The Military Spouse Wellness Summit 2015 is just around the corner, from October 19th through the 24th. The event is 100% online and is totally FREE for military spouses to “attend,” so if you’d like to learn more about it, be sure to check out the #MSWS15 website.
As an Event Ambassador, I’ve been asked to write a blog post that explains what wellness means to me. Wellness is something I’ve been meaning to write about for awhile, so this is a good prompt for me. I’ve also been asked to share one wellness tip with you, my readers. Keep reading!
What Wellness Means to Me
Wellness is a crazy-broad term, but I think it can be boiled down to three things: mental, physical, and spiritual health. When you’re “well,” you’re mentally stable, you’re in a good place physically, and you’ve got spiritual peace. That sounds simple, right? But here’s the thing: to be mentally, physically, and spiritually healthy are all really personal, nuanced things.
Mental health is oh-so-important, but oftentimes, it’s one of the last aspects of heath and wellness we talk about with friends or feel comfortable “working” on. I’ll be honest: I’ve struggled. When my husband came home from Afghanistan in late 2012, our reintegration was tough, and each time we relocate (and we’ve relocated a lot) I have to keep my mind busy and make a conscious effort to stay positive.
The military has resources out there that can help you with your mental wellness. If you want to learn more about what’s offered on your post, I suggest contacting Army Community Services (ACS) or your health clinic. Both should be able to help you find the point of contact for free classes and workshops for things like stress management, resilience training, and new parenting.
One of my favorite Army resources is the Military Family Life Consultant program. MFLCs, as we call them, are traveling therapists who only stay on any given Army installation for a few months at a time.
They’re professionally certified and experienced, so you have the chance to work with a “real” therapist, but they don’t keep any records. At all. They’ll never write down your name or ask for your soldier’s social security number. They’re there to help you navigate whatever it is that you’re going through. I think the MFLC program is a fantastic resource, and if you’re struggling right now, I really encourage you to call ACS to schedule an appointment with an MFLC.
Physical wellness is the aspect of wellness that I think the military puts the most emphasis on. We see our soldier do PT every day, we have access to a free on-post gym, and for a nominal fee, we can take fitness classes. We watch our weight, we try to eat healthy, and we make an effort to stay active. For some of us, physical wellness means doing big endurance events, while for others, it simply means getting to the gym a couple of times a week. Again, we’re all on our own journeys!
During my husband’s 2012 deployment, I ran a lot. Like, 21 big races in 9 months kind of a lot. My standard for physical wellness that year was higher than it had ever been before, and it was higher than it’s ever been since then. Fast forward a few years, and I’m now a toddler mom with #2 on the way. Running a half marathon a month might have a way to feel physical well in 2012, but it’s not practical for this stage in my life.
I can’t compare where I’m at physically today with where I was at physically three years ago, because I’m already on to a new place in my fitness journey. Many of you can probably relate. How you define physical wellness has a lot to do with where you’re at right now in life. Maybe weight loss was your physical priority a year ago, but now you’re able to focus on strength training. Or maybe the reverse is true.
Embrace where you’re at right now on your physical wellness journey, knowing that your goals will change with each new chapter of your life. No one but you (and maybe your doctor or a personal trainer) knows what your personal fitness goals look like or why they’re the goals you’re focusing on.
Spiritual wellness might be the most sensitive wellness angle here. I know what I feel like when I’m in a good place with my own faith and spirituality, but not everyone is like me. There’s a huge range of diversity out there in spiritual and religious beliefs, but I think that no matter what faith you come from, being spiritually well means having peace and calm in your heart.
Your specific faith probably has teachings that can guide you towards that peace you’re seeking. Maybe you’re taught to eat a specific diet, read a book of wisdom, or make prayer or meditation a part of your daily life. No matter what spiritual background you come from, your spirituality is part of what makes you human and whole. In my opinion, at least.
My Biggest Wellness Tip for You
As you get older, face health problems, or experience other big life events, you may have to adjust your expectations for what mental, physical, and spiritual health look like. It’s all relative, and only you know what wellness looks like for you! My biggest wellness tip for you is this:
Focus on where you’re at in your own personal wellness journey right now, and work from there to make incremental improvements. It takes a thousand little decisions each day to change your health, not one big one, one time. Get started now, today!
If you need a little motivation, sign up for the Military Spouse Wellness Summit. It’s free, it’s entirely online, and it’s geared specifically towards the wellness of military spouses around the world. Here’s my personal referral link. I hope you’ll join me!
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