Life is stranger than fiction. When I look back at my life, I could not have imagined how it would unfold. Especially when I reflect back on this past year - it has been the most magnificent, painful, beautiful unfolding I have experienced thus far. But even as I learn to trust in the universe more and more, it's still difficult to release control and surrender to what is.

There's a quote I love, that has been floating around in my head a lot lately.

"If you are suffering in your life right now, I guarantee that this condition is tied up with some kind of attachment to how you think things should be going. Affirm: I release the need to determine how things "should" be." - Dr. Wayne Dyer

As someone who tends to grasp tightly to the illusion of control, this resonates deeply with me. When I look at my problems, I realize it's not about the events in my life that have happened, it's the way I choose to perceive and react to them. The only enemy I have in this life is me. Every hard situation in my life is me vs. me. I spend so much time in my head, analyzing and overanalyzing how I think things "should" be, creating so much unnecessary suffering for myself.

In a past conversation, someone pointed out that I was "shoulding" all over myself; creating unrealistic expectations for my life that weren't even aligned with what I truly needed and desired. All of those SHOULDS were just creating a rigid box, in which my life could not comfortably fit. Even with this awareness, I still find it hard to stop "shoulding" in my life. This applies to everything - my work, creativity, relationships, my body... It never ends. And because of that, it can feel nearly impossible for me to feel a prolonged sense of peace.

So now the question I find myself constantly asking is: how can I get out of my head and come back home to myself? How can I reconnect to my center and drown out the incessant chatter in my mind?

When life feels hard or overwhelming or unbearable, I've found that the best thing I can do is double down on self-care. For me, that means meditation, journaling and yoga in the morning. It means regular visits to get acupuncture, massage and chiropractic adjustments. It means spending quality time alone to recharge my batteries, preferably with candles, music, dancing and a hot bath. It means quality time with people I care about, that accept me just as I am.

I used to consider these things a luxury; not just the act itself, but the time it took to do them. Time is the most precious resource I have, and I'm always trying to squeeze every last drop out of it. But after an exceptionally difficult year, I've found that taking care of myself in these ways is vital for my well-being on every level. With the holidays being here, it feels even trickier to carve out this sacred time for myself, but more necessary than ever.

I hope that whatever you have going on in your life, you are taking care of yourself in all the ways that nourish your body, mind and soul. I hope you are able to fill your own cup first, so that it overflows with abundance and love into all the other areas of your life.