All IWS22 InDependent Daily Recaps are created via partnership with the staff and writers for It’s A Military Life. It’s a Military Life is a milso and vet networking community, dedicated to serving military families and those who serve our country past and present. Founder, Christina Etchberger, is an Army spouse on a mission to give a voice and opportunities to members of the military community by sharing their stories and providing resources.
The first day of the InDependent Wellness Summit was full of amazing ways to embrace self-care in ways that work for you and to focus on your identity, so you can put yourself first.
People have many interpretations of what self-care is.
In the first interview on Day 1, Dr. Tia Ukpe-Wallace shared what self-care means from her perspective. She talked about how self-care doesn’t look the same in all seasons. It will look different, and that’s okay. Giving yourself some grace and making adjustments as you go through life will allow you to better commit to the practice of self-care for that season. She also discussed how our bodies store stress and grief as tightness or tension. “Self-care isn’t just about pampering yourself. It’s also about dealing with the hard stuff too.” It’s dealing with your anxiety, not just getting a spa treatment or getting a massage. Dr. Tia then gave some techniques to help release tension by describing skin rolling. Skin rolling increases healing within soft tissues. It helps with healing by increasing blood flow to a specific area.
Another thing Dr. Tia talked about is the cycle of commitment. According to Dr. Tia, what this means is often you might find yourself constantly committing to some kind of self-care practice, but then something happens that prevents you from continuing. This causes you to go through that cycle over and over again constantly. You’re not perfect, and you need to be realistic about your cycle. What is it you’re trying to commit to? Finding something sustainable that works with your body’s schedule will result in long-term benefits and a better commitment. You need to take better care of yourself. Dr. Tia says, “Don’t chain yourself.” We’re really good about beating ourselves up, and we are so hard on our failures. It’s okay to realize you’re not perfect. —Judy Castillo, IML Professional Volunteer
After listening to Dr. Tia speak about self-care and how simple it can really be, I set out to enjoy my cup of tea. I often let it get cold because I’m trying to do at least five other things. Today I sat down with my cup of tea. I held the warm cup in my hands. I sniffed the lovely smell. I slowly sipped the tea and enjoyed the taste on my tongue. I did nothing else while enjoying my tea and it was such a lovely and relaxing experience. —Elizabeth Bosse, InDependent Volunteer
The second interview on Day 1 was with Shunta Grant from Best Today. We tend to live in a society where we are constantly on the go and wanting to fit in with the world. Everyone has the same twenty-four hours in a day, seven days a week. You have the choice of what you do with your time, however. You might go day by day with the same habits and routines. You’ve somehow ended up with to-do lists and having to be there for everyone else. Shunta said, “If we are not careful, we can become a machine whose value is what we produce.” Shunta shares that machines are replaceable, therefore you let yourself become replaceable. She encourages you to switch up your values, and value YOU more. When you love yourself, you’re a better person at everything. This is why Shunta’s mission is helping people figure out who they really are. She doesn’t want to know your title like parent, spouse, teacher, business owner, etc. The problem with a title is it can be taken away from you tomorrow. When Shunta asks her clients “What are you good at,” the number one response is a role they play. She wants you to think about WHY you are good at those roles, because that will help you see what matters to you and who you are.
Shunta suggested that to help you think about who you are, write it out. She said, “The pen is more powerful than the brain.” There’s something about taking the time to actually write out everything. There are some questions you can answer to discover yourself while journaling. Shunta asks, “What does your life look like if you let yourself dream?” Shunta encourages that it’s okay to have desires and dreams. You are worthy of it. Write out what this looks like. You matter and are important. Then follow up with “What is the one thing you can do for yourself every day this week?” This ties in with your mental, emotional, and physical health. Remember, the person you keep putting at the end of the list needs to be at the top of your list, YOU. Find the things that are most important and learn to say no. —Judy Castillo, It’s a Military Life
After listening to Shunta’s interview I was inspired to make a different kind of list in my nightly journal entry. I allowed myself to dream big and wrote down all those dreams as if there were no obstacles. It was scary to say the least. After I finished, I looked the list over and realized that there are so many things possible if I just do one thing a day to make it happen. —Elizabeth Bosse, InDependent Volunteer