How I Thrive: Susana Saeliu, Founder Of Pluto Pillow

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 Pluto Pillow founder Susana Saeliu, whose daily restaurant breakfast has us very impressed. 

Name: Susana Saeliu

Age: 29

City: San Francisco and Los Angeles, CA 

Company: Pluto Pillow, a company that maximizes your sleep through custom sleep pillows—built to your body stats, how you sleep, and what you like.

Role: Co-founder and CEO.

Beyond the role: Car enthusiast, competitive racing, EDM fan, foodie.

Morning routine:

My alarm goes off between 6:30 and 7:00 AM every morning. After I turn it off, I don't look at my phone, but just kind of lie there in bed and take a few minutes to think and feel more alert. I then head straight to my laptop and start answering any customer service emails that came in overnight. Strangely, it feels a lot less stressful to look at emails on my computer than on my phone — especially since I'm still waking up.
Next, I finally look at my phone, answer any text messages, look at my calendar for the day, and then launch Headspace. These days, I do a five-minute unguided meditation before starting to get ready for the day (it used to be 10 minutes but I couldn't bring myself to take one-sixth of an hour—maybe that's a problem). I then quickly brush my teeth, take my time with my AM skincare (another very important step for me that I can't skip), get dressed, and head to breakfast.
I usually eat out at a sit-down restaurant and arrive between 8:15 and 8:30 AM. While I wait for my food, I answer any additional emails, read the news, and wrap up to arrive at work between 9:15 and 9:30 AM. 

The first thing I do after work:

Check Instagram! Just kidding, not kidding. Pluto is on Instagram, and I still run the page so I do checks throughout the day. I then catch up again on the day's news. I usually haven't eaten lunch so I eat a pretty large dinner. After that, it's back to working on Pluto while listening to music before bedtime. I also take time to take care of my skin (I have a whole PM skin routine that includes masking, serums, and microcurrent).

Dinner ritual:

I eat between 6 and 7 PM, and usually go out to eat at a sit-down restaurant. Depending on the urgency and amount of work left for the day, I either pick something fast or take my time. I love visiting new place and trying new restaurants—new locations tend to refresh my mind and change my perspective.

Nighttime routine: 

I typically end the day with a few more work tasks before starting to plan for the next day. I listen to a ton of music during this time and have one of the following YouTube videos playing in the background: Interviews, standup, music videos, or  vlogs. If I'm in LA, I'll go out for a drive to clear my head. I don't have a car in San Francisco, so it's straight from dinner to tasks. Then I wrap up with my PM skincare routine: Masking, serum, retinol, microcurrent. 

Self-care guilty pleasure:

love getting microcurrent facials. I used to get them once a month, but now it's more like every two or three. In my opinion, driving a manual car with no destination to great music is a self care guilty pleasure—again, something I do almost every night in LA.

Self-care hack during the workday: 

When I'm feeling overwhelmed, I shift my mindset by shifting locations. This could be as simple as moving to another desk at work, or heading downstairs to a coffee shop. I'll also open another tab and read up on people I admire. This helps me re-frame the situation. Lastly, I read about space and space travel. Hear me out: For almost every situation that seems like a big deal, it puts it in perspective to realize that what I'm "dealing" with is smaller than a speck of sand when compared to the history of the universe.

How I define self-care:

Self-care is taking time off for activities that refuel you. These activities are different for everyone. It could be as simple as taking time to apply serum and really being present in that moment or getting a blowout. Or it could be working out, meeting with friends, etc.
For me, self-care means actively scheduling time throughout the day to meditate, scheduling time throughout the week to work out, and scheduling time for creative thinking. 

Favorite childhood toy or hobby:

I loved hot wheels, Legos, and AOL as a kid. But my absolute favorite was my barbie power wheels car that I would drive around neighborhood streets. I felt a sense of control and freedom, combined with the idea of speed.

These have definitely influenced my love of actual automobiles into adulthood, but above all, I think they've translated into a career path where I get to connect with people, create products that impact as many as possible. Because Pluto is a startup, I get that much-desired adrenaline rush everyday.

State of your (email) inbox:

My inbox is almost always at zero, meaning I have a serious addiction to email. I have different color-coded labels for each incoming email. If the email is marked unread, that means I need to respond, but I get that down to zero as soon as possible.

Want to kick your self-care game up a notch? Subscribe to Silk + Sonder today.

Illustration by Megan Behrendt

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