The InDependent Wellness Summit is our annual, online event for all military and first responder spouses- past, present, and future. Learn more about the program here.
The final day of the InDependent Wellness Summit recaps has finally arrived and, as expected, the online event ended with two great interviewees who had a lot of wisdom and inspiration to share. If you missed Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, or Day 4, make sure to check out the recaps before diving into today!
Our final two interviewees included noted Chef Andre Rush, who has an astounding career creating culinary delights in the military and government communities. He’s also known for doing 2,222 push ups a day to raise awareness around suicide. His biceps are big, but his personality and drive to do good and share good with others are even bigger.
It makes sense that a man who spends over an hour a day doing push ups would speak on the importance of self-talk. The mental fortitude it takes to wake up at 3:30 a.m., meditate for 15 minutes, and then get after his push ups is incredible. What’s even more impressive is he’s the one pushing himself to stick to this personal routine.
“Who’s with you 24/7? It’s you. You are your biggest cheerleader,” says Rush. This is something I think all of us can forget from time to time. I know there are days where I’m not my own biggest cheerleader, rather, I’m my biggest critic. And when I think about who I want following me around all day, whispering thoughts in my ear, I’d choose the cheerleader every time.
But positive, constructive self-talk? That can be hard to achieve! Most of us aren’t brought up to constantly praise and love ourselves through the good times and the bad. So positive self-talk doesn’t always come naturally. That’s where seeking help comes in. “It’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to let your guard down. It’s okay to say, ‘Hey, I need someone to talk to,” Rush shared. As someone who has lived with PTSD for many years, he is no stranger to reaching out for help and acknowledging when he needs outside help. Because, while we each have all the answers we need inside of ourselves, sometimes we need help discovering them.
Being open, honest and vulnerable with yourself can be hard – and scary! – but it’s the type of work that will allow us to live as our most authentic selves. In doing that, we find we’re able to thrive in our lives and share our gifts with others.
The other part of self-talk that Rush shared that I loved was his hashtag: #behumblestayhumble. We all get big heads every once in a while. And I bet many of us can remember a time when we thought the universe revolved around us. As Rush points out, however, “No matter how successful you are, someone gave you something somewhere at some time.” The be-humble-stay-humble mindset is an important part of our self-talk that will allow us to continue to be loving, kind, and grateful for all the blessings in our lives.
Of course, InDependent is intentional in how they put together their interviews. So it’s no surprise that the second interview for today focused on the theme of moderation – something that goes hand-in-hand with self-talk. Alison Evans is a recovering alcoholic as well as a life coach and recovery coach. Her journey with alcohol and sobriety was unbelievably inspirational. She, like so many alcoholics before her, finally “hit bottom” after years of abusing alcohol and she realized her life had become unmanageable. She took the steps necessary to get sober and stay sober for good – something she struggled with in the past.
As she moved into the uncharted territory of life without alcohol, she realized that some of the traditional resources for staying sober – like AA – were not going to work with her lifestyle. As a mom of three young kids and wife to a pilot, she didn’t have the flexibility to make the meetings she needed that would provide her the community she needed. That’s when it hit her, “If you can’t get to the community, find ways to bring the community to you.”
This idea can apply to all of us. Society likes to make us think that one-size-fits-all when it comes to healthcare and wellness. But the truth is, each of us have different needs. For those of us in the military and first responder communities, there are times when our lifestyles simply won’t allow us to fit the mold. It’s when we get creative to bring the resources we need to us that we’re able to find the community and support we need to achieve our goals.
I could identify with a lot of what Evans shared, as I grew up as a child of alcoholism. But I’m sure there were listeners (or readers) who thought, “That’s great for her but I don’t have an issue with alcohol.” That may be true! But as Evans shared in her interview, “Just because my issue is with alcohol doesn’t mean I’m the only one that’s struggling.” We are all struggling with something. It may be substance abuse, or it may be something different like binge eating, gambling, or overspending. There are many ways our struggles can manifest. And in the military community especially, it can feel crucially important to hide those issues. But it will prevent us from living our best lives.
Being able to look inward and stand up for yourself and what you truly want, not what your addiction wants, is important. Doing so helps you live your life the way you really want to: healthy, happy, and connected to your innate wholeness.
It’s sad to see the end of the InDependent Wellness Summit! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! Remember, you can catch up on each day by checking out the Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, or Day 4 recaps. Stay strong until next year!
Don’t forget, you can still sign up for the Wellness Lounge and receive access to all of the interviews FOR LIFE! Sign up here.
ABOUT ALEXIS MILLER
Alexis Miller is the Director of Communications for Warriors at Ease, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to bringing yoga and meditation to the military community through a network of trained professionals and through free programs that support them in their health and healing. She’s also the writer behind the blog Wife in the Wild Blue Yonder, where she shares her travel and military life experiences with readers. Lastly, Alexis is a certified yoga instructor and specializes in bringing yoga and meditation to the Yokota Air Base community. When Alexis isn’t busy working, you can find her doing yoga, rock climbing, fly fishing or traveling.