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 Wendi’s feature.
Wendi is an Army spouse, new mother, blogger, freelance writer, aqua cycle, and Stroller Fit group fitness instructor. Wendi is extremely passionate about helping others find their inner strength through faith, fitness, volunteerism, and finding purpose. In her free time she enjoys volunteering, hot showers, and family time.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY AS A MILITARY SPOUSE.
My military spouse story started a little over four years ago when I married the man of my dreams. In true military life fashion, we geobached for our first eight months of marriage while we got my townhome ready to sell that was located an hour and a half away from base. I knew shortly after I moved there would come a day when I had to walk away from my career that was several counties away from post. I began to struggle with my identity as a military spouse and wondered how I fit into this new world. That’s when I began writing about everything and started my blog Strength 4 Spouses.
In year two of our marriage and after the miscarriage of our first baby at eight weeks, six months later, I walked away from my nine-year career in higher education. I have since struggled to find comparable employment where we are located, but have used the extra time to write, advocate for the military spouse community, volunteer, dive into fitness, and have regained a deeper connection with my faith. Through my blog, I encourage military spouses to be their own people and set their own goals apart from their service members. Having our own identity is important in this life as we spend ample time alone on the home front. Through faith, fitness, volunteerism, and finding purpose, I encourage military spouses to get involved in their communities. It’s easy to lose sight of who we are when we join this life, but I know that we are all so much more than a milspouse.
IF YOU ARE A HEALTH OR WELLNESS EXPERT, TELL US ABOUT IT AND HOW IT HAS IMPACTED YOUR WELLNESS JOURNEY.
I am an aqua cycling instructor and a few months ago began teaching a Stroller Fit class too. Although my background is in the public education sector, higher education, and special education, my love of fitness and aquatics inspired me to get certified to teach. I saw a need here at Fort Bragg and decided to jump on board. I earned my certification and was hired immediately. I started teaching a year ago and recently added Stroller Fit classes to my schedule too. I love bringing my son to class with me and I encourage other military moms to also enjoy connecting and fitness. They can bring their babies with them and promote wellness to their babies at an early age.
HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED ANY EXTREME LOW OR HIGH TIMES SINCE BECOMING A MILITARY SPOUSE, WHEN YOUR HEALTH (MENTAL AND/OR PHYSICAL) SUFFERED THE MOST?
My lowest moment in military life, almost three years ago, was when we lost our baby due to a miscarriage at the eighth week of pregnancy. Three months later, our thirteen-year-old beagle passed away from cancer. I really cannot say that one thing alone helped me overcome the pain and devastation that losing a baby can cause. I started the healing process with counseling and building a memorial garden with my husband. Being outdoors was one place where I did not feel pain and depression. The hard labor and creativity of building this flower and herb memorial garden was extremely therapeutic. Fitness also helped me heal. A good sweat session helped me beat the blues and feel more confident in myself again. Lastly, finding my way back to faith was the icing on the cake in my healing process. That made all of the difference!
I can pick several highs over the last two years, and definitely pre-pregnancy in 2018. I even felt pretty healthy during my pregnancy last year in 2019. Currently, due to lack of sleep with an infant and being five months postpartum, I am still working on my overall health and getting my body back. I am about seven more pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FORM OF SELF-CARE?
My favorite form of self-care these days, as a new mother, is a very hot shower twice per day.
WHAT IS ONE PERSONAL HABIT THAT CONTRIBUTES TO YOUR SUCCESS?
I try to incorporate some type of exercise or movement into my daily routine. When I am unable to have a good sweat session, I’ll try something else like walking or jogging around my neighborhood. This helps me to feel good on the inside, outside, and it spills over into other areas of my life. Exercise helps me both mentally and physically. I want to be the best version of myself that I can be and staying physically active helps me to do that.
IF YOU COULD SHARE A HEALTH AND WELLNESS RESOURCE WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
Cohen Veterans Network is a nonprofit organization that helps active duty families and veterans with mental health counseling. I highly recommend using them as it is their passion to help the military community. They are currently a “no cost” resource for military families and veterans and have many locations all over the US.
IF YOU COULD RECOMMEND ONE BOOK AND/OR PODCAST TO MILITARY SPOUSES, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
A book that I am currently reading is Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life. This is a perfect read for military spouses because we tend to overcommit and say yes quite often. This book will help reevaluate what you say yes to and help empower you to be more assertive for taking control of your life.
Wendi Iacobello has been an Army wife for four years and part of military life for six years. She spent nine years as an adult educator prior to military life, has a Master of Arts in Educational Media, a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education, and is certified to teach group fitness classes. Wendi is a new mom, a blogger, freelance writer, aqua cycle, Stroller Fit group fitness instructor at Fort Bragg, Baby Pavilion Breast Pump Ambassador, and an avid volunteer in her community. In her free time, which isn’t much these days, you can find her volunteering at USO’s story time, enjoying a scalding hot shower, or simply enjoying family time with her husband and their son. Wendi is extremely passionate about helping others find their inner strength through faith, fitness, volunteerism, and finding purpose. She does this by sharing her experiences, insight, resources, and inspirational stories on her blog Strength4Spouses.