How I Thrive: We Read Too Founder Kaya Thomas

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 We Read Too founder Kaya Thomas, who has a refreshing approach to work form home life and loves the occasional mac and cheese indulgence. 

City: Oakland, CA 

Company: We Read Too, a mobile directory of diverse titles for kids and teens.

Role: Founder/engineer

Beyond the role: I'm an avid reader!

Morning routine: 

I wake up at around 7:30 a.m. and usually spend the first 45 minutes just relaxing, whether that means reading or catching up on phone notifications. After that I usually work out for 30 minutes to an hour with either a ride on the Peloton or a strength workout. When my workout is done, I'll shower, eat breakfast and get ready to start any meetings for the day, usually starting off with a daily team standup.

The first thing I do after work:

Since I work full-time as an iOS engineer for Calm, after work is when I get to work on my own stuff, like We Read Too. Lately after work, usually around 5 or 6 p.m., I've been working on app updates, adding additional books to the directory, or updating information of current books.

Dinner ritual:

My husband and I rotate who cooks dinner, so whoever is on will usually cook dinner around 7 p.m., and we eat together when it's done. We cook at home most nights and order in maybe once or twice a week.

Nighttime routine:

I've tried to get really intentional about my nighttime routine because I've been having trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep. About 45 minutes to an hour before bed, I try to get off any screens, do my skincare routine, and get into bed to read a book. I bought a salt lamp, too, so I'm not exposed to too much light before sleeping.

Workday self-care hack:

Especially with the new work from home life, I try to stay focused on just one or two tasks each day so I don't overwork. If I finish the tasks early, I use that time to relax and don't pressure myself to add more tasks to the day.

Self-care guilty pleasure: 

Food! I don't think we should have guilt around food, but everything is in moderation. Sometimes I'll indulge in something super sweet or really savory, like cookies or mac n cheese.

How I define self-care: 

I think self-care is any non-toxic way to care for yourself that feels good to you. So a self-care routine shouldn't be detrimental to your physical or mental health, but anything besides those extremes should be defined by the person.

Favorite childhood toy or hobby:

Reading! Reading has been my longest and favorite hobby. My mom jokes that she had to tell me to not read at the dinner table all the time. Reading opened up my world view and helped my cope through anything that was going on in my life. Reading is a safe haven for me, which is why it was so important for me to create We Read Too, so kids can expand their worldview and kids of color can find safe havens in books where they're represented.

State of your (email) inbox: 

I got access to Basecamp's new email platform, and I'm hooked. It's completely changed how I interact with my email. I used to try to get to inbox zero, but could never sustain it.

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

Illustration by Megan Behrendt

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