose can get me back on track too – I do this by simply calling to mind what’s my ‘Why’.
Yes, reminding yourself of your ‘Why’ can be so valuable. What plans, hopes and dreams do you have for the future?
This question comes at a really interesting point in my life! My youngest cherub begins nursery this month, opening up time and space for other pursuits. I have my first book coming out at the end of the year and I am so looking forward to bringing that out into the world and seeing where that leads. Already there are other writing projects bubbling away, on motherhood and promoting wellbeing for kids, all just waiting for the time to be expressed. It feels like rebirth of sorts and I am open to possibilities rather than feeling a need to know how things will take shape. Top of my wish list is a return to Sydney to share with my little boy the Australian part of his heritage. At the heart of all my plans, hopes and dreams lies love, care, kindness and compassion.
Thank you for sharing with us, Suzy. Finally, what does living your best life mean to you?
Living your best life to me means living authentically, in accordance with your values and unique purpose – on a practical level it’s about being the kind of mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend and practitioner I want to be. It means living with zest and presence and savouring life’s blessings. It’s about loving and nurturing those in my care and making a contribution in my own way. We all have our own strengths and a best life is cultivating them and shining our own individual light.
Suzy is a Chartered Psychologist, specialising in wellbeing, stress management and facilitation of healthy lifestyle change, a certified yoga teacher, and a qualified personal trainer. Suzy’s unique self-care framework also emphasises goal setting, values and purpose, taking her clients beyond just an absence of ill-heath and towards a state of wellbeing where they become the people they aspire to be. Suzy is a contributing editor for Psychologies Magazine and the Psychology Expert for wellbeing brand Neom Organics. Her popular ‘No More Scary Mummy’ workshop is next scheduled for 8 October and a new workshop ‘Motherhood: Who Am I Now?’ is in the pipeline for November. Her first book ‘The Self-Care Revolution’ is available on amazon for pre-order now. You can connect with Suzy on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.