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 Lindsay’s feature.
Lindsay is a military spouse, mom, and writer. She encourages mothers and military spouses through her blog. She’s lived and traveled all over the world but believes there is always more to experience.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY AS A MILITARY SPOUSE?
My husband and I met at seventeen years old, on a cruise ship, on spring break. We found out we were both from Ohio, and started dating “long-distance,” as our towns were about an hour and a half apart from each other. We went to senior year homecoming and prom together. As he went into the Marine Corps, I went to university. We did break up for two years, as I was adamant about pursuing a career in dance and could not see how that could coincide with being military spouse.
However, he truly is my person, my best friend, and after two years we got back together and were shortly married after. We have now been married for a decade! It has been a crazy adventure. I ended up being able to pursue my career in dance after all, just in new and creative ways. Now I still teach private lessons, but with the birth of our daughter I have also made a shift into freelance writing.
We have weathered five deployments, and we are coming into our sixth PCS soon. Our journey has been unique in the sense that we have only had one station in the continental United States. The rest (majority) of our military journey has been outside the continental U.S., or OCONUS, in South Korea, Hawaii, Morocco, and most currently, South America.
IF YOU ARE A HEALTH OR WELLNESS EXPERT, TELL US ABOUT IT AND HOW IT HAS IMPACTED YOUR WELLNESS JOURNEY. WHAT WAS A LOW MOMENT WHEN YOUR HEALTH SUFFERED THE MOST AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME IT?
I am not an expert by any means. However growing up and into life as a professional dancer I became obsessed with fitness and health, but in a negative way. I struggled with body dysmorphia and yo-yo dieting for years. This extended into the first few years of military spouse life too, because my eating disorder was all about control. With constant deployments and relocations I would seek to control my body since I could not control the situation.
After my daughter was born, I was able to finally combat and recover from my body issues. I felt really good with my physical self. I was patient and kind to my body. I was able to work on making the mental switch from being “skinny” and looking at a scale to being STRONG and healthy. I no longer even keep a scale in the house. I work out now for the strength of my body, spirit, and mind.
However, I would not be honest if I did not say another low moment struck after our move to Morocco, Africa. This was the place of my lowest mental moment. My husband had just returned from back-to-back deployments, we had our daughter during this time, and we then had thirty days to move from Hawaii to Morocco. The reintegration after the deployment was the toughest we have ever been through. I became a mother without my spouse, and I had a difficult time giving him space back in our marriage. Add the move to Africa with the culture shock and the loss of identity that I felt there, and I knew that I was in a very bad place mentally and emotionally.
I sought counseling, and discovered I have anxiety. This was a relief. Once I understood that I have anxiety, I could start doing something about it. I now take my mental health just as seriously as my physical health.
You can listen to that experience in the Lifegiver Podcast episode: Coming Back from Silence that I recorded with Corie Weathers.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FORM OF SELF-CARE?
I have set up a little “me” corner in our bedroom with reading chair, a cozy footstool, and you can usually find me there in sporadic moments throughout the day. Even if it is just for ten minutes or so, I like to sit down with a cup of iced coffee and dig into a book.
What is one personal habit that contributes to your success?
I believe in writing, and sharing stories as a means to deepen relationships and also to process emotions. I write pretty regularly in my journal. Living overseas and having a preschooler at home has also honed my exercise routines. I work out mainly at home, utilizing online classes such as the Popsugar Fitness Channel on YouTube and Yoga with Adriene. I no longer really worry about or care about going to the gym. I’d rather do a quick and effective workout from home or meet with friends at our park to get in a group sweat session.
IF YOU COULD RECOMMEND ONE BOOK TO MILITARY SPOUSES, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
My two favorite books this year have been centered on REST. Even if you are not a homeschooling mother, Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie was such an uplifting reminder on what I want to develop in my family: strong relationships. I also have to mention Rhythms of Rest by Shelly Miller. It has revolutionized the way that I approach my week. I used to think taking a day off, or reclaiming the Sabbath was a lofty practice, and yet now I force myself to take one full day away from social media and work each week. It has really improved my quality of life. Please note that both books do have a Christian religion component.
(Purchases using the links above will help InDependent cover administrative costs for our programs at no extra cost to you!)
Lindsay Swoboda is a military spouse, mom, and writer. Her blog Uplifting Anchor encourages mothers and military spouses. Her work has been featured in Legacy Magazine, Next Gen Milspouse, Coffee + Crumbs, and Military Spouse Magazine. Recently, she has completed a free Moving Overseas for Military Families Guide. When she’s not writing, she can be found at her sewing machine with a hot cup of coffee. She’s lived and traveled all over the world but believes there is always more to experience.