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 Erin’s feature.
WHAT WAS YOUR LOWEST MOMENT, WHEN YOUR HEALTH SUFFERED THE MOST?
Soon after we got married, Gabriel left for Basic Training at Fort Benning. I was about halfway through my MFA program at Columbia where I was studying fiction in New York City. Those were rough days. I was living in Harlem at 125th and 5th Street right by Marcus Garvey Park, and as a newlywed and a writer hard at work, I didn’t yet know how to bridge the gap between who I was before with who I was becoming now that I was a part of the military framework. I didn’t yet have the vocabulary—literally—to explain my new territory, and I couldn’t articulate this feeling to friends and classmates. That loneliness was difficult and debilitating. But, my writing from some of my darkest days then became some of my strongest material.
WHEN DO YOU FEEL YOUR BEST AS A MILITARY SPOUSE?
I feel my best when I am grateful. And I am grateful for how life can be a balance of love, writing, friendships, movement, humor and a continual search for how to spend more time alone. I also feel my best when I am in the middle of a good work of fiction, whether I am reading it or writing it.
As a military spouse, I think it’s worth noting here too that you are not required to feel sad when your Soldier is away. I’ve actually had moments/days/weeks when Gabriel is gone and I have felt my best. I used to try and cover this up for some reason. I encourage you to grant yourself the permission to feel however you need to feel.
I love connecting with people, too. I’ve made so many new connections recently and I know my work as an environmental health advocate and educator with Beautycounter has certainly played a role in that.
WHAT IS ONE PERSONAL HABIT THAT CONTRIBUTES TO YOUR SUCCESS?
I write. I make time to show up at the page. I commit to the things I love. I also walk my dog at 6 a.m. and at 4:30 p.m. every day. I meditate. I was introduced to Dr. Barbara Fredrickson’s website, Positivity Resonance, which features Loving Kindness meditations that I can’t recommend highly enough.
One of my best friends, who is an herbalist, introduced me to adaptogens, certain herbs, like Ashwagandha, that may help you adapt to change and balance your adrenal functions. I also began incorporating ionic magnesium citrate (Natural Vitality CALM) dissolved in water before bed. Magnesium is a crucial mineral for the human body. According to the National Institutes of Health, magnesium is needed for your body to do about 300 different things and when you are low in magnesium you may experience anxiety, depression, headaches, muscle spasms, etc. Generally you absorb magnesium through vegetables that have been grown in dirt. Due to soil depletion, sadly, even if you are eating a whole foods diet you can still be at risk for low magnesium levels. These two things—Ashwagandha and magnesium— have helped me tremendously.
IF YOU COULD RECOMMEND A RESOURCE TO MILITARY SPOUSES, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night. Instead of tossing and turning and worrying, I meditate. I breathe. Katherine Huynh of Embrace Yoga Studio taught me to match my inhale to my exhale. If you inhale for a count of five, you exhale for a count of five. Counting is just enough to occupy your mind that your brain will quiet down and the calm will come.
Also Hay House has a podcast with free meditations they update weekly.
IF YOU COULD RECOMMEND ONE BOOK TO MILITARY SPOUSES, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
For day-to-day reading and kick-in-your-pants inspiration:
When you want to dig deep:
When you’re sick of fear and are ready to laugh in its face:
(Purchases using the link above will help InDependent cover administrative costs for our programs at no extra cost to you!)
ABOUT ERIN PESUT
Erin Pesut is the editor at CityView, the local glossy lifestyle magazine based in Fayetteville, North Carolina. She received her Masters in Fine Arts (MFA) from Columbia University in New York and also studied creative writing at Warren Wilson College where she met her husband, Gabriel. In addition to her love of reading and writing, Erin is also deeply passionate about health and wellness, specifically as an educator and Manager with Beautycounter, an education-first, mission-driven company and lifestyle brand based out of California. Erin also loves to hike, bike, and do ballet. She lives in Fayetteville with her husband and their dog, Teddy.