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 Rebecca’s feature. Rebecca is a First Responder Spouse who brings a new perspective to this series!
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY AS A First responder SPOUSE?
My husband and I are high school sweethearts and right out of college, my husband (boyfriend at the time) began his career in law enforcement. So I have been with him every step of the way through his twelve year career. Over the years, I have experienced nearly every emotion related to our lives as a law enforcement family. From pride, to anxiousness, to overwhelm, to happiness and everything in between. I did not grow up in a military or law enforcement family, so through these twelve years, I really had to learn to “find my new normal” if you will. Not only did we make a lot of adjustments in our relationship having been together for five years before my husband was in law enforcement, but also individually and with friends and family. I now know I am only stronger for all those adjustments to our lives but each year definitely brought new obstacles, emotions, and bridges to cross. Like learning to plan around holidays when your officer is working and explaining to friends and neighbors that you are in fact, not a single parent, despite how it looks.
Are you a health or wellness expert?
I am not a health and wellness expert but one huge revelation I had about very recently was that I was not taking the proper care for myself (mentally) that I should be. My wellness journey truly started just last year, in all honesty. I have always been a fairly healthy person but after years of having children and always caring for others before myself, I kinda hit a wall. I woke up one morning and told myself that my health mattered just as much as my kids and husband’s health does. And actually, if I am not taking care of myself then I really can’t be this amazing mom and wife I dream to be because I can’t care for anyone if I am always last. So last year I made a promise to myself to change that. I didn’t really tell anyone, but I knew I needed to start doing things that I wanted from time to time, so that I could better my mental health. I tried so hard to find a community of police wives that may be experiencing the same thing but that was really difficult to find. So I created my own website to provide resources for fellow police wives and began building a safe community for those wives, as well.
What is a low moment when your health suffered the most and how did you overcome it?
Last year a low for me as a mother, wife, police wife, friend. I was beginning to forget what I loved, my hobbies, my likes and dislikes. When all these titles of mom and police wife were stripped away, who was I? I honestly couldn’t answer this question. Until I started becoming intentional about making time for myself. I let my husband know when I needed a break or I would call a sitter for later in the week. I stopped having guilt for things like that because the only person putting pressure on myself to to a good job was myself.
I made time for writing, I made time for friends more often, I made time for just myself. Sometimes I fit it in when my kids were asleep at night, sometimes I had to plan in advance with my husband, but however it had to happen, I was intentional about it.
Share with us a high moment during your wellness journey!
The biggest changes happened when I attended the Empowered Spouses Retreat back in September with the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation. This retreat was life changing for me. I learned not only from Corie Weathers and Taya Kyle, but also from the amazing women on the journey with me.
I went on that trip feeling a little lost, still wondering who I was, but that trip gave me even more motivation, strength, encouragement to focus on myself now more than ever. I wasn’t lost, I just hadn’t given myself the attention and self-care that I desperately needed.
That growth did not stop when the retreat did.The growth I have experienced over the last year has had a snowball effect. I feel that I am at my happiest and healthiest right now personally, in my marriage, professionally, as a parent, etc.
So huge shout out to the CKFF for changing not only first responder and military wives but marriages, as well!
How do you avoid burnout?
To avoid burnout, I have really forced myself to become in tune with my body and emotions more. I have learned to recognize when I am feeling overwhelmed, tired, lonely, or be able to see when I need to take some time for myself. It is at those moments, that I become intentional and make a plan to pivot those feelings as best as I can. Whether it is pause as a mom and wife and not worry so much about the laundry or dishes or coordinate with my husband so I can have some personal time for self-care. I often know when burnout is approaching, so it is what I do next that helps me the most.
What is one personal habit that contributes to your success?
If there is anything I have learned over the last year it is that I need to give myself permission more. More importantly, I now give myself permission to unplug. When life feels overwhelming to me, I look around and see what matters most. I step away from things like social media, my blog, and give myself and my family love with T-I-M-E! Time for them more and time for myself. Every time I do, I come back refreshed and refocused.
WHAT IS A HEALTH AND WELLNESS RESOURCE YOU WOULD SHARE WITH THE COMMUNITY?
I love the Lifegiver App (Podcast) by Corie Weathers. Corie is so down to earth and her messages are always so inspiring!
IF YOU COULD RECOMMEND ONE BOOK TO MILITARY SPOUSES, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I recently started reading the book, Boundaries, by Dr. Henry Cloud and John Townsend. It helped me on my journey to better self-care and lessened the guilt I had with putting boundaries in my life. If you struggle to say “no” for fear of what others think, then this is a book I recommend checking out.
(Purchases using the links above will help InDependent cover administrative costs for our programs at no extra cost to you!)
ABOUT rebecca lynn
Rebecca is a wife to an amazing police officer, a momma to three awesome kiddos, a former Kindergarten teacher, and she is currently a stay at home mom. She writes at Proud Police Wife (.com) where she provides support and resources for police wives and their families. She has a heart for uniting law enforcement families and building a community for fellow police wives!