Wellness Spotlight | Wendi Iacobello | Garden Tour
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 Wendi's feature.
Wendi is a blogger, freelance writer, aqua cycle Instructor, virtual assistant, and an avid volunteer. She passionate about helping others find their inner strength by sharing her experiences, insight, resources, and inspirational stories on her blog. Wendi also loves her garden.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY AS A MILITARY SPOUSE.
My military spouse story started almost four years ago when I married the man of my dreams. In true military life fashion, we geobached for our first eight months of marriage while we got my townhome ready to sell that was located an hour and a half away from post. I knew shortly after I moved, there would come a day when I had to walk away from my career that was several counties away from post. I began to struggle with my identity as a military spouse and wondered how I fit into this new world. That’s when I began writing about everything and started my blog Strength 4 Spouses.
In year two of our marriage and after the miscarriage of our first baby at eight weeks, six months later, I walked away from my nine-year career in higher education. I have since struggled to find comparable employment where we are located, but have used the extra time to write, advocate for the military spouse community, volunteer, dive into fitness, and have regained a deeper connection with my faith. Through my blog, I encourage military spouses to be their own person and set their own goals apart from the service member. Having our own identity is important in this life as we spend ample time alone on the home front. Through faith, fitness, volunteerism, and purpose, I encourage military spouses to get involved in their communities. It’s easy to lose sight of who we are when we join this life, but I know that we are all so much #morethanamilspouse.
IF YOU ARE A HEALTH OR WELLNESS EXPERT, TELL US ABOUT IT AND HOW IT HAS IMPACTED YOUR WELLNESS JOURNEY.
I am an Aqua Cycling Instructor and gardening enthusiast. Although my background is in the public education sector, higher education, and special education, my love of fitness and aquatics inspired me to get certified to teach. I saw a need here at Fort Bragg and decided to jump on board. I earned my certification and was hired immediately. I started teaching this January (which was also at the beginning of my pregnancy). I have enjoyed it so much and it has helped me and this baby to stay healthy and strong.
My love of gardening started when I was a little girl by watching my grandparents garden. I enjoyed helping them pick buckets of tomatoes and cucumbers. In my late 20s and early 30s I began planting gardens in my tiny little space behind my townhome (pre-military life). Then, my husband and I bought our first home together three years ago with a few acres of land. We built a flower and herb garden and have a seasonal vegetable garden too.
Have you experienced any extreme highs/lows since becoming a military spouse? When has your health (mental and/or physical) suffered the most and how did you overcome it?
My lowest moment in military life was when we lost our baby due to a missed miscarriage at the eighth week of pregnancy. I really cannot say that one thing alone helped me overcome the pain and devastation that losing a baby can cause. I started the healing process with counseling and building a memorial garden with my husband. Being outdoors was one place where I did not feel pain and depression. The hard labor and creativity of building this flower and herb memorial garden was extremely therapeutic. The next thing I dove into was fitness. That seemed to be another area where I did not feel hopeless and sad during the sweat session. Lastly, finding my way back to faith was the icing on the cake in my healing process. That made all of the difference!
WHEN HAVE YOU FELT YOUR HEALTHIEST AND/OR BEEN AT YOUR HIGHEST MOMENT?
My highest wellness moment has been the last two years! I have set and achieved personal fitness goals that I never dreamed possible such as, completing my first half marathon, running a 10-miler, and becoming certified to teach aqua cycling. Achieving those feats have spilled over into my emotional health and given me back self-confidence and self-esteem. It has also helped me battle anxiety and depression. Although I have had to slow down much of my intensity in exercise over the last seven months, I have remained physically active during my pregnancy. That has been helpful for my precious baby and myself and helped me to have an almost flawless pregnancy at the ripe age of 40.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FORM OF SELF-CARE?
My favorite form of self-care is moderate exercise. It does something magical to my soul.
All year long, my favorite way to decompress is through spending time working in my flower and herb garden.
WHAT IS ONE PERSONAL HABIT THAT CONTRIBUTES TO YOUR SUCCESS?
One thing that contributes to my success is my ability to stay organized and be intentional about my time. I do that by keeping to-do lists, making the most of each day, and constantly taking time to reflect about my day, the week, and what I need to improve on, let go of, or slow down on. Life is about balance and that requires intentional planning.
IF YOU COULD SHARE A HEALTH AND WELLNESS RESOURCE WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
MWR programs are amazing here at Fort Bragg and for the Army community as a whole. They provide so many activities for families to get involved, have fun, and stay active.
IF YOU COULD RECOMMEND ONE BOOK OR PODCAST TO MILITARY SPOUSES, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
A book that I would recommend military spouses read is Fearless by Eric Blehm. This book is life changing and gives you a great picture of what life is like for military spouses. I read this book prior to military life and I learned so much. It’s truly an inspiring story about the service member’s life and it details so much strength and perseverance from both the spouse and the service member.
Wendi Iacobello has been an Army wife for three and a half years and part of military life for five and a half years. She has spent the last nine years as an adult educator, has a Master of Arts in Educational Media, a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education, and became certified to teach aqua cycling last year. She is a blogger, freelance writer, aqua cycle instructor, virtual assistant, and an avid volunteer. In her free time, you can usually find her volunteering at USO’s story time, outdoors in the garden, aqua cycling, cooking up a new recipe, or playing fetch with her adorable Beagle, Daizi. Wendi and her husband are expecting their first baby this fall, which is their third year in the making rainbow baby. Wendi is extremely passionate about helping others find their inner strength by sharing her experiences, insight, resources, and inspirational stories on her blog Strength4Spouses.