How I Thrive takes an inside look at founders, entrepreneurs and leaders and the behind-the-scenes self-care work they do to in order to live balanced, happy lives. Today's edition is with BOXFOX founder Sabena Suri, who never hits the snooze button.
Name: Sabena Suri
City: Los Angeles, CA
Company: BOXFOX is your go-to for gifting—whether you need something to celebrate a new home, a new baby, a new marriage or another successful trip around the sun
Role: Co-founder & Chief Strategy Officer
Beyond the role: Foodie, wellness junkie, regular at Body By Simone (dance-based pilates), outdoor enthusiast.
I wake up at 5:45 a.m. every day (yes, I'm asleep by 10 p.m. and get 8 hours!) on the first alarm (no snoozing for me). I do a quick journaling or meditation exercise and head to a workout class at 6:30 a.m., or go on a nice long run, depending on my mood. I come home, shower to a great playlist (I bought a shower speaker last year and it's one of the best investments ever!), and get ready for my day.
I try to pick out an outfit the night before, even if it's just in my head before I fall asleep, so I have a game plan during those precious morning moments. If I have time, I'll whip up a quick breakfast: scrambled eggs and avocado or a green smoothie with collagen (Be Well by Kelly is my go-to nutrition guru).
If I'm being *really* good, I'll make myself an iced latte to go, otherwise I'll mobile order Starbucks and grab it on the way into the office. My commute is the perfect transition from my morning at home to the office—it's usually about 25 minutes, and I'll typically listen to a podcast to get me energized. Depending on whether I'm feeling business-focused or want something more personal development-esque, I'll switch between Problem Solvers, Goop, Almost 30, and Unfinished Biz.
I'm in the office by 9, iced latte in hand (no matter what the temperature), greeting the team, responding to emails, checking our Shopify backend, and making my to-do list for the day.
The first thing I do after work:
My commute serves as a reset from the office to whatever I'm doing post-work, and almost always involves a playlist to quiet my mind and get out of "work mode". Since I'm a morning workout person, that's already taken care of, so my nights are definitely more leisurely.
I used to jam pack the weeks with networking events and social obligations, but now I try to limit myself to a max of 2 commitments per week. It could be a business leaders dinner, it could be catching up with a college friend. The other nights are definitely self-care nights for me: I love cooking a simple dinner or getting takeout (I'm addicted to Sweetgreen) and catching up on a good book or an episode of a show I'm into. I also find that I prefer to do mundane tasks on weeknights so I'm not wasting hard-earned weekend time on those activities, so I'm actually a big Monday meal-prepper.
If I can, I prefer to eat as early as possible, so in an ideal world, I'm sitting down to dinner by 7 p.m. That's not always realistic given LA traffic! Because I'm very health-conscious, I try to cook as much of my own food as I can and am really selective about my takeout food choices for quick meals, which is why I love Sweetgreen, Tocaya, and True Food Kitchen. I do love the LA restaurant scene, though, so when I'm going to dinner I go all out. A couple of my favorites are Jon & Vinny's (dangerously close to my apartment) and Gjelina.
Skincare is self-care for me, so I take a lot of time to take care of my skin before bed with a 12-step skincare ritual. It sounds like a lot, but with a double cleanse, and a couple of facial oils, eye cream, and some more moisturizers, I've gotten it down to a pretty regimented science. Once that's done, I feel ready to wind down!
I get into bed, set my alarm and read my horoscope for tomorrow on Costar while sipping ginger-turmeric tea, which is very calming for me. I love having something grounding going into the next day. Then I put my phone away, light a candle, and either journal or read a book for 30 minutes. I have a strict no-Instagram between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. rule, and it really helps me not get tempted to open the app during time that really needs to be about me. I think it's definitely helped me go to bed with more calm.
Self-care guilty pleasure:
Manicures and pedicures. My nails have to be done for me to feel my best, and whenever I get a mani-pedi, I feel like a new person. I love a good blowout, too. I think big personal and professional events can lead to a lot of uncertainty, but I like that idea that I can at least control how my hair looks.
Self-care hack during the workday:
Sounds weird, but I love switching up my drinks during the day! It gives me a reason to get up from my desk and change my mood instantly with a new beverage. I only do one coffee a day, but I'll rotate between water, herbal tea (green if I need a boost), Spindrift, and sometimes even bone broth in the winter.
How I define self-care:
Self-care is putting your needs first so you can show up for others feeling your best.
Favorite childhood toy or hobby:
I loved playing "store." I loved to merchandise a "storefront" from products in my room and invite my siblings over to "shop." I think that correlation is pretty clear... I guess I was meant to be in e-commerce!
State of your (email) inbox:
0 at the moment! I kind of use my inbox as a task list, but I'm definitely intentional about when I check my email so I'm not constantly reactive. There are days it can feel like all I do is answer email—which, as someone once aptly wrote, is basically completing other people's to-do lists.
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Illustration by Megan Behrendt