Paulwyn Devasundaram is the founder at Medoo, a purpose-built coaching companion tool that helps people design and live their best lives.
What does self-care mean to you?
For me, self-care starts with being self-aware. Understanding my needs, motivations, behaviours, and emotions, has been, and is, an ongoing process. Building this self-awareness muscle has helped me recognise when I need to prioritise my physical and mental health over everything else.
I don’t necessarily have a set ‘self-care routine’ that I follow every day, rather I have learned to recognise moments where I need to take a pause from the busyness of life. For instance, this can take the form of a ‘hard-reset’: if I’ve had a really busy series of days, then I do something intensely relaxing or pure fun, like a long meditation or an evening at a weird / niche comedy show, to completely reset.
How do you know when you’re feeling stressed or burnt out?
I keep an eye out for physical and mental indicators of stress. For example, physically, if I feel an intense tightness in my shoulders and neck, that is a clear sign to me that I’m getting overly stressed. A mental signal is racing thoughts: this is usually a strong sign for me to stop doing whatever it is I’m doing, take some deep breaths, and take a break.
Learning to identify these indicators, and to listen to my body and mind has been a long process for me. For the longest time, I would simply ignore any indicators of stress, and wait till I got properly sick to rest and recover. Over time, I’ve come to realise how important it is to listen to these signals and care for myself better.
Do you have a regular self-care routine? If so, what does it look like?
Like I touched on earlier, I don’t have a routine per se, but I do have a list of activities that act as my reset. I fall back on these whenever my body and mind indicate to me that I need a time-out. One of the best activities in this list for me is scuba diving.
The feeling of immense awe at being surrounded by nature, the deep blue of the ocean, being forced to be quiet and take deep breaths (to make your air last as long as possible) make this one of my favourite reset activities. We try to go on regular dives every couple of months or so, and I look forward to each one.
What bumps you off your self-care routine and how do you get back on course?
I am slightly obsessive by nature, and I tend to hyper-focus on work quite often. This is great because I often find myself in a flow state, which is incredible, but it also makes me lose track of time and on occasion, forget to take care of myself.
My secret to getting back on course is my amazing support network: Allard: my partner, Thor: our little dog, our family & friends, and my mentors & coaches. They each nudge me to self-reflect and break out of my obsessions in their own ways (Thor will give me intense nose boops and licks when I’ve spent too much working for example), and I feel super lucky and grateful to have them in my life.
Where do you go for inspiration, ideas or tools for self-care?
I am incredibly lucky here, because we are building a software product for coaches in the business, career, leadership, life and transformative spaces. This means we are interacting with coaches quite a lot as part of our work, and they are a constant source of inspiration, incredible knowledge and wisdom, and self-care techniques. Once again, I’m super grateful to have these amazing people in my network and hope to create value for them through Medoo!
What do you think you need to improve in terms of your self-care practice?
Being in nature is very important to me for my well being. Over the last two years I feel that I haven’t been spending as much time in nature as I would like to. This is partially due to COVID and La Nina (I live in Sydney where it feels like it’s been raining non-stop for the last two years), but those are things I cannot control, and I’d love to find ways to be closer to nature despite any obstacles. If anyone would like to be my hiking buddy, please hit me up, there are many hikes that are on my list to explore!
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.