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 Founder Collective principal Parul Singh, who has a heart-melting family gratitude ritual and is all about staying up late and eating chocolate in the name of self-care.
Name: Parul Singh
City: Lincoln, Massachusetts
Company: Founder Collective, an early stage seed investment firm.
Beyond the role: I am the mom of an energetic three and five year old. In my nonexistent spare time, I love to bake, read science fiction and do spin or yoga.
My kids doing a flying leap into my bed sometime between 5:45 and 6:15 a.m. My husband gets up with them and gets them breakfast and lets me sleep until 7. To be honest, I am not a morning person! For breakfast we have tea, fresh smoothies, egg whites or oatmeal and fruit. By 8 a.m. all of us are fed and dressed.
Before quarantine, we were usually out of the house by 7:30 a.m. and I would drop my kids off at daycare before work. These days, we're more leisurely. My husband and I trade off with the kids while the other does work calls. I usually sit down at my desk by 8:30 a.m. I always check in with my Silk + Sonder first thing in the day, setting my one word intention. I use the daily calendar to keep track of any small things that come up, and check them off as I do them.
I'll also keep a running list of gratitudes and brags for that day. My day usually alternates between pitch video calls and email. I try to take breaks to check in with my kids or go for a short walk around the block. I'm much better at this now that we're quarantining — a silver lining of slowing down so much, I guess!
The first thing I do after work:
I usually head outside to play chase with my kids. We live in a semi-rural area and they love to ride their bikes, or hang off this slackline we rigged up between two trees. My three-year-old just likes to dig, so we have to keep him away from our neighbors' lawns.
After checking in, I'll try to sneak in an indoor spin ride before dinner. Or some days we will take the kids for a long "adventure" walk before dinner — it's perfect to tire them out and get our minds off our screens.
We eat at home with our family around the table. My husband and I take turns cooking, generally trying to keep it healthy. For rituals, this will sound incredibly cheesy, but my husband was leading a positive psychology module at his school and so we started doing family gratitudes at dinner. When your three-year-old says, "what makes me happy is my family," your heart just melts.
I am a night owl, so nightime is when I get a lot done. After my kids' bedtime routine (dinner, bath, books), I will exercise, read, catch up on emails, journal, and sometimes Facetime with friends or portfolio founders. This is why I go to sleep around midnight and hate mornings!
Self-care guilty pleasure:
Staying up late and chocolate. Also, bath products. And shopping! Wait ... was I just supposed to say one?
Workday self-care hack:
I write down wins in my Silk + Sonder. My day is so fast-paced, it really helps to have a place to keep all my thoughts and reflect.
How do you define self-care?
It's so specific to each person. It's one part acceptance, one part doubling down on things that work for you, and one part pampering. For me, I love being a night owl, so self-care is allowing myself to work when I work best.
Favorite childhood toy or hobby:
I was very intense about drawing when I was a child. I would draw little landscapes with tiny figures, or when I was a teenager I became obsessed with letters and logos (like everyone). I still love playing with colors — mostly painting and design — in my infrequent spare time.
State of your (email) inbox:
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Illustration by Megan Behrendt