IWS21 Day 2: Be Well Outdoors and In Your Home

by | Mar 10, 2021 | Articles, Environmental, IWS21, Nature, Wellness Summit

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.

Whether you listened to the full interviews or are catching up with these recaps, Day Two of the InDependent Wellness Summit was another inspiring and thought-provoking day surrounding the restorative benefits of the outdoors and your own home —two topics that really go hand-in-hand. (Did you miss Day One? Don’t miss out and check out my recap!)

Our Day Two listeners were inspired by two more interviewees, including Dr. Kathleen Wolf, who is a Research Social Scientist with a passion for helping others understand how being outdoors and in nature can have healing measures on the soul. Dr. Wolf has done research to better understand the human dimensions of urban forestry and urban ecosystems. Her studies are based on the principles of environmental psychology and her professional mission is to discover, understand, and communicate human behavior and benefits, as people experience nature in cities and towns.

This interview discusses the ways nature makes a difference in your world as military and first responder spouses, including how it relates to stress management. This lifestyle innately can be stressful, but for many over the last year since IDW2020, it has been taken to a whole new level. So how does this relate to nature and being outside? Dr. Wolf says, “Our COVID experience has elevated our awareness of, and need for outside experiences.” After all, it is the only real physical connection many can make. But it’s not just about being outside. Dr. Wolf believes, “It’s the combination of mindfulness, being outside, and regaining a centering of yourself, your senses, your thoughts, and starting to put things into perspective.” The full experience engages all your senses, but even the simple act of seeing nature or being outside can bring so many benefits as well.

So what is the next step? Along with all the fascinating research discussed in the interview, Dr. Wolf also provides several steps you can take to reap these rewards. One of her simplest suggestions is that you take in nature like a dose of medicine. Research suggests that twenty to thirty minutes in nature is optimal and is a doable amount of time to benefit both mental and physical health. She also discusses ways to do this, even for those of you who may live in more urban areas, or who are confined to your homes. 

As someone who was in quarantine in a high-rise apartment building with four small children not too long ago, this spoke to me. Taking the time to even open a window, feel the fresh air, and see trees in the distance has such a calming effect. As Dr. Wolf says, “A view of nature is valuable.” This interview is a must-listen and provides tools so applicable to the military and first-responder lifestyle.

“It’s the combination of mindfulness, being outside, and regaining a centering of yourself, your senses, your thoughts, and starting to put things into perspective.”


Coming off of that high of incorporating nature into daily life, the second interview of the day with Kennesha Buycks was also profound and focused on the personal environment. Buycks is the creator of Restoration House, a home and lifestyle brand and blog focusing on creating spaces that fulfill beyond the aesthetic and that speak to the restorative aspects of home.

A Southern transplant to the Pacific Northwest, she has a passion for connecting others, gathering, and inspirational styling and design. I love how relatable and approachable Buycks is in her interview. She is open and honest about her story, and spends time in the beginning sharing how she arrived in her current space. This is significant because she shows through her story that each season we go through in life makes us who we are. Each season is important. Even the hard ones. I am sure many of you can relate to that notion.

In the end, she felt very clearly that she was created to do something bigger. So through restoring furniture (something she enjoyed doing), she found herself being transformed and restored. “My life is a story of restoration,” says Buycks.

So what does this have to do with your environment?

Buycks expressed how each and every person should be confident in their story—you are who you are today because of things that have happened in your life. But after listening to this interview, I feel everyone should ask this important question—do you think you identify largely with your spouse’s career and have you tried to detach your identity from theirs? It is easy to get caught up in the word “seasons” and what season you are in. Buycks reflects that, “Our season of service doesn’t really ever end, it just evolves.” So as you move from place to place, or your family and home dynamic changes and evolves, you have opportunities to show your true identity apart from this lifestyle. 

This connects to your home because your environments and homes are tangible ways to tell those stories. You should give yourself permission to have your home full of pieces that have a story and meaning unique to you. Buycks shares a story here about how she incorporates a memory into her home through a piece of art. A simple manifestation of nature that brings happiness each and every time she sees it. It isn’t cheesy to add something like this in your home. Instead, it is helping you remember joyful moments in your life.

“Our season of service doesn’t really ever end, it just evolves.”


Overall, Buycks shares a lot of herself in her interview. She weaves together personal identity and purpose with home in a very beautiful, meaningful way. Your stories matter and make you who you are. Your home can be a reflection of your stories. She dives into so many ways to incorporate all five senses into your home to not only tell your story but to invoke the story and atmosphere of your home that you want. This interview should not be missed.

This is Day Two of the InDependent Wellness Summit for 2021! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! More recaps will be coming each day this week, so stay tuned! If you missed the recap for Day One, you can find it here. 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.

InDependent makes wellness accessible and creates opportunities for all military spouses to connect for friendship, accountability, and inspiration.

We envision a time when all military spouses thrive through connection to community and resources that results in healthy decision-making for themselves and their families.