Meet Elise Merckoll, certified life coach and writer

Meet Elise Merckoll, certified life coach, writer and mother of two! Elise and I met through Instagram and I couldn’t have been more impressed, touched and moved to meet her in real life a few months back. I was stunned by our genuine connection (and her perfect face). She is the stunning in and out woman behind the brilliant and honest website Elise Merckoll. Her story is poignant, life-changing and worth spreading (more on this very soon!). I wanted to read about her rituals as a new mother of two and as a self-employed coach. And believe me, if you are a selfcare junkie like me - this interview is filled with nuggets. Elise is the kind of women I want to grow-up to be…only we are the same age! haha Have a fantastic read you gorgeous.

Elise merckoll

1. Selfcare = ?

Self-care is becoming a hot conversation in our culture, but sadly, most of us don’t actually take time to practice it. Interestingly, it was found in a study that people who practice self-kindness have better overall heart health, lower levels of inflammation and stress, stronger social bonds, and tend to exhibit better emotional regulation. Now if that doesn’t sound like something we all should work towards, I’m obviously completely clueless. 

Incorporating more self-care in your life starts with taking the time to reflect over the small (and bigger) things that make you happy. It could be something as simple as savouring a coffee in your own (amazing) company, a phone call to a friend who always lifts you up, eating something nourishing for your body and soul, working out or stretching for 10 minutes (if that’s all you’ve got), or even giving someone a genuine compliment. It’s amazing how being kind to others can lift your spirits!

However, I find self-care to be just as much about awareness as about what you’re actually doing. You could be doing something you love several times during a day, without actually taking the time to appreciate that moment. A moment of genuine and valuable self-care may therefore have vanished right before your eyes. So whatever you choose to do for yourself today, don’t just ‘do’ it, but make a point of truly savouring that moment and the sensations it brings.

2. Are rituals and routine important to you?

While I love having a routine, I also try to be cautious of not becoming stuck in one merely because of old habits. I therefore spend a lot of time thinking about why I do the things I do; because it makes me happy, because it’s a small step towards a long-term goal, or because I feel I ‘should’?

My main feel good routines take place two times during the day; 1) in the evenings when I’m prepping for bed, and 2) in the mornings when I step on my yoga mat for a self-practice or a quick HIIT (high intensity training) session.

My night time routine (or private spa session as I like to think of it) starts with lighting my favourite candle from Byredo (scent: Boheme). I then use a gentle exfoliating facial scrub that I wipe off with a hot towel. Next in line is my favourite product these days; a facial oil from Aveda (Tulsara Radiant Oleation Oil). Before applying the oil to my face, I aim to take three deep breaths into my oil-infused hands every night. I know this sounds a bit corny, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! The days I don’t feel like I have time for those three deep breaths, are the days I know I need it the most. The whole shebang in sealed off with a rich night cream, and at least once a week; lathering my freshly scrubbed body with coconut oil.

3. What's your safe place?

As an outgoing introvert, my batteries recharge the most when I’m alone doing something I love or when I’m in the company of people I adore. At nature walks with my husband, or over long chatty dinners with family or some of my great friends. Being in green surroundings always makes my day better; even if it’s walking through a park, or heading into the woods to cook up some bacon pancakes on a primus stove.

elise merckoll interview

4. What is your selfcare commitment to yourself?

Having a baby truly made me realise the importance of taking care of myself. It’s a bit like the oxygen masks at flights. Put on your own before helping others. Juggling the different roles in life; individual, mom, partner, friend, daughter, colleague, employee – is a demanding 24h job for the most of us. If you’re continuously running on energy reserves, you are likely to experience some sort of backfire down the line. After having my first baby, I quickly realised how making sure to do something little for myself every day made me much better able to pour positive energy into my relationships – even when life and its darker moments came a’ knocking.

5. How defined are you by a mindful practice?

My yoga practice very much is my mindful practice. While I have done yoga on an off for several years, I never truly realised its calming potential until starting my daily self-practice after having my first boy in 2017. Rather than going to a yoga class to see how far I could stretch, practicing in the safe sanctuary of my own home on a daily basis re-introduced me to my body; to its strengths and weaknesses.

Becoming aware of these weaknesses - such as super-tight and sore spots and unevenness between the right and left side, have fuelled my desire to work to improve these areas every day. Importantly, it stills my over-active mind, making me more present in my life off the mat. It gives me meaning, a sense of achievement, and a wonderful feeling of doing something just for me. My goal is to do some yoga every single day - even if that just means 5 minutes while my toddler is taking his bath.

elise merckoll

6. How would you describe your relationship to food?

I believe in not eliminating any food groups (unless you’re allergic or intolerant, of course), but in eating mostly green and healthy, along with whatever makes you happy in moderate portions. I believe in eating lots of vegetables at every meal, packing healthy snacks for when hunger strikes (not a rare occurrence in my case), never skipping meals, but rather eating smaller portions every three hours or so. Although I believe in steering clear of artificial sweeteners as much as possible, I hate to admit that I cave in for Pepsi Max far too often...

7. What relationship do you have with exercise and movement?

My level of happiness throughout a day is closely connected to physical activity. What’s been a huge game-changer for me, however, is realising that a workout doesn’t have to break me or even take 1 hour (or more) of my time.

This has made it much easier and a lot less stressful for me to incorporate daily movement and workouts into my new life as a mom. Every day I aim to do at least 20 minutes of yoga and/or strength drill sessions – usually first thing in the morning. As these sessions are often done at home, I save lots of time on packing gear and transporting myself to and from a gym. Being physically active in nature, however, will always be my ultimate favourite form of movement.

elise merckoll

If you’re in need of some tips on how to move more during the days you don’t really have the time, check out this article on my blog.

8. Does the thought of losing control ever scare you?

While I’d love to say no, I believe making choices based on safety rather than passion as well as on what others’ may think, is something most of us can relate to. After having my first baby who later got severely ill, however, something changed. I’ve never felt so out of control in my whole life.

What I learnt, however, is that daring to re-evaluate choices, listening to our body’s signals and trying to find lesions in demanding situations can be so much more rewarding than aiming to be statically in control all the time. I feel I’ve become less afraid of failing and more open to the fact that ‘failure’ is an essential part of learning and becoming better.

9. 'Digital detox days' yay or nay?

A loud and clear YAY! While social media provides a revolutionary platform with so many opportunities for personal use and business, I often find it overwhelming to keep up with the never-ending flow. Sometimes I wish there was only one messaging platform for personal use - not six. I often feel guilty for (unintentionally) missing messages from friends or for forgetting to reply because my toddler demanded some attention when I tried to. 

After I started my website, however, I have felt the pressure of social media on a whole new level. It never closes, and working to perfect technical features can quickly become overly addictive – at least for a detail freak like myself. While I find this process to be more rewarding than not, I have felt the need to make some serious boundaries when it comes to my phone and being ‘online’. One of the measures I have found to be very helpful is charging my phone in the kitchen at night rather than by my bed. This way, my phone is never the first or last thing I’ll check before going to bed or when waking up. Definitely taking a digital detox day soon too!

Interview by Evodie

If you are looking into more 9to9 Selfcare routines, you will love this one-o-one with Jessica, yoga teacher and podcast host.