Embracing my Inner “Elf”: a Self Care Story

It was the typical morning scene: energized for the day but crunched for time.

I checked my purse for the third time to make sure I had everything I needed, grabbed my coffee and hustled to the car.

Cruising under a bright blue winter sky on my way to teach yoga, I cranked up Maggie Rogers and took a sip of hot coffee. It was perfect.

I smiled. Sipped again. Yep, I nailed it. Laughing out loud a little, I took a moment to marvel at how I got my quirky coffee concoction just right.

You see, I sort of remind myself of Will Ferrell’s character “Elf.” I like my coffee with a little Vermont maple syrup and a splash of half and half: rich and creamy overtones on top of a balanced, nutty breakfast roast. And it’s taken quite some time to perfect this personal recipe.

Then a tear-jerker epiphany: “Wow, I’m finally figuring out how to truly, deeply take care of myself.”

Clear Out Suggestion

I just turned 34, and one might think I would have figured out the self care thing years ago. But the truth is, there are lots of distractions to getting to know yourself. And many of us – myself included – actively avoid the stillness, the quiet and the solitude required to better understand what we need.

Not what our parents or bosses, friends or partners, siblings or Cosmopolitan magazine think we need. What we as unique, lightful souls need to thrive.

And, obviously, It’s more than just the coffee. It’s the care, recognition and time that went in to perfecting a personalized recipe to fuel my mornings. It’s the daily journaling and meditation practices, and the self care rituals I make time for during the new and full moons. It’s the sacred time on my yoga mat and the little moments of deep breathing I use to check in with myself throughout the day.

All these things have helped me pinpoint what’s not mine and gain greater clarity on what is: the quirky mix of likes, needs, desires and dreams that light up and enliven my soul. But it’s taken time, and a bit of reprogramming. And, I know this work is meant for a lifetime.

Be Empowered. Work Your Magic.

It’s no wonder we look to others to answer our big questions and to make us feel how we want to feel (loved, desired, uplifted, happy, etc.). When we’re little kids, we rely on others because we don’t have the skills to meet all of our own needs. And, let’s face it, our society doesn’t do a great job of empowering us as unique individuals. It’s much easier to control the flock when they’re all mindlessly wandering in the same direction.

But you’re the only one who can feel what you feel. That’s an honor and a responsibility, because, you – above anyone else on Earth – deserve your own attention, care, compassion and love.

The most magical thing about actually knowing what you want and need, is that then you can give it to yourself – or even ask for it when it’s beyond your capacity. Because all love begins with self love.

Self Care Starters: Little practices that make a big impact on my life.

Take a few centering breaths throughout the day when you feel overwhelmed. Ride the energy of the exhale to decompress, and feel your feet on the ground.

  • Ask yourself what you need in that moment, and then do it, or take steps to make it happen ASAP. No excuses. Nothing else is more important than your well-being.

  • Ask your body what it wants to eat, and then indulge in it!

  • Feel a lump in your throat? Journal, yell in the car, have a courageous conversation. Something’s trying to get out.