Helen McGuire’s Self-Care Routine: “You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

Helen McGuire is the co-founder & CEO at, a company that provides a platform and approach which assists hiring teams to win diverse talent. 

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What does self-care mean to you?

I love the (slightly over-used!) phrase – you can’t pour from an empty cup. It’s a fact that unless you take time to ensure you’re well rested and mentally and physically strong, it’s pretty hard to accomplish what you need to for yourself let alone any other people or things you might be responsible for. Feeling well means feeling happy and feeling happy impacts others as much as it does yourself on a daily basis.

How do you know when you’re feeling stressed or burnt out?

It happened just the other day. My brain just felt totally boggled (scientific term!). I couldn’t think straight, couldn’t get motivated, was tired, didn’t know where to start and definitely didn’t feel particularly upbeat or able to communicate positively. 

So I let my nearest and dearest (aka my husband and my business co-founder) know I wasn’t feeling my best, did what I absolutely had to then took myself off for a massage in the afternoon. It worked like a charm.

Do you have a regular self-care routine? If so, what does it look like?

Very much so. 

Whenever I wake up wherever I am, I do a 10 minute “wake up” meditation on YouTube (I love Sam Harris, others are available!). It helps separate myself and my brain from the ‘noise’, whatever that might be at that time for me, and gain some self-clarity and positive momentum. 

That’s usually followed by a pretty tough gym work-out or swim once the kids are off to school, which allows me to completely switch off from the day to day – it’s like a breath of fresh air. 

During the day, it’s always pretty full-on and I work remotely, so don’t tend to stick to a traditional pattern of lunch breaks or timings. But if I can or feel I need to I’ll take a bit of time to switch my brain off – might be a 20minute power nap which works wonders as a reset or a quick treatment once a week – at some point or it can feel like a rather relentless cycle being a mum to three young children and founder of a business that never sleeps. Podcasts are also a go-to if I need a pick me up!

Sleep and movement are also a massive thing for me. I’ll do at least one 30-minute walk a day outside, often right before bedtime, which is always fairly early as I love my sleep! And I stretch regularly and take the odd yoga class when I can fit it in.

Finally, diet. Without the right nutrition you can find yourself in constant swings up and down – so I still do basic, healthy stuff, plenty of protein, not so much sugar … with the odd treat, obviously!

Where do you go for inspiration, ideas or tools for self-care?

I think there is a wealth of information out there, but it’s always wise to be selective about who you listen to. I take a lot of advice from my personal trainer, Carlo at Pure Health & Fitness, who is just hands down an expert in this space and has helped thousands of people live healthier, more fulfilling lives – on and offline. But I’ve also just gathered a lot of info from being open to listening – pick a topic, find some YouTube videos or podcasts and follow where it takes you. You’ll soon see and know whether it works for you, and if it doesn’t move on!

What do you think you need to improve in terms of your self-care practice?

It will always shift and change as I do. It’s not really a case of improving it, more adapting it to work for me as I go. I think now I know the value of a good routine though, I’ll always have one and commitment is absolutely key – day in day out – with a few breaks for good measure!

Before you go…

Self-Care is a content series exploring the different self-care routines and habits of people from all walks of life. Get in touch with us today if you’d like to talk about your self-care routine.

About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.