“Our stories are always evolving and changing. We have ups and downs, and I believe this is all a part of becoming who we were meant to be. It all starts on the inside.”
Jamie is the creative voice behind Styling the Inside, a lifestyle blog dedicated to authentically sharing experiences on parenting, style, health, and wellness.
Even as a child, Jamie loved to read, write, stay active, and to put together stylish outfits.
“I rolled my socks, wore my Keds without the laces, and tied my hair in a half pony to make a statement,” she recalled fondly.
In her early twenties, shortly after her first daughter was born, Jamie was diagnosed with Hashimotos Thyroiditis, a chronic illness that affects the thyroid gland.
“I was losing handfuls of hair, lost a tremendous amount of weight, and could barely get off of the couch. The doctors thought my diagnosis was odd for someone so young, but I started a treatment and began to feel better. I was in remission for a few years, so I wasn’t feeling the affects of my disease anymore,” Jamie shared.
Recently, however, Jamie’s symptoms returned, and new challenges were introduced, including fatigue, weight gain, joint pain, and dizziness. As she navigates the uncertainty of her condition and continues to search for answers to her discomfort, Jamie explained that clothing choices have had a surprising impact on her physical and mental wellbeing:
“Style makes me feel better when I’m having a gloomy day…When I put together a cute outfit and rock it, it uplifts my spirits. Sometimes, my illness causes me to become lethargic, and I won’t feel like getting dressed. However, when I do, I never regret it!”
Jamie describes her style as “comfortable.”
“I always say, comfort is confidence. The worst thing is attending a function in an outfit that I do not feel comfortable in! It becomes so hard to focus and truly connect with the moment – and with others, for that matter – when a top or dress feels too tight,” Jamie expressed.
“My weight fluctuates a lot with my illness, so I try to buy clothing that I can wear whether I’ve gained or lost a few pounds.”
At the moment, Jamie’s favourite piece in her wardrobe is a pair of Wilfred pants from Aritzia because they have a stretchywaistband and are made from a soft fabric. She also loves to find unique, second-hand pieces at thrift stores.
While the past few months have been difficult for Jamie health-wise, she has certainly learned a lot in the process. Finding ways to stay positive, to eat healthily, and to eliminate stress have been particularly impactful lessons for her.
“Most importantly, I’ve learned to say ‘no’ to doing too much. Stress is a huge trigger for my flare-ups, and it’s easy to begin to do it all when I’m feeling well. However, I’ve realized that when I take on too much and forget to make time for self-care, the symptoms from my chronic illness present themselves. It’s almost like a wake-up call to slow down and rest.”
As she looks for the best strategies to make the most of her energy and find gratitude in simple moments, Jamie turns to her family for inspiration.
“Having three daughters has taught me so many things I never would have learned on my own. They are a major part of my story. They have inspired me to create a life that feels good on the inside and spread that message to others, which is what I currently do through my blog, through transparent writing, and through speaking engagements.”
Jamie hopes that her blog and her community involvement will foster positive self-esteem, empathy, and kindness for our next generation.
Quick Questions with Jamie
- When have surprised yourself with what you have accomplished?
I surprised myself when I ran in my first half marathon. I didn’t think I would ever be able to run 21km! The training was rough, but the feeling of crossing that finish line was something that I will always be proud of.
- What is something that people would be surprised to learn about you?
I love to sing kids songs! When I walk my kids to school, or when I clean the house, I will sing Disney songs or other nursery rhymes. The kids think it’s embarrassing, but I love it.
- What advice would you give to others who are going through a similar health challenge?
My advice to anyone living with a chronic illness is this: Find people in your community that you can talk to about how you’re feeling. It can be very isolating to go through these symptoms alone, especially when you may seem fine to others on the outside. There is no shame in sharing how you’re feeling. When we find people who understand what we are going through, it connects us to one another.
My second piece of advice is to learn to rest. This is something I’m still learning. We live in a society that praises busy, but being busy is a sickness of it’s own. In other words, I believe that saying ‘no,’ and resting can help us heal from our symptoms.
- What has helped you or made you feel better emotionally along this journey?
Getting in touch with nature, writing, getting dressed up and socializing, and spending time with my family. Even when I don’t feel like I have the energy to do these things, they always make me feel good on the inside.
- Where do people stumble with their language or understanding about your health condition?
I think the biggest misconception people have is judging me based on how I look. I think people correlate the way someone looks with the way they might feel physically.
I may be at an event or dropping my kids off at school and look fine on the outside. People often comment, “you look so good”. I know they mean well, and I’m so grateful for such kind compliments…they feel great to hear…but internally, what they may not realize is my joints may feel swollen, or mid-conversation, I may have completely forgot what we were just talking about due to brain fog.
In consideration of the challenges that she has faced, Jamie feels proudest of her positive outlook.
“I always tell myself things could be worse, and count my blessings. I have three beautiful daughters, a loving and support husband, sisters who are my best friends, a roof over my head…the list goes on. I try to make the best of everything, despite how I may be feeling. I also love cliché quotes and messages. They get me through rough times, and keep me staying positive.”
Her favourite quote?
“Happiness is an inside job.”