Wellness Spotlight: Lindsay Swoboda
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 Lindsay's feature.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY AS A MILITARY SPOUSE?
I boarded my first plane at age eighteen to see my now husband graduate from USMC boot camp! My spouse and I are high school sweethearts, but when he joined the Marines and I went off to college, we took a two year break from each other. I was not sure I was prepared to be a military spouse. I wanted to pursue my own dreams and did not think that I could do that in the military lifestyle. Boy was I wrong! However, we both feel thankful we had that time to grow up and experience life without each other, because after those two years we chose one another again- this time for good. We were married a year later and are coming up on our 10th wedding anniversary this December 2018.
Are you a health or wellness expert?
While I am not a wellness expert, my interest in health and wellness has re-shaped how I live. I was once a professional dancer, and unfortunately during that time I was never at my healthiest. I was riddled with insecurity and battled an eating disorder. I did not know how to exercise properly or nourish my body. After marrying my husband, he encouraged me to explore teaching dance and group fitness. In becoming a group fitness instructor, I started to understand how my body truly worked, and found freedom in taking care of it the right way. I am now more gentle and kind with myself, and encourage each mother and military spouse I meet along the way to be as well.
What is a low moment when your health suffered the most and how did you overcome it?
My lowest moment as a military spouse took me completely by surprise. We moved overseas to Africa in 2017 and in the first three months of our adjustment I struggled. This surprised me because I am not new to being overseas or in uncomfortable situations: my dance career had me living and traveling all over the world. As a family, we have been stationed in both Seoul, S. Korea and in Hawaii- which is indeed paradise but can be extremely isolating too. I thought that the move to Africa would be easy because of my past experiences, but the initial culture shock and living away from the military community took me to a dark place. I felt a lot of guilt and shame during that time because I was not handling it well. My husband and I function as our own unit- and I was the team member dropping my pack.
I ended up seeking a counselor that helped me work through my anxieties, and little by little found the way back to myself. It has been a chapter that forced me to get curious about resiliency, have patience with myself, and extend grace and kindness to others that find themselves in a challenging time.
Share with us a high moment during your wellness journey!
I felt my healthiest physically after having our daughter. The transformation of growing her, birthing her, and then returning to my former shape made me see how miraculous my body is. I had to work extremely hard to shed the baby weight, but I did it patiently and with new vigor. Her eyes continue to be on my every move- so teaching her the right way to take care of her body by exercising and making good choices with food (which definitely means indulging sometimes too!) is empowering.
I am currently at my healthiest mentally. After adjusting to Africa's mental-take-down, I am proud to be on the other side of this mountain. I now know that asking for help when I hit a mental road block is strength, not weakness. The signs that I am going down a disruptive path mentally are more prevalent and I am more vigilant and knowledgeable with my self-care.
How do you avoid burnout?
I do not try to avoid burnout anymore, but rather embrace the oncoming symptoms of burnout as a time to by hyper-aware. I’m working to walk with anxiety as a friend, and see it as a time to slow down. For me, this means asking for help, getting more sleep, and carving out space to do something I enjoy.
What is one personal habit that contributes to your success?
My secret weapon is words on paper. I journal consistently- and this does not mean sitting down every day and spilling my guts. Some days are just about writing down an uplifting quote or scripture. Other days I scribble away pages so that I can sort out the truth of my thoughts and find the light. Either way, a notepad is always somewhere nearby in my house- and putting pen to paper helps me process.
WHAT IS A HEALTH AND WELLNESS RESOURCE YOU WOULD SHARE WITH THE COMMUNITY?
I am a huge fan of Corie Weathers LifeGiver Podcast. Corie has changed my life with her vulnerability and honesty. All of her episodes seek to shed truth and encouragement on this military life. She creates a safe place to listen and hash out tough topics- I have benefitted so much from LifeGiver and I always recommend it to fellow spouses!
IF YOU COULD RECOMMEND ONE BOOK TO MILITARY SPOUSES, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
The book I recommend is Rising Strong by Brene Brown. I have applied the techniques from this book over and over again in my life. As a military spouse I can relate to being knocked down in the arena of life- starting over and over again…and learning to get up, dust off- and keep going.
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ABOUT Lindsay Swoboda
Lindsay is a military spouse, mom, and writer. Her blog Uplifting Anchor encourages mothers and military spouses. As a former professional dancer, you can find her doing pirouettes in the kitchen and leaping after her daughter. Lindsay also believes in curating a creative lifestyle and digging to uncover the positive in tough chapters. She finds solace in hearing the sound of her sewing machine and a hot cup of coffee. She’s lived and traveled all over the world but believes there is always more to experience.