I’m so happy that you’re here. I am the face behind the wellness blog and brand Mindful Natalie, where I share my story with chronic illness to help others who are walking a similar winding path toward wellness.
I believe that wellness is attainable while living with chronic illness. Until the age of 19, I lived my life largely unaffected by significant health issues. Over the next eight years, I experienced declining health that impacted every area of my life – relationships, work, school, exercise, socializing, intimacy, travel…you name it.
Gradual physical decline during the same years my peers were individuating and breaking out into the world was heartbreaking and confusing. Feelings of guilt, inadequacy, grief and so much more were consuming and constant. It was terrifying to be losing functionality, experiencing increasing physical pain and and not know why it was happening or how to stop it.
Initially, I struggled immensely to reconcile my wellness goals with my new reality of managing chronic illness. During a time I imagined myself thriving in my first post-grad job and moving into my first apartment with my boyfriend, my world instead shifted to revolve around doctors appointments, medications, procedures and pain management — an “all hands on deck” effort by myself and my family to reclaim my health and my life.
My days became long strings of “damage control” for all of the ways my health issues were throwing my life “off track”. As I slowly was confronted with the realization that the health problems I was facing had no “quick fix”, and were stumping even the experts in the field, I knew I had to find another way to navigate this new normal with more peace and ease. Out of desperation, I committed to a meditation and mindfulness practice in Fall of 2016.
Exploring mindfulness allowed me to expand my understanding of what I was experiencing and reframe my reality. I decided that there must be a way to love my life, more than I hated my pain. I decided that at just 24 years old, I wasn’t willing to let go of all of my dreams for the future. That there had to be a way to integrate my journey with chronic illness into a lifestyle rooted in wellness.
That transformation was the catalyst to sharing my healing journey. By learning how to step into this empowered version of myself, I found the confidence to share about my life with others on social media. It has now become my life’s work to share the skills and strategies that have transformed my reality with others in the hope that it can help them too.
I began sharing my journey as @mindfulmigraine on instagram in 2017. That account has now grown into a new brand, blog, writing career and life passion and a community of some of my closest friends. In December of 2018, I was diagnosed with chronic lyme disease, connecting many of the pieces of the puzzle in my mysterious declining health. This was my first “nudge” that maybe it was time to expand @mindfulmigraine into something that better encapsulated my story.
Whereas @mindfulmigraine was a place for me to share my coping strategies when migraine was the biggest hurdle in my life, my health story and passion for wellness continues to evolve into so much more. For this reason, I made the decision to step into a new brand name, Mindful Natalie, that represents my goals and focus in a more clear way.
Taking ownership of my wellbeing has made me realize that beneath the circumstances of chronic illness, is just me, Natalie, living my life to the best of my ability.
This is the Natalie I want to share with the world. The Natalie who holds space for every challenge of chronic illness hurls her way, but who knows she is so much more than that. I know deeply that chronic illness is one of the biggest teachers of my life, and that it is an opportunity for me to grow in ways I never could have imagined.
Today, the Mindful Natalie blog is all about a holistic approach to wellness and chronic illness. To meeting each day with as much acceptance as possible and walking the tightrope of surrender and hope.
I share each step along my road to wellness and healing and hope that in doing so I can inspire you along your own path. Thank you so much for being here.
All of my love,