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 Heather’s feature.
Heather is a Navy wife and mom to three daughters. She is a blogger passionate about helping new moms go from run-down to refreshed. She’s created several free tools and downloads to help moms overcome obstacles and thrive in their current circumstances, all found on her blog Strongwithgrace.com.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY AS A MILITARY SPOUSE.
My journey as a military spouse began when my parents conspired with my now-husband’s parents to set us up. He was about to deploy, and we ended up emailing for five months before meeting in person. We hit it off, and everyone thought we were destined to get married, but we hadn’t even met so I wasn’t sold yet. After meeting face to face, we dated long-distance and it didn’t take long to figure out we were meant to be. He proposed when I visited him in Thailand during his next deployment, and after we got married we jumped in the car and began our first of many cross-country moves. Ten-plus years, six duty stations, eight moves and three kids later, my husband just passed twenty years in the Navy. We’re in what we think is his twilight tour, and it’s been an amazing and challenging ride. I’m very grateful to be a military wife.
If you are a health or wellness expert, tell us about it and how it has impacted your wellness journey.
My history in health and wellness has been incredibly varied. I have many experiences that I hope I can circle back to one day when the time and season are right. I played basketball in college and while there, earned an interdisciplinary degree in Health and Christian Ministries. Later I went back to get my teaching certification in PE and Health, and a Master of Arts in Teaching degree.
When I first met my husband I was an elementary PE teacher. However, I couldn’t continue that once we were married, simply because we moved through several duty stations in a very short timespan. Instead, I got certified as an AFAA group fitness instructor and Zumba Instructor and enjoyed that.
I had to step down from teaching Zumba at our next duty station though, because my high intensity of training started to interfere as we began treatments for infertility. I was really bummed about stopping but I knew that I wanted to pursue motherhood and that was a sacrifice I was willing to make.
Our journey through infertility, miscarriages, and eventually motherhood, led me deeper into challenges in my confidence and inner strength and I grew my faith greatly. I’ve never gone back to the level of intensity in workouts that I had prior to starting fertility treatments. But I feel that internally in the mental, spiritual and emotional aspects of my life, I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been.
Have you experienced any extreme highs or lows since becoming a military spouse? How did you overcome it?
I had a distinct moment as a military spouse where I said “no more” and it made a huge impact on my life.
That moment was when we lived in Norfolk, Virgina (which I loved) in 2016. We experienced a difficult miscarriage, then later became pregnant with my second daughter. Though I was extremely grateful to be pregnant, I was very sick throughout my pregnancy. It took awhile for me to connect with mom-friends, and I struggled a lot with comparison and negative self-talk. I often felt like I wasn’t good enough as a mom or wife.
One day I became aware of how much negativity I was allowing to impact my heart and mind. I decided to refuse to listen to that garbage anymore. Enough was enough. That started me on an incredible transformation into living more into my true identity, my faith, and not being weighed down so much by other’s opinions.
By the time that daughter was born, I was in a very different place emotionally and doing well. However, I had an unplanned c-section which really hit me hard physically. Even though my husband was home for the birth, my mom had flown in to help, and baby’s sleep routine was working wonderfully, I felt so overwhelmed in those first couple of weeks. That experience gave me a lot of compassion for those without family support or with a deployed spouse while going through such a major transition and surgery.
The combination of those physical and emotional experiences became an inspiration for me as I launched my blog the next year. I am passionate about helping new moms through these kinds of challenges with practical baby sleep tips, gaining confidence, and faith-based encouragement that can come in handy when motherhood is challenging.
What is one personal habit that contributes to your success?
Getting more organized has contributed greatly to my success. After my second daughter was born, I still tried to skate by on last minute dinners and a scattered approach to my day. I got pregnant with my third when #2 was only six months old (they’re 14 months apart) and I knew that with three kids, skating by wouldn’t work anymore. I got organized with two key habits: 1- Setting goals, and 2- Meal planning. They have both been life-savers!
I committed to regular meal planning and stayed on top of having food stocked up. I keep my grocery list in a Google doc, and adapt it every week for my current shopping needs. I also keep my favorite recipes in PDFs so I can easily copy and paste ingredients to my shopping list. I use a dry-erase grocery list on the fridge to keep track of what we run out of. Then I put everything on the google doc, print it out and take the list to the store. It’s so easy and makes grocery shopping so much less stressful!
I also try to be consistent with making goals for my weeks and days. I can tell when I don’t have a goal because I end up feeling like I didn’t accomplish anything and I waste a lot of time.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FORM OF SELF-CARE?
During my most recent deployment, my favorite form of self-care was taking long showers after the kids were down for the night. It was my only uninterrupted part of the day, and I spent the time relaxing, praying and processing. Right now my favorite form of self care is anytime I can get out of the house alone (I’m an introvert) and either just be by myself, talk to God or meet up with a good friend to chat. I believe it’s important to foster relationships as well as carve out time to be alone and quiet.
IF YOU COULD SHARE A HEALTH AND WELLNESS RESOURCE WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I would definitely recommend my blog, Strong With Grace, especially to new moms, as a place to gain encouragement and tips on developing confidence and building relationships. Another health and wellness resource I love is my Apple watch that tracks my steps, but honestly you could use any pedometer. I don’t workout a ton but I try to stay active and keep moving. I’m not super focused on reaching a certain step goal, but glancing at my watch helps me remember to keep moving throughout the day.
IF YOU COULD RECOMMEND ONE BOOK AND/OR PODCAST TO MILITARY SPOUSES, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I recommend the book Make it Happen by Lara Casey. Inside, Lara shares her inspiring personal story and how she’s learned to live intentionally. She overcame a lot, and I read this during a deployment so it boosted my confidence and helped me break through some personal fears. It’s great for mental health and confidence, especially if you have some goals and dreams you want to accomplish. I highly recommend it!
Heather Goffrier is a Navy wife of ten-plus years and mom to three daughters ages seven, three, and two. She is passionate about helping new moms go from run-down to refreshed through baby sleep tips, positive mindset challenges, spiritual encouragement and parenting hacks. She’s created several free tools and downloads, such as the “5 Days To Positive Thinking” email challenge, to help moms overcome obstacles and thrive in their current circumstances. She can be found eating treats in the pantry when her kids aren’t looking, or cozied up in her office blogging at Strongwithgrace.com.