I had the joy of celebrating my 28th birthday this past Wednesday! I spent some time last reflecting on all of the life lessons the past year has bestowed upon me.
5 days before my 27th birthday I received the unfortunate news that I had relapsed. I was devastated and terrified! But I was also determined to return to remission, accept that Graves Disease was a part of me and thrive in spite of my diagnoses. This past year was about Acceptance and Healing and I have a lot to celebrate as I look back. Today I am symptom free and in remission; thriving and full of joy!
It is a delight to celebrate another year of life. I’m so grateful for every day, all of the ups and downs and the person that I’ve had the pleasure of becoming.
Which is why I wanted to share the life lessons on self care, self love and living with an incurable illness that 27 provided. I think they can help you a lot too.
It wasn’t easy getting here and I certainly don’t claim to have it all figured out. Like many of you I’ve sometimes had to struggle for my health, I’ve had moments of crippling doubt and times where I’ve felt completely lost. But here I am journeying forward, healthy, happy and grateful for the choices I was brave enough to make over the last year.
In my mission to thrive with Graves Disease and to accept it for what it is – a permanent part of who I am – I have lived a very different year.
In order to find my way back to remission I had to make a lot of changes. I needed to become more flexible than I ever had before. For the sake of my health, I left my job (the major beacon of stress that led me to relapse); I did something scary and started working as a free agent, embracing change and uncertainty (two things that used to terrify me). It was scary but it also allowed me to create a schedule that allowed me to heal. I began writing more and connecting with you (something that brings me great joy!). And, my favourite part, I married my best friend and love of my life!
I learned so much from all of these changes. In the spirit of ringing in another year on this amazing planet I’d like to share 7 important life lessons I learned at 27 (and how they can help you too).
It’s OK To Be Lost
Life is an adventure and what kind of adventure would it be if you always knew where you were going? As the philosopher Martin Buber said “all journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware”. If you’ve lost your way, fall in love with the detour.
You Decide Your Value
I found my way back to remission because I reflected on my life and rooted out the key factors in my relapse. One of my greatest mistakes was losing sight of my worth and overlooking my needs – something I think many of us are guilty of.
You, my brilliant lovelies, deserve joy and are so worthy of self-love; of rest, relaxation, nutrition and so much more. Putting yourself last on your list of things to do is a huge mistake and a giant underestimation of your value. You’re beautiful and amazing and you deserve to be at the top of your list. Value yourself before everything else.
Don’t Be Too Strict With Yourself
There are many things I do to take the best possible care of myself and promote good health. I eat a simple, organic diet high in local fruits and veggies, do yoga, walk, dry body brush, oil pull, take detox baths, swear by essential oils, bentonite and kaolin clay and so much more.
There was a time when I had a very strict, daily routine. From the moment I woke until the moment I slept I wanted to accomplish everything on my list.
Fear was a motivating factor – I never wanted to experience a relapse and felt that I couldn’t allow myself to slip up on my self-care. As I grew more and more exhausted from work, my routine became a burden instead of a joy. Today I still do all of those things to promote good health.
But now I am motivated by a deep love and respect for myself. If I am exhausted and I need to relax then that is what I do, routine be damned. Listen to your body. If it’s asking you to stop and breath then let go of everything else and do just that.
If Something Really Isn’t Working, Let It Go
I can be ridiculously indecisive and spend an incredulous amount of time weighing my options; deciding to let something big go can be a stress inducing nightmare (I’m working on it). When this comes up I need to remind myself of Number 2, realizing my value, and I remember the pact I made with myself. My health comes first. If anything is going to be a continuous detriment to your health then it has to go.
I have uttered this word more often in the last year than ever before in my adult life. If I am exhausted, if my plate is full, if it doesn’t feel right, then the answer is no. When I’m having a moment of indecisive panic (like I mentioned in Number 4) my husband is my go to teammate. I tell him my woes and he reminds me to turn down the offer. You are not obligated or capable of taking on everything – you owe it to yourself to say no when something isn’t the right fit for you.
Visit With Nature As Often As Possible
The river soothes my soul and I am at peace when I can hear the wind in the trees. Meditate, walk, run… do whatever you can outside whenever possible. Not only will you be gaining a valuable serving of vitamin D, the relaxing power of fresh air and nature is awe inspiring and it’s easy to forget when you’re surrounded by concrete. Don’t let fresh air be a stranger, it’s truly magical.
Be Patient, Be Loving
Everything takes time – healing, acceptance, change. The greatest gift that you can give yourself is love and patience. Work with your family, your doctors, and your healing team and take it one day at a time.
I don’t know where my path will lead me over the next year. But I do know that all of life’s ups and downs will continue to shape me and I am excited to discover who I am and who I can be. I can’t wait to find out what 28 has in store for me.
Health and love,
Thought of the day: I may not be able to see today’s purpose, but I know that tomorrow I will be grateful for its lessons.
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