Life changes, reducing stress, and a new career

Polaroid images of Stephanie Gish, Crohn's disease warrior, and beach photos
Stephanie Gish with headphones and audio mixer background

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For many people, including myself, stress can trigger an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) flare-up. This was certainly the case for me last summer when my husband and I suddenly decided to pack everything up and move to Florida. We didn’t see any reason to delay our move, so within the span of about 10 days, we made the decision, found two realtors (one in Texas and one in Florida), listed our Texas home for sale, and bought tickets to Florida to start house hunting on the water. On top of that, I was distraught about how to break the news to my employer that I was leaving Texas on short notice and how I could propose a transition plan that I hoped would serve everyone best. The final straw, however, that really brought the crushing weight of stress down on me was struggling with the news that my brother-in-law was fighting for his life after brain surgery and I was six states away, unable to help my sister and nieces. How did I internalize all that? Well, my intestines started bleeding for the first time in years.

Fast forward to exactly one year later and today, my husband and I are loving our new life and home in Florida, my brother-in-law is doing great after a year-long recovery process, my intestines stopped bleeding after three months, and I am no longer in a job that takes everything out of me. Instead, I am pursuing my dream job (voice over), leaning into my passions (podcasting and blogging), and full of joy and gratitude. Don’t get me wrong, I still have stressful days and life still throws curveballs my way, but I can face them with a clear head and energy because I’m no longer running on fumes.

Our bodies are complex systems. Over the years, I’ve realized that finding better health is more than just about diet and fitness. It’s caring for our emotional state, surrounding ourselves with the right people, having a job that fulfills us, and finding ways to feed our soul (in addition to physical fitness and nutrition, of course!).

Change is not always easy, but usually worth it! If you’re feeling stuck or stressed, ask yourself if you’re in need of a change. Is there anything that you wish to be different in your life? If so, create a plan to bring that change into existence. It may not be possible to make it happen all at once, but find the small steps you can take to get yourself to a place where you feel physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy, happy, and fulfilled. Life is too short to not live it fully.

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