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 Laura’s feature.
Laura is a creative, environmental consultant, plant novice, mother, and storyteller. If you can’t find Laura admiring her plants or styling beautiful spaces, she’s probably hiking with her family.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY AS A MILITARY SPOUSE.
My journey with the military started in 2010 when my husband and I first started dating. I didn’t understand the military lifestyle because I didn’t grow up around it. My husband and I spent our first few years apart with his continuous deployments and my traveling for work. Once we wed in 2014, we immediately moved to North Carolina, which we thought was a perfect place to be newlyweds. We traveled and explored the mountains and coast, and in 2017 we had our daughter and PCSed back to Tennessee.
IF YOU ARE A HEALTH OR WELLNESS EXPERT, TELL US ABOUT IT AND HOW IT HAS IMPACTED YOUR WELLNESS JOURNEY.
If you consider plants and our natural world being a huge benefit for health and wellness then yes, I would group myself with being a wellness expert. I went to college and received my B.S. in Biology with a focus in Environmental Studies. Even without education, I have always had a strong environmental consciousness. I have worked with The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation for five years and being within this organization has inspired me even more to live a lifestyle that is respectful of my surroundings. Understanding how conservation is the root of it all allows us to become more environmentally aware. And for me, nature heals, soothes, and restores my general wellbeing.
WHEN HAVE YOU FELT YOUR HEALTHIEST AND/OR BEEN AT YOUR HIGHEST MOMENT?
I would not say I experienced any extreme lows as a military spouse. When we moved to North Carolina it was a difficult transition because I was leaving a really great job and my family behind. Starting over is never easy but the thought of moving to a brand new place, knowing no one was exciting and fresh to me. After a few months of having no luck with a job search, I read about a local military spouse company, R. Riveter, in a local magazine. They had just opened their first shop and I was so inspired and eager to join their team. I spent the next four years helping grow the business and create with the most empowering women in the military spouse community. Being surrounded by these ladies, I felt grounded and at my healthiest, mentally and physically. These people were my people and that is where all my creative passions started to fall into place.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FORM OF SELF-CARE?
Other than namasting with my plants, my favorite form of self-care is hiking. It is the ultimate practice of self-care because I get time with Mother Nature, allowing me to be mindful and present as well as benefiting from physical activity and exercise.
WHAT IS ONE PERSONAL HABIT THAT CONTRIBUTES TO YOUR SUCCESS?
Not sure if it’s a habit but it’s definitely a “go-getter” mentality. I put myself out there. I try to surround myself with inspiring and empowering women who lift me up, support me as well as teach me so many things. I also know that kindness, friendliness, and an open mind have been huge in my success since I work heavily with people. I communicate and relate to people so that when we speak they feel comfortable. I ask questions and I put myself in intentionally uncomfortable situations which can be terrifying for me at times but I learn and grow with those experiences. I am not afraid to hear the word “no,” and I learn from constructive criticism.
IF YOU COULD SHARE A HEALTH AND WELLNESS RESOURCE WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
PlantSnap app. I use this daily to identify plants and trees. A great way to reconnect with nature and learn about the plants and trees you encounter every day.
IF YOU COULD RECOMMEND ONE BOOK OR PODCAST TO MILITARY SPOUSES, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I’m a big fan of the “Bloom and Grow Radio” podcast. Episode 37, Horticultural Therapy is a great one that I think would benefit military spouses. The host, Maria, discusses with Barb Kreski, Director of the Horticultural Therapy Department at the Chicago Botanic Garden about the ins and outs Horticultural Therapy, how stress reduction studies are measured, as well as other talks about plants used with healing.
As military spouses we move a lot and redesigning our homes can be expensive. I love the book Design by Nature because it encourages you to find your own personal style, source or creativity and connection to the natural world.
Laura is a creative, environmental consultant, plant novice, and storyteller. She resides in her plant jungle with her husband, daughter, and precious pup, Bonnie Blue. Most days you can find her admiring her plants, styling beautiful spaces, or hiking with her family. Her work was featured in Volume IV of Legacy Magazine in which she shares how creating a beautiful environment with plants has both design flare and health benefits. Much like her plants, Laura thrives where she can build off the energy around her.