Our Meet the Maker series spotlights the amazing makers behind the brands that we carry. The interviews focus on self-care and wellness and what it means and looks like for each maker. We hope this series educates, informs and inspires you on self-care and how it can look and be different for everyone.
This month's Meet the Maker features Mo Seetubtim, the founder of one of my favorite journal brands, The Happiness Planner. Mo's mission is to help people become happier, more whole, and ultimately, more fulfilled. Her journals help people become aware of who they are, what shaped them to the way they are, and what they can do to heal, remove limiting beliefs, and help change patterns.
I discovered The Happiness Planner while looking for a journal that goes deep in self-reflection and was so happy when I found her line. I'm excited that Bliss'd now carries three of my favorite Happiness Planner journals Check out the journals here and read on for my interview with Mo!
Where are you from originally/where do you live?
I’m originally from Thailand but I moved to Australia when I was 18 for university and lived there for 7.5 years. Since I started The Happiness Planner (2015), I’ve been living my nomadic dream of working online and traveling the world.
Please provide some background info on The Happiness Planner, such as how you got started and what inspired you to start.
I’ve been passionate about personal development, psychology, and design since I was little. My dad is really into personal development so he always passed his books onto me. I started reading self-help books since I was 7 or so – although at the time, I couldn’t understand everything. I always knew I wanted to have an inspirational brand where I write and design beautiful products that people love. Although, the exact business idea didn’t come to light until 2014. I started an inspirational blog back in 2012-3. Initially I just wanted to have a place where I kept everything I came across that I felt was inspiring to me. Later on, I started writing my own articles – mostly reflections and life lessons. The blog started to get a lot of followers – to the point where I started receiving emails every day from people saying how inspiring the blog was to them. Those emails made me tear up. That’s when I realized this is my calling in life.
So I decided to ask people when they signed up to my mailing list, “If I could write about one thing that makes your day, what should I write about?”. A lot of people replied and said they wanted to learn more about how they could be more positive and happier. That’s when I realized that’s the problem that many people have, there is a gap in the market, and I shall design something that helps them.
So I thought long and hard about what happiness means and reflected on the books I’d read and things I learned from my father and Buddhism about reframing the way you look at things. If you can reframe the way you look at things, the things you look at change. And that’s how you can be in charge of your happiness. But it’s much easier said than done. We all know changing habits is hard, but people rarely think about changing their mindset or thought and emotional patterns. We all have been a certain way for so many years. We can’t just change overnight. We need to practice the new way of thinking and feeling over and over until they become a part of who we are. It’s basically cognitive behavioral therapy, but I make it user-friendly and more seamlessly integrated into people’s day-to-day life.
What is your definition of self-care?
Caring for yourself. Treat yourself like you really care about it – how it feels and what it needs. Give it a rest if it asks for a rest. Nourish it with love.
What does your self-care routine look like? Feel free to share small practices you do regularly and/or a set routine.
First thing in the morning after brushing my teeth and washing my face, I’d start my day off with either a coffee or a pre-workout drink because I need a kick for my exercises. Now that we’re in lockdown, I have been following Pamela Reif’s workout videos. She’s my fave. It has become my routine now. 30-80 minutes every day – or at least every other day. Then I’ll have some protein like boiled eggs or protein shakes with lots of spinach and green powder. Then I get to work - checking emails and slack messages.
Also, I just bought a juicer so I’m looking forward to making my own fresh carrot and celery juice every day.
As for the evening, nothing particularly exciting. Now that we’re just home, I mostly work. I don’t really watch movies – I find them boring. If I need a break from work, I play the piano or guitar. I’ve set up a little studio at home. That could easily kill 2-3 hours of my time.
What is your skincare routine?
Since my trip to France last year, I’ve been obsessed with products from Aroma Zone. It’s like a supermarket that sells 100% natural oil and cosmetic/skincare bases and products – you can buy the ingredients and make your skincare at home! It’s so good. My skin has never felt better and been so clear.
I have a big bottle of 100% aloe vera gel which I mix with a few drops of different vegetable oils and serums. Aroma Zone has all types of oils from raspberry to pomegranate, tomato, carrot, argan, watermelon, grape, rice, oat, etc. Literally hundreds. I just use whatever I feel like my skin needs that day. So I do that first thing in the morning after washing my face, and at night after shower. Nothing else. No chemicals. Sometimes I’d use the electronic face massager to massage my face. I do that a few times a week.
I used to mask my face with Korean collagen sheet masks every night. And I did see the positive effects they did on my skin. I think it’s mostly the moisture that keeps your face glowing. However, since I discovered Aroma Zone this summer, I stopped using sheet masks because I find the 100% oil + aloe vera combo is even better! All natural and not deluded with other substances you find in typical skincare. I’m 33 and wrinkle-free and I’ve never gotten any treatments done! No Botox, no fillers, no Uthera lol.
What are your favorite beauty, self-care and/or wellness products?
Besides Aroma Zone, which I mentioned earlier, I also love massage guns! I’m addicted to massages. When I’m in Thailand (my home country), I get a massage a few times a week for two hours lol. Well, it’s only $10 or so per hour. So being in London, I need to find a cheaper alternative and massage guns are amazing!
Who do you look up to or feel inspired by in the wellness space?
To be honest, no one in particular. I’m not obsessed with other people’s beauty routines and don’t really compare myself to others and wish I looked like them because everyone is inherently different! I just find products that work on my skin and I stick with them. I’m pretty low maintenance.
What is your favorite self-care activity for when you have…
5 minutes: Putting on my daily serum and facial cream (100% oil + aloe vera)
30 minutes: Massage myself with the massage gun I’ve got!
60+ minutes: Get a proper Swedish or Thai massage from a real masseur. Yup, I really like massages lol.
What are some of your favorite tools and practices for self-development?
Being aware of your thoughts and feelings. I have made it a habit to ask myself, “Why am I feeling this way?”…. then that question would normally lead me to be conscious of my thought patterns. And my thought patterns lead me to my beliefs – especially limiting beliefs that I have because of certain negative experiences I’ve gone through. This practice has helped me not self-sabotage and helps me feel positive and inspired no matter what happens in life. It all lies in your ability to reframe the way you look at things and you just have to practice it until it feels easy and natural to do so. That’s when you’ll feel like you’re really in control of your world.
How do you center yourself when you’re feeling stressed, anxious or overwhelmed?
I play the piano or guitar. That’s the first thing I do if I can access it.
Then I write. Writing is really my therapy. All the blog posts I’ve written are results of my thoughts. And I just share them with the world.
Sometimes I talk to my psychic. She’s really like a life coach/therapist/a best friend who doesn’t project her beliefs onto you. I don’t always go to friends or family members because most people, unless professionally trained or know psychology well, they tend to give advice back based on their own perception and beliefs – which oftentimes aren’t helpful. I don’t want my friends to put their limiting beliefs onto me and I adopt them. I just need a space to talk things out and someone to help me reframe the way I look at what is causing me anxious so that I feel better.
If I still feel bad, then I normally take a long hot bath with lavender scent sprayed all over. I’d listen to subliminal messages or guided meditations around the topic that I feel anxious about while I’m in the bathtub. They really do help!
Oh, and exercising! The gym always takes my mind off things. When I work out, I don’t think about anything. Working out is a meditation for me too.
What do you think are some misconceptions about self-care?
That self-care is being obsessed with beauty to the point where your self-esteem relies solely on how you look. I think that’s the society today. Many people think being obsessed with your beauty is self-care, but it’s not. It’s actually unhealthy to base your self-esteem solely on your looks because then your happiness relies completely on it. And that’s not sustainable.
What is a tip you have for someone who is interested in self-care but doesn’t know where to start, or they feel overwhelmed by the idea of self-care?
Pay attention to how you feel. Just like intuitive eating, you can also do intuitive self-care. Pay attention to how you feel. If you’re tired, take a nap. If you feel exhausted, rest. If you feel energetic, exercise. Don’t over think or over plan. Follow your body. It knows best. Stress is what makes your body prone to sickness. Stress is what gives you wrinkles. If you want to be healthy and beautiful, don’t stress. I’ve been doing this for myself for the past 12 years and I think I look younger than when I was in my 20s lol.
What’s a mantra you live by?
“To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.” Lao Tzu.
Don’t focus too much on the outside. Focus on finding inner peace and everything else will fall in to place.
This has been a year! What has this year taught you?
No matter what happens on the outside, you can survive and thrive if you choose to take charge of the way you look at things. This will determine how you feel and how you feel is what drives action or inaction. We’re really in charge of our happiness and success.
When do you feel your best/most bliss’d out?
After exercising! Or after playing music with others (jamming) or playing to an audience. I feel like I’m on cloud 9 every time.