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 Tuli founder Megan Kitt, who believes strongly in journaling before bed, Korean spas and mood tracking.
City: Zushi, Japan
Company: Tuli, a company that sells handmade products from East Africa with the goal of fighting poverty with every purchase.
Beyond the role:
I'm the mom of a toddler (with another on the way!), a writer, photographer, and avid traveler.
I relish having quiet time in the morning, so I wake up well before my daughter does, make a strong cup of coffee, and organize my plan for the day. I write a to-do list that's largely organized by priority, but that also has easy tasks sprinkled between larger ones to help maintain my momentum.
I skim through my inbox as I finish my coffee, and then I make breakfast and wake my daughter. After eating and clean-up, we have 30-45 minutes to play together before I take her to her sitter. This way, by the time I get to my office to start my day, I've already grounded myself in and waste no time getting to work. Now that I'm a mom, I can't bring my work home like I used to, so I try to set myself up for razor-sharp focus during work hours.
The first thing I do after work:
Because I'm up early, I finish my work day around 2-3 p.m. and spend the rest of the afternoon with my daughter. Some days we'll get out and have an adventure — we live in Japan, so there's always something to explore — and others we'll stay home and read, play, or do projects around our house.
I love to cook. My husband works later than I do, so I handle dinners. I meal plan so that I can shop just once a week, and I'm intentional about picking recipes with repeat ingredients to eliminate food waste. Menu planning also prevents me from wasting time waffling about what to make for dinner. However, I make sure to be realistic with that plan, and I always include a couple nights a week with easy options like eating out or pasta so I don't get burned out.
After eating dinner as a family, my husband plays with our daughter and handles bed time while I clean the kitchen. Once our daughter is asleep, we spend time together as a couple, which sometimes means having long conversations over drinks on our balcony and sometimes means watching a show together. I unwind from the day by taking a long shower and spending time on hair and skincare.
Between having a baby and a business (another, sometimes more demanding type of baby!), it's easy to forget to take care of myself, so I make sure to prioritize myself every day. I've always struggled with falling asleep, so before bed, I'll usually journal, set my phone aside, and read. However, I'll admit, I'm not always the best at this, and finding the right routine to fall asleep well is an ongoing challenge in my life.
Self-care guilty pleasure:
I love a good escape through bad TV. I think a lot of us struggle to turn our minds off, and there's something about putting on something mindless with a face and foot mask that can really relax me. Beyond that, I love hitting a Jjimjilbang, also known as a Korean spa for a few hours and soaking in a warm bath and sauna before getting an all-over massage. I can't recommend it enough to anyone who lives near one!
Workday self-care hack:
I have a mood tracking app on my phone that asks me, several times per day, how I'm feeling. It's consistent enough to be useful, but brief enough that it doesn't invade my day and, therefore, I've stuck with it for a long time. It helps me to monitor how I'm doing and helps me identify patterns that get me down so I can eliminate them as much as a possible. It also lets me track what I'm grateful for, which feels cheesy but has helped me persist through some of the hardest times in my life. The app is called Moodpath, for anyone interested.
How do you define self-care?
I don't think self-care is all skincare and inspirational books; I think it's also about knowing yourself well and treating yourself with the same respect you offer your family and friends. Much of my daily routine is built around knowing what works for me so I can set myself up to succeed, and much of my self-care is focused on eliminating negative self-talk. That doesn't mean I ignore my flaws or problems, but it does mean that I don't berate myself and treat myself with kindness and honesty, just as I would a friend.
Favorite childhood toy or hobby:
I started writing stories at a young age, and that hobby has absolutely influenced my adult life. Not only did I get my professional start as a journalist, but also, it fostered a sense of possibility and creativity in me that is essential to running a business. Tuli was born out of the idea that a world without poverty is possible, and that big idea needs vision to follow — and creativity to market!
State of your (email) inbox:
I'd love to say I keep my inbox at zero, and I definitely aspire to that, but it rarely happens. I'm currently sitting at 24 and I'm comfortable with that. I use folders and archives to keep things organized, and if I open something that needs to be addressed, I mark it as unread until it's been handled. I have Hubspot's CRM integrated into my inbox, which has been crucial for me in tracking everything happening in my company at once, as well as in reminding me to follow up with people.
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Illustration by Megan Behrendt