Wellness Spotlight: Jasmine Farnsworth
The Wellness Spotlight series highlights military spouses and their real world health and wellness journeys in a Facebook live series. Below is an excerpt of Jasmine’s feature.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY AS A MILITARY SPOUSE?
My journey as a military spouse is an interesting one, because I was originally in the Army for about 10 years. In fact, I was actually my husband’s boss at one point. One day we decided we wanted to have a family and I had other things I wanted to do with my life, so I left the service.
What is a low moment when your health suffered the most and how did you overcome it?
My lowest moment was probably right after I left the military. I had just had a baby, my husband was away at the Officer Basic course, and my old unit, along with all of my friends, had deployed. For the first time in over 10 years, I was jobless and alone, and with a baby! I felt like I had absolutely no control over my life and I remember wondering where things had gone wrong. It probably didn’t help that I was suffering from post-partum depression (PPD). I received that diagnosis months later.
It took me a while, but I had to get used to asking for help. I think I had a breakthrough when I was trying to get off an airplane with my new baby. I was struggling to grab all of my bags and not drop my baby, and this sweet, older woman walks up and says, “Let me help you. I’m a grandmother, I know how hard this must be for you.” I started crying at that point, just hearing someone say that they understood how I felt was like an emotional release, plus I’m always a little emotional at the kindness of strangers. I made a promise that I would start reaching out for help from then on, and that I would start making time for myself. It was what I needed, and what my baby needed, too.
Share with us a high moment during your wellness journey!
It’s hard to pick a single high moment. I try to stay positive and healthy as a rule, but if I had to pick one it would be a few months after my lowest moment. I had just completed my MBA, I was in therapy and actively treating my PPD, and eating healthier. After months of training I completed my first half-marathon post-baby. When I crossed the finish line and saw my husband cheering for me with my son, I remember thinking, “I can do anything again!”
What is one personal habit that contributes to your success?
I’ve learned to really evaluate my own thinking and focus my efforts on what makes me and my family happy. If I decide I want to do something, I try and figure out what my motivation is. If it’s to impress other people or because I think that’s what other people expect of me, I toss it out. That sort of drive will never sustain or fulfill you. We don’t realize how much of what we do is influenced by the people around us. Social media has made the comparison game even worse. I remember seeing all the Facebook posts that my friends would share of the homemade super-nutritious baby food they make for their toddler, served on a ceramic plate they molded and hand-painted themselves and feeling like a total failure. But, everyone has their own path in life. Now instead of feeling envious or dejected when I see those pictures I celebrate their accomplishments.
What is your favorite form of self-care?
My favorite form of self-care is my morning coffee. I used to wake up in the morning to go running, but then one day I realized that I really hate working out in the morning. It was one more thing I was doing because people said it was the “thing to do”. But there’s no one-size-fits-all for life. I’ve started waking up about an hour earlier than everyone in the house to relax, have a cup of coffee, and plan my day. Now, I exercise in the afternoon.
WHAT IS A HEALTH AND WELLNESS RESOURCE YOU WOULD SHARE WITH THE COMMUNITY?
Go to the USO. I’m a little biased because I used to manage one, but they have tons of resources to help you connect with other spouses. It’s good to find a tribe whenever you PCS, and the USO can really help facilitate relationship building. Some also offer fitness classes. The USO here at Ft Belvoir partners with Honest Soul Yoga to provide classes for military members and their dependents. It’s a great resource to make use of.
IF YOU COULD RECOMMEND ONE BOOK TO MILITARY SPOUSES, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
Read “Mindset” by Carol Dweck. It’s life-changing. So much of wellness and being satisfied with life is mental. I honestly believe that if you have a strong mind, you can overcome anything. This book will help you identify patterns of thinking that are stopping you from reaching your potential. It has some great tips for parents, too. And it’s a really easy read.
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ABOUT Jasmine Farnsworth
Jasmine is married with three children: Connor age 4, Lila age 3, and Benjamin age 1. She's originally from Hawaii, but has lived all over the U.S., plus 2 years in Korea and a year in Afghanistan. Jasmine currently works in Learning and Development, as a Program Manager at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. She loves cooking, running, traveling, and studying foreign languages. She's fluent in Korean and can get by in Italian and French!