Personal Strength: A Whole-Self Approach | The MilSpo’s Guide to Self-Care

by | Jul 1, 2016 | Blog


I am sure I’m not shouting any amazing breaking news when I say being a military spouse is hard. We all know this. Because we are all doing it.

But what does it mean to be a healthy military spouse?

Ah! Now there is a statement we all either cringe from or move toward, it seems. And I will be totally honest that when I first thought about doing this, I was the cringer.

Why? My answer is usually pretty simple when the topic of health/fitness comes up in my world: It isn’t me.

I don’t track my calories unless someone forces me to. I hate (reiterate, hate) running. The only way you are going to see me run is if someone has begged me to. And even then, people have out-walked my pace—backwards.

I am not petite and thin, and although I did CrossFit for a while with a dear friend, it just isn’t my bag.

But, what I have found is that there are things that are uniquely me: martial arts, yoga, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, meditation, journaling, painting.

Did you catch that? Those last three? What do they have to do with a healthy military spouse?

I’m glad you asked. And that is why I’m here.

Healthy, for me, it not always about the physical. It is about the balance of my whole self: mind, body, and spirit.

In living the military lifestyle, the one common thread I have found in being bounced all around the world, losing my favorite workout option because we pcs’d to a location that doesn’t have said workout—only to find one there and then move again, eating chips for dinner during a deployment because cooking would just be too dang depressing, working to get kids settled and house settled only to find out I have put on 10 pounds in the move—in all of that, what I have found is that I do have to keep myself healthy. Because if I am not functioning, there won’t always be a partner around to pick up the slack.

And staying healthy doesn’t always mean with sweat. Sometimes it means mental training. Heart training. Spiritual training. Counseling. And yes, sometimes that means moving my body in gentle, stretching ways to keep it ready to dive in to that hard workout when nothing but letting loose and releasing some aggression will do.

When I stood back to look at all these thoughts, what became clear to me is this: I cringed because I don’t think “healthy” is the word I look for. Because it makes me think of diet and exercise I will never love. It makes me think of magazine ads that don’t look like me. And will never look like me.

But strong? Now there is a word I can get behind. Because it means something different to each person. BMI can’t measure mental strength. A fitness ad for low-fat yogurt can’t quantify what it means to make it through a deployment. Cause let’s all be honest: getting through a deployment is pretty ridiculously strong.

Strength is something we can all rotate around as military spouses. It unites us. It gives us voice. Because our stories are amazing. And how we get through military life is pretty impressive.

For me it means some days I read when I have time to read. Others, I enjoy a TRX workout. And then some days I may just need to hike out into the middle of the woods and breathe until I feel focused again.

Strength is unique for each person, and it should be celebrated.

And that is what I hope to do. I want to hear from you, learn from you, and share with you.

What does “strong” mean to you?

click to register

click to register

(Only one registration per person required. Registered before? No need to do it again.)

My Book Recommendation:

avm wide

avm wide

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

(Purchase using the links above will help InDependent cover administrative costs for this program at no extra cost to you!)

I chose Animal, Vegetable, Miracle because Barbara Kingsolver is one of my favorite authors. You will rarely find me reading non-fiction, but I caught myself wanting to know what a year of sustainable living—growing your own food and living off the land—would look like. Beyond that, I loved the way this book looked at the whole story of sustainable living. Her daughter looked at recipes and yoga poses. Her husband discussed the science behind the concept of sustainable living. And she wrote, as she normally does, with her heart/mind/soul about what it meant for her to go on this journey. Sometimes life is pretty. Sometimes it is a mess. And I love a book that explores that. It inspired me to consider my food in a way I hadn’t before.

Group Coaching Session:

Wednesday, July 20, 2016 via Google Hangouts on Air at 8 p.m. EST. An email reminder will go out to all registrants Sunday, July 17.

Space will be limited. First come, first served. The session will be recorded and emailed to those who register to attend.

Peer-to-Peer Discussion and Meet-up:

Join the conversation in the InDependent | Virtual private Facebook group. Here we will spark conversations, and share online and local resources. Plus, each local community group will host an in-person gathering at the end of the month where you’ll have an opportunity to meet like-minded spouses.

click to register

click to register

(Only one registration per person required. Registered before? No need to do it again.)

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.