5 inspiring self-help books that will change your life
5 inspiring self-help books that will change your life

Jennifer McShane

Changing the script: Claire Mooney and Nell Hensey of Pure Divilment Pictures
Changing the script: Claire Mooney and Nell Hensey of Pure Divilment Pictures

Meg Walker

Four expert-approved ways to pay less tax
Four expert-approved ways to pay less tax

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This Monkstown home is a serene dream, yet still perfectly suited to the demands of family life
This Monkstown home is a serene dream, yet still perfectly suited to the demands of...

IMAGE Interiors & Living

Crossing: Director Levan Akin on his new film, patriarchy and the importance of family
Crossing: Director Levan Akin on his new film, patriarchy and the importance of family

Sarah Finnan

Weekend Guide: Festivals, exhibitions, and more great events
Weekend Guide: Festivals, exhibitions, and more great events

Sarah Gill

IMAGE staff pick their top skincare products from French beauty brands
IMAGE staff pick their top skincare products from French beauty brands

Edaein OConnell

Inside the former tram ticketing office on the market for €680,000
Inside the former tram ticketing office on the market for €680,000

Sarah Finnan

The rise of teeth gems on the Irish scene
The rise of teeth gems on the Irish scene

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Page Turners: ‘The Story Collector’ author Evie Woods
Page Turners: ‘The Story Collector’ author Evie Woods

Sarah Gill

Wellness Diaries: Susan Dwyer, founder and CEO of Rise Up

Wellness Diaries: Susan Dwyer, founder and CEO of Rise Up


by Susan Dwyer
12th Apr 2023

Susan Dwyer, founder and CEO of Rise Up shares her self-care insights, tools and rituals, from journalling to a morning walk.

I wake at… 6.45 am my alarm goes off but the snooze button is regularly hit, so I probably get up at 7/7.15am depending on what time I went to bed the night before. I really need to start going to bed earlier!

The first thing I do every morning is… check my phone. Not ideal I know but the truth!

My morning routine is… get up, shower, get dressed, walk and coffee, in that exact order

I can’t go to work without… going for my morning walk, I go for an hour walk every morning by the River Dodder. I used to always listen to a podcast but recently I go without and it’s even more enjoyable. It’s such a beautiful nature walk and I am so lucky to have it on my doorstep. I honestly cannot start my day without it, it clears my head, puts me in a good mood and energizes me for the day ahead, that and the coffee I pick up along the way.

The self-care tool I use every day is… movement and exercise, they are really important to me. I am at my best and most productive in the morning between 9am-12pm, I fly through work and am super focused! But I always hit a slump in the afternoon so for the last few months I have been going to an F45 class at lunch. You’re in and out in 45 minutes, it’s great and it totally turns my afternoon around, I almost feel like it gives me a second shot at the day. One of the benefits of WFH I guess. I do this the days I don’t have meetings so maybe 4/5 times a week including weekends.

The best part of my day is… my mornings, I love my mornings, I love getting out in nature and carving out some ‘me time’ before I get stuck into work. The fact that the mornings are brighter now makes it even better.

The most challenging part of my day is… I was saying to my friend the other day that I have been feeling a little overwhelmed lately just with this constant to-do list in my head, when I go to bed at night it’s there, and when I wake up in the morning it’s there too. I feel like there is never enough time in the day to do all of the things I want to do, especially since I’ve started working for myself. It can be very hard to switch my brain off. I could definitely benefit from doing some more meditation!

Two of my best friends bought me a pack of gorgeous oracle cards for my birthday this year. Before I open my laptop every morning (religiously) I will pull a card, each card has a really positive message and meaning behind it and it will give you some questions to ask yourself which work great as journal prompts, best present ever, I’m obsessed!

I’m not sure I have a daily self-care checklist but I am definitely someone who needs a lot of connection in my life. So I am very intentional about this. Meeting people for coffee/ lunch and making time to meet new people in person instead of Zoom when I can is very important. I get my energy and inspiration from other people. I also host a podcast called The Rise Up podcast where I interview different female entrepreneurs and business leaders who I admire. I record in a studio in town on Fridays, so this is my day to make an effort to look nice (aka not wear yoga pants!) This is definitely self-care for me and one of the favourite parts of my job.

The quickest, smallest thing I do for myself every day can be as simple as playing with my dog at lunch time or listening to a song to pick up my mood. It’s always the small things!

I know it’s been a good day if… I’ve made a new meaningful connection or had a good conversation with someone where I’ve learnt something new.

I switch off from work by… It’s funny I think most people think that quitting your 9-5 to set up your own business will give you more freedom and flexibility when in reality it’s almost impossible to switch off from work when you have your own business as it’s always on your mind. So I’m not sure I’m the best person to answer this question, it’s definitely something I struggle with. I will say I have gotten much better with boundaries and not checking my emails after a certain time but I’m a work in progress.

I’m in a good phase of reading before bed instead of watching TV which I’m enjoying. It also puts me straight to sleep!

After a long work week, I destress by… my answer used to be going out for drinks and dinners with friends but this year I have decided to give up alcohol, I am in month three and so far so good. It’s definitely been the best decision I have made for my overall wellbeing. I have so much more energy and focus and I am so much more intentional with my time. So on the weekends now, I will meet up with friends, family and stay consistent with exercise and eating well. I am also training for the half marathon in New York which is coming up in a few weeks, so I have been training for this the last few weekends. I used to really not enjoy running, I found it so boring but it’s weird now I find it really relaxing and it’s a time where I get to completely switch off my brain.

My go-to comfort meal is… pizza all day long, a little bit of chocolate everyday or on Sundays I will make my famous spaghetti bolognese.

When I really need a moment to myself, I always… journal, I find journaling really therapeutic. Especially if I am going through a difficult time or my head feels like it’s all over the place. I need to put my thoughts and feelings on paper, it gives me clarity and helps me work through times of uncertainty. I found a load of old journals recently and it’s a really cool thing to have. I went solo traveling a few years ago and I journaled about my whole experience and all the weird and wonderful people I met along the way. I had totally forgotten about so much of it or at least I hadn’t thought about it in a very long time and it was a really cool reminder of all the things I experienced and how far I’ve come.

Something I try to do for myself every day is… have fun, enjoy life and take nothing personally.

The most reflective moment in the day is… probably at night, but on a Friday I will always carve out some time in the morning to reflect on the week just gone by – see what went well, and not so well

The one person, place or thing guaranteed to give me joy is… I am really close with my Mum so she would definitely be my person and the one who grounds me the most and in terms of a place, I grew up close to the sea and if I am ever feeling stressed about something, this is where I go to feel calm again. Something about the sea just gives me perspective, makes me realize that my worries are just a drop in the ocean!

I wish I could try not to sweat the small stuff and it’s all small stuff! This quote sums it up nicely.

Everyone should try… spending more time alone. The older I get the more I recognise the importance of solitude. Doing whatever it is that connects you to yourself. I think it’s very easy to get wrapped up in the rat race that is life – always focusing on the doing and achieving that we often forget about what’s actually important to us. The more time we carve out for ourselves, the more intentional we can be about living a life that is truly authentic to us.

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