How I Thrive takes an inside look at founders and entrepreneurs and the behind-the-scenes self-care work they do to in order to live balanced, happy lives. Our first edition is with Silk + Sonder founder Meha Agrawal.
Name: Meha Agrawal
City: San Francisco, CA and New York, NY
Company: Silk + Sonder, a company that makes self-care and mental wellness easy for modern women
Role: Founder & CEO
Beyond the role: Dancer, culinary and mixology enthusiast, jet-setter
Every morning, even before I brush my teeth, I open up my phone and read my intentions on the co-star app. It’s a good way to ground myself as I’m waking up. I then rub Saje’s “Brainstorm” and “Energy” essential oils on my wrists and temples, take a few deep breaths, and begin journaling.
In a blank journal, I usually write down a few things I’m grateful for, what I’m trying to accomplish that day, what I’d like to let go of, and affirmations. Typically, I journal anywhere from 10-20 minutes until I feel a sense of calm and ease.
Most days, I skip the heavy makeup and throw on Sunday Riley's brightening face cream, Elta MD’s sunscreen, and a pop of Tarte blush and try to get going on my day. I whip together breakfast, which is almost always a hard-boiled egg white and either a baguette, fresh mozzarella, and heirloom tomatoes (and yes, of course with a little olive oil and balsamic drizzle!) or an avocado toast with lemon and crushed red pepper. With my hazelnut Nespresso in hand, I then sit down to read the Wall Street Journal before planning my day.
Before opening my laptop, I look at my meeting schedule on my phone calendar and jot it down in my Silk + Sonder. I then decide which category of the business I should focus on for the day and create a list of must-dos before EOD. This structure helps me remain calm before opening my laptop and letting the chaos take over.
The first thing I do after work:
“After work”? What’s that! Just kidding. After I’m done at the office, I either go to a workout class—usually hot yoga, barre, dance, or pilates—or head home and take 30 minutes for myself away from work. Sometimes it’s reading a book and other times it’s calling a friend. It's usually inversely correlated to the number of meetings I’ve had that day on whether I need my alone time or not.
Oh! This changes day-to-day. Weeknights are an even-split of ordering UberEats, cooking something quick (cacio e pepe, I love you long time!), or going out to a casual dinner. On Saturdays almost all meals are spent out and on Sundays, I try to cook something new and challenging. One of the added perks of dating a food blogger is that we get invited by restaurants for meals, so the dinner “ritual” is one that varies evening by evening!
I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that work lingers into my nighttime routine. I usually spend an hour or two finishing up any leftover tasks from the day or decluttering my inbox. I usually have a show playing in the background—unless
"Shark Tank" has a new episode, it’s definitely either intense true crime or reality TV. Yes, I'm guilty of "Kardashian" re-runs.
Self-care guilty pleasure:
Chinese deep-tissue massages. Depending on life, it’s a once-a-week or once-a-month must and it’s the most well-deserved guilty pleasure out there.
Self-care hack during the workday:
Since my days at Goldman Sachs, I find that two things work well for me when I’m on the verge of overwhelm or anxiety during working hours. Sometimes, I just need a therapeutic release through pen and paper. I book a conference room with the meeting title “Meha / Meha 1:1” and break down what needs to get done or answer a few prompts in my Silk + Sonder. Leaving Slack and email at my desk helps me use this time to recharge and feel more clear headed when I get back into the swing. My second hack is to get a dose of fresh air. I aimlessly walk outside for 15-20 minutes—in the winter, I pop into a nearby apparel store if I have to. These mini-breaks can do wonders, especially for those of us that feel scattered.
How I define self-care:
For the longest time, I thought that if self-care isn’t always pedicures and spa outings, it was instead “slowing down” or “being alone.” I think self-care is constantly evolving. It’s the state of maintaining equilibrium by knowing what you need and when. I define self-care through my personal core values and making sure that I honor them equally if not every day, every week. For me, sometimes that means speeding up with being “adventurous” and “silly” and other times, it means slowing down, curled up with a book I can’t put down.
Favorite childhood toy or hobby:
Barbies get a bad rep, but I attribute a lot of my creativity and ability to think outside the box to Barbie. My barbies allowed me to recreate reality and be unapologetically feminine at the same time. It was like my dreams had no boundaries and I took that mindset back with me into the real world.
State of your (email) inbox:
Work: Aspiring Inbox 0 now that I’m using Superhuman (FYI currently I have 96 in my inbox). Personal? Don’t even ask.
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Illustration by Megan Behrendt