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 Little Spoon founder Lisa Barnett, who is a strong believer in the power of movement, hydration, and getting a daily dose of "cuteness."
Name: Lisa Barnett
City: New York, NY
Company: Little Spoon, a food and nutrition company with the mission of making parenting a bit easier (and more affordable!) when it comes to keeping your kids healthy. We make and deliver fresh, clean meals, vitamins and natural medicines for babies and big kids.
Beyond the role: I’m a heath and fitness lover (former collegiate runner, so can’t shake the cardio junkie in me!) who is obsessed with finding new restaurants around NYC, hanging with my 2 adorable nieces, Adalyn and Samara, and discovering the best snacks—I really, really love snacks.
I was unfortunately not born with the gift of easily waking up early, but I love my mornings once I'm awake. Pre-quarantine, I’d start my day around 7:15 a.m., first snoozing about two to three times (not proud of this, but hey, can’t do it right all the time!), then rolling out of bed and making a coffee. I usually finish about a quarter of my cup while I read the news and send out or answer some quick Slack messages, and then go out for a run or make a spin class/hop on my Peloton.
Working out is an absolute must for me, and I always find a way to fit it in. I listen to music, but I don't use music to pump myself up. On runs, I often shuffle through my favorited songs, which range from bumping house and electronic music to slow, lyrical songs, to my OG pop faves like Pink and Britney Spears. There’s nothing like kicking off your day with an intense sweat, preferably outside along the Hudson River, my forever happy place. This time to zone out before diving into what is generally a pretty chaotic, packed day is everything for me.
I then get ready. I usually change about two times before I land on an outfit I feel excited about — my jewelry is my favorite part of this process as I tend to wear lots of classic basics for my top/bottom — before heading into my office. I almost always walk. I love getting the fresh air and stopping at my favorite coffee shop, and I find it super relaxing to have 15 minutes to myself every morning while walking to work to process what I want to tackle that day.
The first thing I do after work:
I really don’t have a dinner ritual. Sometimes I’ll have a dinner out, or I’ll order in from one of four of my go-to spots near my apartment. I tried to get into cooking dinner, but my days are so hectic that it’s often something I only have time to do on Sunday evenings. The one thing that is consistent is what I eat, whether it’s Thai, Mexican, Greek, etc., I always have a heap of veggies on plate. I am a vegetarian, have been since I was a pre-teen — I'm one of those lucky people that is 110% satisfied by a bunch of vegetables and salads. I like to tell people I can be a really cheap date.
After dinner, I'll usually respond to some messages and hit a few more things on my to-do list before I pack it in. Once I'm ready to disconnect, I will either call a friend to catch up or watch TV. When you run your own company, it can be hard to disconnect from work so I find some funny, lighthearted TV does the trick when I need to unwind and calm the chaos in my mind.
After that, I have a mini routine to wash up! I use a drug store brand cleanser, then apply about three different oils to my face and neck that are both moisturizing and calming. Once I hit the bed, I will read a page or two from a book (that’s about all I’ll make it through) and pass out.
Self-care guilty pleasure:
It’s definitely binging on a TV show and ordering in way too much food — probably from my favorite Thai place.
Workday self-care hack:
I have three. The first is to go outside. I try to schedule one meeting that I can take while walking. I love being outside (even in the winter) and this helps reset my mood and mind on busy days.
I also make sure to drink lots of water. I bought a water bottle off Amazon that has milestones for every hour of the day — hydration is hard when you're in back-to-back in meetings all day, so hydration = self-care for me.
Lastly, I try to "get a dose of cuteness." I make it a rule that unless I absolutely cannot stop, I will always take a five-minute FaceTime with the loves of my life, my five and two-year-old nieces.
How do you define self-care?
Self-care to me is doing whatever you need to do to put yourself first. I find I feel tired not because I'm doing too much, but because I am not doing enough of what really lights me up. It’s in my nature to want to do for others and a byproduct of that mentality is that I’ll sometimes put my preferences last. So when I'm doing a great job at self-care, I am going to bed early and sleeping a full seven-hour night, getting in a workout that isn’t rushed or punctuated by emails and calls, watching a show (I am a proud TV binger) and making time to slow down and be present with my loved ones instead of trying to multitask all the time.
Favorite childhood toy or hobby:
Sports. My mom said I came out of the womb kicking and moving. Nothing’s changed. I was an avid soccer player, dancer (not a very good one — I have no rhythm!) and runner growing up. These things started as hobbies but quickly became an essential part of my identity. I remember, even at an early age, loving the hard training, practice and teamwork that went into becoming proficient in a certain sport. I loved it so much that I ended up joining the Cross Country and Track teams at UPenn and competing for 12 seasons.
This hobby-turned-passion has affected my approach to solving problems in life and in work in so many ways. First, I learned through sports and collegiate athletics that you are never going to feel ready for what’s happening to you. No matter how hard you train or prepare, life and startups always throw something your way that you aren’t going to be certain how to handle. I’ve learned first from running (and now from starting Little Spoon) that you have to accept the feeling of uncertainty and know it’s a constant. I also learned that in order to deal with it, you have to believe in yourself — you need to be confident that you can figure it out, even if you are wrong the first few tries, and lastly, you have to try to not get caught up in the last decision /mistake you made. You will drive yourself insane. And most mistakes are not the end-all-be-all. You can often pivot and recover from them.
State of your (email) inbox:
Argh, email isn't my strong suit. If you want to find me, text, call or Slack. Working on it, though!
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Illustration by Megan Behrendt