5 Lessons I Learnt During Summer 2018

As summer wraps up I thought it would be fun to share some of the lessons I have learnt over the past few months. This summer was full of life changing events, with one of the major events being my bowel resection surgery. Over the summer I have learnt so many new lessons and have truly grown so much as a person. Along the way I have picked up these 5 key lessons that I will carry with me as I move and grow as a person in the future. 

1. Health is my #1 Priority

Since surgery I have had a whole new perspective on my health and on how I treat my body. I have always had health at the top of my list, but it wasn’t until I had this surgery that I saw how important it is to keep my health in tip top shape. Before surgery I was constantly in pain and struggling with all aspects of my life due Crohn’s disease and the mental health problems that came with it. But, since my operation I have had no more stomach distention (beyond a few days post-op), no more bloating, no more stomach muscle pain. I can eat without worry (mostly), I can go out past 5pm without pain, I can go to school without worrying about my symptoms, I can focus on other aspects of my life, but most importantly I can live my life again.

Since seeing how my body can function without that harmful piece of intestine I realized that my health truly is my #1 priority. Which means that nothing will get in the way of my health, not school, not my relationships, not my career, not anything. I don’t mean this in a “I only focus on me, and me only” kind of way. But, rather I want to focus on my health, that way I CAN focus on other things, and give my attention to the people and things that I love. I know that this may look different for everyone, whether you are a parent, a student, or a busy career woman/man. None the less, making sure that health is top of your list is very very important, and that is something that I re-learnt this summer since surgery.

2. Nourish Your Body When You Can

Nourishing your physical body can be seen in many different ways. This could be seen through the foods you eat, through the activities in which you take part in, and through your hygiene habits. This summer when I had time off from surgery I tried my very best to make new habits to nourish my body. I took the time to do this because my body changed so much since surgery, so I needed to be able to know the new ways that my body would feel nourished.

Before surgery my body felt best when eating a low-residue-liquid-diet, but post-op I feel best eating lots of fruits, veggies, proteins and some carbs. Before surgery I was doing yoga and walking everyday in order to reduce bloating and stomach distention, but post-op I find myself slowly getting back into a workout routine a few times a week. Before surgery I was doing lots of self care time, and now I still do lots of self care but in different ways. I have been doing more reading, meditation and skin care, which were all things that I found beneficial for my mental health post-op. Overall, it is important to nourish your body based on what FEELS right at this moment in your life.

3. Appreciate What You’ve Got When You Have it

This summer my family had a lot of setbacks in terms of health. A few weeks before I was scheduled to go in for surgery my mom fell of her bike and broke her right arm (dominant hand). So in those two weeks leading up to my surgery my dad and I were helping my mom heal by helping her with what we could. Once, I went in for surgery though, my dad was in charge of everything. He had to help my mom with lots of things and he also had to help me when I was struggling post-operation. Anyway, moral of the story is to really appreciate what you have when you’ve got it. We often don’t realize how much something, or someone means to us until they are gone. Therefore, it is important to practice gratitude for what we have in our life no matter how big or small it may be.

4. Creative Outlets Can Change Through Time

My whole life I have been a very creative person. I always loved painting, and drawing as a kid. I have been a singer for years and years and that was my greatest passion for a long time. Since, I started university, I am using a lot of my creative energy into architecture and design. Just recently, I found a new way to channel my creative energy into writing. I started this blog with the intent of spreading my story and awareness for Crohn’s and Colitis, but along with that I developed a new love for writing. I always struggled with writing when I was a kid because I went to French school so I learnt how to write in English after I learnt French. But, as time has gone on I have gotten better and better at writing. Therefore, your creative outlet can change and evolve through time, and this allows you to express creativity in a new way as time goes on.

5. Perfection Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up To Be

My whole life people have strived for perfection in an attempt to prove to people that they are succeeding. However, after a bit of soul searching and reading some books this summer, I realized that perfection isn’t something to strive for. Rather, it should be something to avoid. Nobody is perfect, and so it is an unrelatable and unnecessary to strive for perfection. Perfection does not allow you to succeed, rather it kills your creativity and joy. Perfection takes away your freedom and your ability to fail and learn from your mistakes. So, I have made it a goal of mine this school year to focus less on perfection, and rather on having a balanced life. This will allow me to be able to be more creatively free, to explore more ideas and designs within my architecture and writing. In sum, perfection is no longer a goal for me, and although this is difficult to obtain, I want to continue to work towards this goal as I move forward.

Over this summer I have learnt so much, and I have truly grown as a person. A lot of this has to do with my surgery, but a lot of it also had to do with starting this blog. I have developed a new love for writing and sharing my stories. So, I want to say a big THANK YOU to all of you that have been here since the beginning and who have read, shared, and commented on my blog posts and Instagram posts. I can’t wait for what the rest of the year has in store for us all. 

Let me know down below what was the biggest lesson you learnt this summer. Subscribe to my email list by clicking here and entering your email, that way you will be updated as soon as I post. I would also love if you followed me on my Instagram, @GutsyFeeling

Happy end Of Summer, Enjoy what you have left of it, 

Your Trusty Gutsy Gal 

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Nathalie is a Canadian entrepreneur, blogger, architectural designer, and Crohn’s warrior. Nathalie graduated from her final university degree in Spring 2020 with a Master’s of Architecture. Nathalie decided to start this blog to share her journey and experiences. She shares daily advice on all things health, lifestyle, self love, motivation and environmentalism on the blog and over on Facebook and Instagram.

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