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InDependent Blog by Kimberly Bacso - 1w ago

If you get hospitality and entertaining confused, you may never want to regularly have people over because it’s just too hard. Here’s an easy way to differentiate the two: Hospitality is about sharing time together. Entertaining is about providing an experience.

There are some times during the year when you want to put on a show and provide an experience…birthday parties, major holiday meals, baby showers, promotions. But what about an ordinary Friday night? There are times for carefully designed invitations and elaborate tablescapes, and there are times for last-minute texts for beverages and snacks-on-hand.

When I think back over the last 17 years of Army life, the people who showed hospitality the most frequently were the ones who didn’t care if they had stains on their carpets or crumbs on the floor or full kitchen sinks. They were friendly people who enjoyed the company of others. They extended casual invitations often. Jen Eddins of the Peanut Butter Runner blog recently wrote, “sometimes adult friendships take a certain amount of directness that I’m not typically comfortable with.” Yep, that’s me! But the military spouses who are the best at showing hospitality have nailed the practice of extending the casual invitation. It’s a, “Hey, let’s have a yoga and tea date next week.” Or, “Our husbands are both away. Why don’t you bring your daughter and whatever you were making for dinner over here and we’ll eat together and then the kids can play.”

Everybody appreciates an invitation, so why is it so hard for some of us be direct and put it out there? I would love to hear your reasons. Here are some of mine:

Fear.

What if they say no?

Back to the above. Everybody appreciates an invitation. Nobody has ever said no. The answer might be a raincheck, but it’s never been a no.

Time.

I’m going to have to put a lot of work into getting my house and refreshments ready. Then there’s going to be the cleanup. An imperfect house actually makes people feel more comfortable because they don’t have to worry about messing things up.

Hospitality can be as simple as a place to sit and something to drink. Small effort, small cleanup. Big rewards.

 Uncertainty.

I haven’t found my tribe yet. I don’t know who to ask.

In a big room of people with only a few familiar faces, look for clues about people that show you might have something in common. One friend hand-picked me out of a group of moms at a large playgroup gathering because our kids were wearing the same brand of shoes and she thought that might mean we might have similar parenting ideas. She got my number and called to follow up right away with an invitation for our kids to play in her baby pool. Back to that idea of needing to have a certain amount of directness! You could do the same thing with clothing. Somebody’s sporting a yoga brand you love as casual wear and pulls it off? Or they’re wearing stylish yet comfortable shoes? If those are things you have in common, strike up a conversation and see where it goes. If you don’t have business cards, consider having some contact cards made so it’s easy to share your email address or phone number without a lot of effort or awkwardness.

Go to where your tribe hangs out. The park, the yoga studio, the gym, the coffee shop, the shared workspace. And know that InDependent communities are here for you, virtually and in person. Training for a race and looking for a running partner? Why not put it out there in the InDependent community to see if somebody else was just waiting for the ask? Love to cook and want to share a healthy meal with somebody? Choose a cookbook and invite people to a potluck dinner featuring recipes from that cookbook. I put an invitation out for people to try a vegan cookbook, highly doubting that people would be interested. A bunch of people RSVPd yes!

Insecurity.

What if I don’t have enough places to sit, or enough glasses for everyone?

This one is not just me because I’ve heard it a lot. The awesome thing about the military community is that everybody understands what it’s like to just start out or to adapt to homes of wildly different sizes. Sit people around your coffee table, or have a picnic on a blanket. You and your home are good enough!

I love how Jen Eddins identified that she struggled with having that little bit of directness that she needed to make adult friendships and decided to become more of an initiator while staying in her comfort zone by “frequently reaching out and saying something like, ‘I’d love to see you this week. What works with your schedule? Run date? Coffee? Dinner? Maybe just catch up on the phone? I’m flexible. Let me know!’” 

The key word is “frequently.” The more we extend invitations and the more we have people over, the easier it becomes and we’ll be better able to shift from the entertaining mindset to one of hospitality. If you come to my house for the first time, I’m going to be in first impression mode. But if you come over a bunch of times, the dishes in the sink or the laundry in the basket become less weird.

Opening our homes to others gives us the opportunity to support our health through community. In her book This is Where You Belong, Melody Warnick wrote that researchers from the University of California, Irvine, and Penn State University found that “when participants reported more neighborhood cohesion, they had more positive emotions and fewer physical ailments. They even reported experiencing fewer daily stressors.” I could use some of that!

What holds you back from having people into your home? What are some of your favorite things to do when friends, old or new, come over? Share on Facebook or Instagram using #IDthrive.

 

 

 

 

 

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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 Meghan’s feature.
“My goal in life is to help people live healthy, whole, and meaningful lives.”
— Meghan Meredith

Click on Image for Facebook Live Video

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY AS A MILITARY SPOUSE?

I met my husband in Atlanta, GA 5 years ago this June. I had just graduated college and took a nanny job in Atlanta for the summer. We met through a mutual friend and spent that summer falling in love! We were married just 5 days short of our one-year dating anniversary.

While I met my husband that summer, I knew I would be a military spouse five years prior to meeting him. After dating another Air Force gentleman after my freshman year of college, I felt a strong calling to be a military spouse. I really chalk it up to God preparing me for what He had in store for me years down the road. I’m not sure I would have gone for it had I not felt such a strong calling and had 5 years to wrap my head around the military lifestyle.

Are you a health or wellness expert?

I went to college and received my B.S. in Applied Health Science and Psychology with the goal of going on to Physician Assistant School. I have always been passionate about whole person wellness and preventative healthcare. When I didn’t get into PA school and the timing of it all didn’t line up well with our military lifestyle and constant moving, I felt led to explore other career options. This is when I discovered health and wellness coaching. As I began to read more about this career, the more I knew this is exactly what I always wanted to do…I just never knew a thing like it existed. I grew up and watched both of my parents struggle with their health and wellness, physically, mentally, and emotionally, and I knew that I wanted to educate and help others learn to lead lifestyles rooted in healthy habits. My aim is to offer a fresh perspective and approach to health and wellness; an approach that focuses on stewarding our bodies well. I firmly believe that our home environments profoundly impact our overall wellness, hence the name of my brand/business, HomeBodySoul. 

What is a low moment when your health suffered the most and how did you overcome it?

Finding out we were being re-stationed to Los Angeles was definitely a low point. I was not at all thrilled to move West and was filled with so many fears and disappointments. It was my first move as a military spouse as well, so that brought a whole host of emotions ranging from anticipation and curiosity to fear and a desire to stay rooted where we were.

Ultimately, I knew we didn’t have a choice and I had to pick up and move. That forced me to become resilient and overcome this “barrier”. I also wanted to go into the move with a positive attitude, so I tried my very best to stay positive and look forward to experiencing a new part of the country for 3-4 years.

Share with us a high moment during your wellness journey!

Our time in Los Angeles has held some of my lowest low’s and my highest high’s. It’s been three years full of personal, relational, and professional growth. While it hasn’t been easy, I wouldn’t trade these three years because I have developed so much as a woman of faith, a woman of wellness, and as a wife, friend, entrepreneur, and coach. I ebb and flow when it comes to my wellness, just like any human being. Some weeks and months are easier and healthier than others but I always come back to what my root ‘why’ is when it comes to choosing to live an intentionally well lifestyle.

 What is your favorite piece of fitness equipment?

My favorite piece of fitness equipment would have to be dumbbells! They are so versatile, easy to use, and relatively cheap to purchase and keep at your home. Strength training is my favorite form of exercise and it has so many benefits for the body and the mind.

What is one personal habit that contributes to your success?

One personal habit that contributes to my success is to start my day off slow and purposeful. I don’t always have an hour to ease into the day, but it is more a mental mindset shift to enjoy and savor each moment of the day and not jump out of bed and immediately focus on the rush and the list of things that needs to be done. I always try to start my day with a devotional and intentional quiet time before beginning any more or hopping on social media. It makes such a difference in how I approach the remainder of my day.

“Wellness is living a life rooted in wholeness from the inside out. ”
— Meghan WHAT IS A HEALTH AND WELLNESS RESOURCE YOU WOULD SHARE WITH THE COMMUNITY?

Over the last year, I have written and created a holistic fitness planner for women. Whole Body Fitness is a self-guided fitness planner that is comprehensive in nature and teaches you how to steward your body well through movement. This health and wellness resource is great for the military community because the workouts throughout this planner can be done virtually anywhere, anytime! I created with flexibility and grace in mind. The heart behind Whole Body Fitness is to teach women how to take care of their bodies from a stewardship standpoint, all while learning self-discipline so that each woman can gain the confidence and determination to go after other goals in their life. Whole Body Fitness is more than just workouts. It teaches how to move your body in a refreshing way that is rooted in self-care and gaining not only physical strength, but also mental and emotional strength. It really is a whole body, whole person approach to health and fitness.

IF YOU COULD RECOMMEND ONE BOOK TO MILITARY SPOUSES, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

I really do love reading when I have the time and there are so many incredible books out there! If I had to recommend one book for military spouses, I would have to recommend ‘The 5 Love Languages Military Edition’. This is an excellent book for couples to read through separately or together! It helped my husband and I learn how to better love one another and it also taught us a lot about ourselves and how we give and receive love. It’s so important that we cultivate healthy marriages as well as this can make or break our home environment and most definitely impacts our wellness.

The 5 Love Languages Military Edition: The Secret to Love That Lasts By Gary Chapman, Jocelyn Green

(Purchases using the links above will help InDependent cover administrative costs for our programs at no extra cost to you!)

ABOUT meghan meredith

Meghan Meredith is an Air Force wife currently stationed in Los Angeles, CA. She is the founder of HomeBodySoul, a lifestyle wellness brand for women where she seeks to inspire and educate women on how to best steward their homes, bodies, and souls. She is a Certified Personal Trainer, Group Exercise Instructor, and a Health/Wellness Coach. She and her husband currently have no children, but love their fur-baby, Nusu! She drives a yellow Jeep, which she feel is very reflective of her personality! She loves green tea, being outdoors, and slow mornings.

CONNECT WITH Meghan

Facebook: Home Body Soul | Website: Home Body Soul | Instagram: @homebodysoul | Email: hello@homebodysoul.com |

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If it is your turn to stay put this year, then chances are you’re going to have the opportunity to welcome somebody into your community. In this month’s book club selection, This is Where You Belong: Finding Home Wherever You Are, Melody Warnick suggests that to feel a sense of belonging in our communities, we should get acquainted with everybody who lives in homes that we can see from our front porches.

Getting acquainted is easiest when people first move in. If too much time goes by things just get awkward. “Hi, I’m Kimberly. You moved in three months ago, but I thought I would come introduce myself.” At that point, it’s easier to just nod and wave and never really get acquainted.

For me, it takes a bit of courage to introduce myself, so I like to take a little something with me to help start the conversation. Historically, I’ve taken food, but you can’t tell what people eat. My husband and I have been vegetarians for our entire lives, so if somebody shows up with a plate of meat sandwiches, we have to speak up because we’re neighbors and they’ll probably find out someday so we couldn’t just accept the food to be polite and then feed it to our dog.

As the moving trucks are packing up our neighbor’s things, I’ve been starting to compile a list of things that would be good to welcome the new neighbors that move into those houses. I would love to hear your ideas too!

Flowers in a Mason Jar

I love finding inexpensive grocery store/farmers’ market flowers, cutting the stems short, and placing them in a Mason jar. This makes a nice welcome gift for new neighbors because fresh flowers boost your spirits and make you feel at home even when you’re swimming in boxes. The Mason jar is something the neighbors can keep so they don’t have to worry about returning a vase, and they don’t have to dig out a vase of their own. If you tie a note around the neck of the jar with a pretty ribbon they’ll have a good way to remember the names of your family.

Guest Book

I grew up in a pretty informal house where guest books were for baby showers and weddings. Now they show up at apartments our boutique hotels where we sometimes vacation. I’ve always thought it would be kind of neat to have one for every home to show who came to visit, when they were there, why they came, and maybe even a note from my guests, so that after I move away I have some on-paper memories to take with me. If we were to gift neighbors with guest books, maybe they would feel like they’ve just moved into a neighborly place where people like to get together. Choose a spiral bound journal that can easily stay open on a table. Write the name of the town, the date, and a nice welcome on the first page. Include your contact information so they can easily be in touch.

Marked Map

An old friend recently sent me on a friend date with somebody that moved to my area. We enjoyed lunch together and afterwards I sent her a message with my favorite grocery stores marked on a map. On a recent trip to Amsterdam, our host marked a paper map with where we were staying plus some tourist sites, cafés, and markets. We actually went to all of the places marked and were delighted by the good recommendations. I thought that would be a fun way to welcome neighbors that have probably researched jobs, schools, and activities but they may not have all of the word-on-the-street recommendations for the neighborhood’s best places to go. Offer to go get some coffee or tea when your new neighbor is feeling settled or just needs a break.

Gym/Studio Schedule + Pass

People tend to fall off of their fitness routines when they move and taking a class together is a great way to get acquainted. You could give them a paper copy of your favorite studio or fitness facility, a guest pass, and an open invitation to join you at the time you usually go. Then you have low pressure way to connect, and you’ve contributed to someone else’s wellness. Who knows, they might suggest a class you’ve always been meaning to try!

Some Quiet Time

One of the best things new neighbors have done for me was coming over with their children to introduce themselves and inviting my daughter to play with their kids while I got some unpacking done. The kids played outside nearby so I didn’t have to feel weird about my daughter going to a stranger’s house and she made instant friends. It was a win-win for everybody!

Your challenge this PCS season is to go out and meet your new neighbors, and even old ones if you’re brave. Comment below with how it went and other ideas you have for welcoming newcomers. Share photos on Facebook or Instagram using #IDthrive.

 

 

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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!
“My first steps in starting this journey, once I realized I had to change, was letting my husband know that I really needed to focus on myself more. I felt like I needed someone to be accountable to.
This was also the time that I started writing. It gave me an outlet and I desperately wanted to help others who I knew were out there too. ”
— Rebecca Lynn

Click on Image for Facebook Live Video

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.

“To me, wellness is being the best version of yourself. ”
— Rebecca

The InDependent team recommends downloading the FREE Lifegiver App to listen to monthly podcast and interviews to encourage your marriage, access free marriage resources, and Lifegiver groups.

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.

Boundaries Updated and Expanded Edition: When to Say Yes, How to Say No To Take Control of Your Life By Henry Cloud, John Townsend

(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!

CONNECT WITH Rebecca

Facebook:Proud Police Wife | Website: Proud Police Wife | Instagram: @proudpwife | Email: info@proudpolicewife.com |  

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Whether you are preparing for a PCS move or going on vacation, there are things you can do to keep your stress low and your wellness goals on track.

Long drives and cramped cars can be stressful on vacation. Add the logistics of packing your family, pets, valuables, non-packable liquids, and maybe even house plants into one or two vehicles to move who knows how far, and it becomes the all-too-familiar grinding, mind-numbing experience that you’ve probably experienced before. If you’re a military spouse lucky enough to have remote work, you might even have to use up quite a few of your vacation days to execute a PCS.

Just the thought of sitting in a car for hours is enough to drive anyone stir crazy. If you’re trying to maintain a healthy routine, vacation or PCSing can set you back, because it’s impossible to keep fit and find nutritious food options on the road, right?

The good news is that it isn’t unreasonable to stay healthy during a long road trip, and trying some of the tips below will make the journey a lot easier, without compromising your health goals.

Bring Healthy Snacks

One of the most important components of any successful road trip is the fuel (and we’re not talking gas, though it’s probably good to have some in the tank). Too often, we find it easier to fill up on convenience store junk food, and end up falling off the health wagon. With a little bit of pre-planning and keeping the basics of good nutrition in mind, it’s possible to stock up on snacks full of protein, fiber, and balanced ingredients. Items like fresh fruit, veggies, yogurt, and cheese are easy to bring in a cooler, while putting nuts, crackers, and jerky into resealable bags in advance helps limit portions to recommended serving sizes. When you inevitably make stops along the way, bottled water and low-sugar juices are readily available at most travel stops and gas stations, and you can always make smart choices like skipping the deep-fried fast food items and opting for the salad option when stopping for meals.

Fit in Fitness

Before we say “impossible” again, just remember this mantra: your body is your gym. Sure, it would be challenging to find time for any physical activity if you weren’t going to make any stops, but that wouldn’t be much of a road trip. Take advantage of roadside landmarks, bathroom breaks, and food stops, including when you stop and rest for the night. If you’re used to grinding away at a gym using machines and weights, this might not seem effective to you, however incorporating any movement at all is beneficial. Try getting out of the car to stretch your legs at every opportunity, and incorporate a workout in your hotel room. Using a workout app can help you organize quick, structured routines that maximize limited space. You benefit from having a fitness professional plan and guide your workouts, so it's one less thing you have to think about!

Take it Easy

There are usually two schools of thought when it comes to long car trips -- those who prefer to buckle down and drive with the fewest possible stops, and those who take breaks and swap out drivers when possible. (There’s been a call lately for the military to ship one vehicle for continental U.S. moves because not being able to swap out drivers adds to the stress of a PCS.) The latter is always the best option in terms of physical health and maintaining your sanity. Not stopping for frequent rests can aggravate back pain, cramps, and increase overall stress. It may get you there ahead of schedule, but it’s not worth the stress and wear that it can put on your body. Take rests whenever you’re feeling sore or stir crazy, and try to make time to stop for the night to rest, no matter how many eligible drivers are in the car.

Get Adequate Rest

Ensuring that you are getting quality sleep and paying attention to your body’s signals goes hand-in-hand with taking enough breaks. A tired driver is a dangerous driver, and so it’s crucial to get proper sleep on a road trip, especially on an epic multi-state voyage. If you’re beginning to feel tired, immediately pull over and swap drivers if possible, get some fresh air, or even close your eyes for a bit if you’re in a safe space. You should also be mindful of where you are staying, and the conditions in which you are sleeping. Camping along the road can be a fun experience, but constantly sleeping on the ground or in a tent throughout your trip may cause your body to fatigue faster. You might consider camping every other night.

Tips like these may help you stay on track with your wellness during a move or vacation, and ultimately, leave you feeling more refreshed and energized. PCSing is tough and road trips can disrupt a routine, but putting your best foot forward, and keeping your health a priority are some of the best things you can do for yourself and your family.

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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 Amanda’s feature.
“I have learned to have faith in what I know I can do and just do it. Don’t worry about what others think you can do, know what you can do and go do it!”
— Amanda Huffman

Click on Image for Facebook Live Video

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY AS A MILITARY SPOUSE?

I met my husband in college while we were both pursuing our dream of becoming officers in the Air Force. He commissioned in 2006 while I still had a year of school left.  That year apart we stayed connected through phone calls and occasionally trips. We were married in March 2007 and  I commissioned in June 2007. We were lucky and I was able to be stationed at the same base with my husband. Since we were both active duty, we spent a good amount of time apart with the various training missions and his frequent business trips. My third year in the Air Force my name got tagged for a deployment to Afghanistan. That year I left my husband behind and went off on a crazy adventure.

When we later moved to Ohio I made the transition from active duty to diaper duty. I truly believed being a stay-at-home mom was going to be an easy job. I had gone to Afghanistan. I had this. Motherhood ended up being a lot harder than I expected and a year after my son was born we PCSed from Ohio to California. Now, we are on the move again, moving from my home state of California to Virginia.  I am looking forward to the new friends we will make and the new adventures to come.

What is a low moment when your health suffered the most and how did you overcome it?

Leaving the military and becoming a mom at the same time was really hard for me. I lost my identity as I made the transition. I didn’t realize how much of my worth had been tied into the status of military member. It didn’t help that my husband was sent off to two months of training 8 weeks after my son was born.

At the time, I just got through each day. There were a lot of tears. My son was a good sleeper up until the day my husband left and really never recovered from him being gone. Slowly I started to find myself. I first started working out again. I did one of the Beachbody programs  and it helped me get in my workout each day since they were only 25 minutes a day. I was able to find an excitement and passion for working out again.

I also found a love for writing. I started following a blogger who challenged people to write for five minutes each Friday. My goal was to find five minutes to write and each week I did it I was so excited. As I continued to write I found a passion to share my story.

Share with us a high moment during your wellness journey!

With my first son I had wanted to have a natural birth, but plans changed and I ended up being induced and getting an epidural. I was able to have a vaginal birth, but it wasn’t the birth story I had been hoping for.  With my second son, I was able to have the natural birth I had been hoping for.

My second son was born in November and that following May I had signed up for a half marathon. I was lucky and was able to start training within weeks of giving birth and my training paid off when I was able to break the two-hour goal for a half marathon. I now have a passion for running and have completed a number of half marathons since living in LA. 

What is your favorite form of self care?

My favorite form of self-care is getting away from life responsibilities and spending time with my girlfriends. Being able to have a  day where I can spend time with friends is always so healing. A few weeks ago a few of my girlfriends and I spent a day at Disneyland and it was a breath of fresh air. Next month we are having a spa day and I am really looking forward to it.

What is one personal habit that contributes to your success?

Not allowing people to tell me I can’t do it. Or if they do, it gives me the challenge that I need to prove them wrong. While I was in the military, people would often second guess my ability to do whatever task was at hand. I have learned to have faith in what I know I can do and just do it. Don’t worry about what others think you can do, know what you can do and go do it!

“My personal definition of wellness is being happy with who you are and where you are at.”
— Amanda WHAT IS A HEALTH AND WELLNESS RESOURCE YOU WOULD SHARE WITH THE COMMUNITY?

There are tons of free workout videos on YouTube, but if you know you need help to stay committed to a goal, find someone who you resonate with and join in.

IF YOU COULD RECOMMEND ONE podcast TO MILITARY SPOUSES, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

My favorite podcast right now is The Happy Hour with NextGen MilSpouse. The thing I like most about the podcast is that they cover current events that matter to military spouses. I love learning the details of what is new in Tricare or new laws that may affect the military community. I also love the variety of interviews they have. An honorable mention goes to The Dear MilFamily Podcast by Sheena Arting.

(Purchases using the links above will help InDependent cover administrative costs for our programs at no extra cost to you!)

ABOUT amanda huffman

Amanda is a military veteran and military spouse. She served in the Air Force for six years as a Civil Engineer before transitioning from active duty to diaper duty. Her husband continues to serve in the Air Force. She is now a stay-at-home mom of two boys. Her family currently lives in Southern California and most weekends you can find them at Disneyland. This summer the military is moving them from West Coast (California) to East Coast (Virginia).

CONNECT WITH AManda

Facebook: Airman to Mom | Website: Airman to Mom | Instagram: @airmantomom | Email: airman2mom@gmail.com  | Twitter: @airman2mom |  

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PCS season in upon us, and once again many of us find ourselves in that in-between space between leaving one place and arriving in another.

You’ve said your goodbyes…perhaps multiple times. You’re sad to be leaving, but at the same time you feel so-freaking-ready for something new.

The hellos on the other side are pending. Perhaps you’ve connected with a few people at your future duty station, but for the most part, those relationships are fantasy, imaginative, uncommitted.

And there you are -- floating in the middle. You’re out there hanging between two homes. It’s an incredibly unique place of limbo and it can feel daunting and overwhelming. But, what if I told you there are actually some gifts in that space? What if you could harness the power of the space between leaving and arriving to connect more fully to what’s happening now?

Here are five ways to navigate the in-between space that will leave you feeling more prepared for whatever comes next.

1. Feel all the ways.

I like to call the emotions during this time – sweet sadness. It’s actually my favorite emotion during times of transition. It’s not uncommon to be confused or stressed by weird and complicated emotions. It doesn’t always feel good, but learning to be present with all the emotions that come up is essential to better understanding ourselves as we go from place to place. Just the simple act of taking a deep breath and naming our emotions (in your head is fine) can do wonders for our ability to move through our emotions instead of turning away from them. Research says when we do that, we’re better equipped to learn from our experiences.

2. Say “no” sometimes.

When you’re transitioning you’re bombarded with requests to connect. Saying goodbye when you leave and reestablishing relationships when you’ve been away is important to creating community that feels mobile no matter where you go. However, during transition it’s more important than ever to create boundaries around your time and space. Saying yes to every opportunity to grab a coffee, meet for dinner or get the kids together can leave you feeling overwhelmed in what is already a challenging emotional ride. Take time to think about the people you most want to see or connect with and then make plans that prioritize those relationships so that you don’t spread yourself too thin.

3. Know your people.

Most of us have at least one person we know we can talk to no matter what we’re going through. It’s that person who is honest (so she’ll call you on your crap) and gentle (so even with the crap, she loves you). Transition is not the time to go it alone. We’re not strong and resilient because we don’t reach out and ask for help, we’re strong and resilient because we do. We know what it takes to go from place to place and we therefore must choose to connect with people who’ll be there when we need them. Connecting during the uncertain, in-between times can be especially meaningful because allowing ourselves to be vulnerable builds stronger, deeper relationships.

4. Remember your non-negotiables.

What are the habits you most need to maintain balance during your normal routine? We all have at least a few things that we know help us feel more like ourselves – exercise, a phone call to a friend, plenty of sleep, a quiet cup of coffee in the morning. The same habits are even more important when you’re between homes. Make a plan for how to keep these habits in your schedule even when your schedule is a bit up in the air. Start to think of these things like food and water. Prioritizing self-care for even a few minutes each day can help you come out on the other side of a move feeling like yourself.

5. Practice being comfortable with not knowing.

I know what you’re thinking – “Ugh! I hate not knowing!” Me too. I get it. But, here’s the thing -- no matter how much we Google, control, and manipulate, a lot of unpredictability will still be there. We can’t predict every single outcome. Just like confronting our emotions head-on, we can deal with not knowing, by admitting it’s there and practicing becoming more comfortable in that space. Do this by noticing how you feel emotionally and physically with uncertainty. Pay attention to the things you do (Googling? Over planning?) when you’re worried about the uncertainty of what’s ahead. Examine whether those things help or hinder your sense of dread. When we learn to cultivate comfort with ambiguity, we’re much more open to seeing things as they are and thus more likely to make adjustments that fit our life as it is.

What other strategies would you add to this list? Find more ideas here.

During the month of May, InDependent is running a free fundraiser. All it requires is less than 2 minutes of your time to sigh up/sign in and leave a PCSgrades review of a housing neighborhood, moving company, apartment complex, etc. using our referral link here. Please help support InDependent and our programs by leaving one or more reviews!

Meet Jodi Harris

Jodi Harris is a mother of three, wife of a U.S. diplomat, certified coach (ACC), Personal Leadership facilitator, mindfulness teacher, and writer. She has over 15 years of experience working with individuals outside of their home cultures, and prior to moving overseas, she practiced as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She is originally from Austin, Texas and has lived in Spain, Northern Ireland, Japan (twice), the Dominican Republic, and Madagascar. Through her coaching practice, World Tree Coaching, LLC, she works with diverse clients all over the world through one-on-one coaching, group coaching, and facilitation. She specializes in reminding the globally mobile community how capable and amazing they really are and supports people in finding a sense of home no matter where they go. 

Connect with Jodi

Website | Facebook | Instagram

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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.
“I felt my healthiest physically after having our daughter. The transformation of growing her, birthing her, and then returning to my former shape made me see how miraculous my body is. I had to work extremely hard to shed the baby weight, but I did it patiently and with new vigor.”
— Lindsay Swoboda

Click on Image for Facebook Live Video

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY AS A MILITARY SPOUSE?

I boarded my first plane at age eighteen to see my now husband graduate from USMC boot camp! My spouse and I are high school sweethearts, but when he joined the Marines and I went off to college, we took a two year break from each other. I was not sure I was prepared to be a military spouse. I wanted to pursue my own dreams and did not think that I could do that in the military lifestyle. Boy was I wrong! However, we both feel thankful we had that time to grow up and experience life without each other, because after those two years we chose one another again- this time for good. We were married a year later and are coming up on our 10th wedding anniversary this December 2018.

Are you a health or wellness expert?

While I am not a wellness expert, my interest in health and wellness has re-shaped how I live. I was once a professional dancer, and unfortunately during that time I was never at my healthiest. I was riddled with insecurity and battled an eating disorder. I did not know how to exercise properly or nourish my body. After marrying my husband, he encouraged me to explore teaching dance and group fitness. In becoming a group fitness instructor, I started to understand how my body truly worked, and found freedom in taking care of it the right way. I am now more gentle and kind with myself, and encourage each mother and military spouse I meet along the way to be as well.

What is a low moment when your health suffered the most and how did you overcome it?

My lowest moment as a military spouse took me completely by surprise. We moved overseas to Africa in 2017 and in the first three months of our adjustment I struggled. This surprised me because I am not new to being overseas or in uncomfortable situations: my dance career had me living and traveling all over the world. As a family, we have been stationed in both Seoul, S. Korea and in Hawaii- which is indeed paradise but can be extremely isolating too. I thought that the move to Africa would be easy because of my past experiences, but the initial culture shock and living away from the military community took me to a dark place. I felt a lot of guilt and shame during that time because I was not handling it well. My husband and I function as our own unit- and I was the team member dropping my pack.

I ended up seeking a counselor that helped me work through my anxieties, and little by little found the way back to myself. It has been a chapter that forced me to get curious about resiliency, have patience with myself, and extend grace and kindness to others that find themselves in a challenging time.

Share with us a high moment during your wellness journey!

I felt my healthiest physically after having our daughter. The transformation of growing her, birthing her, and then returning to my former shape made me see how miraculous my body is. I had to work extremely hard to shed the baby weight, but I did it patiently and with new vigor. Her eyes continue to be on my every move- so teaching her the right way to take care of her body by exercising and making good choices with food (which definitely means indulging sometimes too!) is empowering.


I am currently at my healthiest mentally. After adjusting to Africa's mental-take-down, I am proud to be on the other side of this mountain. I now know that asking for help when I hit a mental road block is strength, not weakness. The signs that I am going down a disruptive path mentally are more prevalent and I am more vigilant and knowledgeable with my self-care.

How do you avoid burnout?

I do not try to avoid burnout anymore, but rather embrace the oncoming symptoms of burnout as a time to by hyper-aware. I’m working to walk with anxiety as a friend, and see it as a time to slow down. For me, this means asking for help, getting more sleep, and carving out space to do something I enjoy.

What is one personal habit that contributes to your success?

My secret weapon is words on paper. I journal consistently- and this does not mean sitting down every day and spilling my guts. Some days are just about writing down an uplifting quote or scripture. Other days I scribble away pages so that I can sort out the truth of my thoughts and find the light. Either way, a notepad is always somewhere nearby in my house- and putting pen to paper helps me process.

“Wellness is living a whole-hearted, nourished life which allows and encourages change and growth through different seasons.”
— Lindsay WHAT IS A HEALTH AND WELLNESS RESOURCE YOU WOULD SHARE WITH THE COMMUNITY?

The InDependent team recommends downloading the FREE Lifegiver App to listen to monthly podcast and interviews to encourage your marriage, access free marriage resources, and Lifegiver groups.

I am a huge fan of Corie Weathers LifeGiver Podcast. Corie has changed my life with her vulnerability and honesty. All of her episodes seek to shed truth and encouragement on this military life. She creates a safe place to listen and hash out tough topics- I have benefitted so much from LifeGiver and I always recommend it to fellow spouses!

IF YOU COULD RECOMMEND ONE BOOK TO MILITARY SPOUSES, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

The book I recommend is Rising Strong by Brene Brown. I have applied the techniques from this book over and over again in my life. As a military spouse I can relate to being knocked down in the arena of life- starting over and over again…and learning to get up, dust off- and keep going.

Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead By Brené Brown

(Purchases using the links above will help InDependent cover administrative costs for our programs at no extra cost to you!)

ABOUT Lindsay Swoboda

Lindsay is a military spouse, mom, and writer. Her blog Uplifting Anchor encourages mothers and military spouses. As a former professional dancer, you can find her doing pirouettes in the kitchen and leaping after her daughter. Lindsay also believes in curating a creative lifestyle and digging to uncover the positive in tough chapters. She finds solace in hearing the sound of her sewing machine and a hot cup of coffee. She’s lived and traveled all over the world but believes there is always more to experience.  

CONNECT WITH Lindsay

Facebook: Uplifting Anchor | Website: Uplifting Anchor  | Instagram: @upliftinganchor | Pinterest: Uplifting Anchor |  

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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 Brittany’s feature.
“ I think prioritizing and setting your goals is hugely important. Every morning I wake up and set my top three priorities for the day, if nothing else gets done it needs to be those three things.”
— Brittany Davidson

Click on Image for Facebook Live Video

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY AS A MILITARY SPOUSE?

Before I met my green beret, I didn’t know anything about the military. I just hadn’t been directly exposed to it before. I even remember my mom trying to talk me out of going on a date with him because he was in the Army, which we still laugh about now! We’ve now been through a nerve wracking deployment, long distance, moving cross country, and several job position changes. Now those tan shirts and combat boots are just part of my everyday life.

What is a low moment when your health suffered the most?

The military life has actually been really good to me. I enjoy the transient lifestyle and am already excited for our next PCS (minus leaving our good friends behind of course.) I think the toughest part we’ve been through is when we PCSed to DC from Kansas. My whole immediate family is in Kansas and with a baby I wasn’t quite ready for the move and to not have my parents right down the street. We knew Jason would deploy almost immediately after relocating so we made the decision for my daughter and I to stay behind until he got back. That was hard having to say goodbye at an airport and know I wouldn’t get to hug him again before he deployed. We ended up doing long-distance for a little over a year (which was longer than planned) but we made the most of it and certainly wracked up those frequent flyer miles flying back and forth each month!

How did you overcome it?

I sent him themed care packages for every month so he knew we were thinking of him. He made the sweetest little video for our daughter to watch while he was deployed. She used to watch it and sign “more, more”! For the long distance aspect, it was really focusing on strong communication because it’s difficult when your significant other isn’t right there by your side. He’s going to be embarrassed for me sharing this, but we used to Skype and fall asleep together with it on every night. It really helped us feel connected and in tune with one another. I don’t think we would do long distance again, but it was definitely the right decision for our family at that time.

Share with us a high moment during your wellness journey!

I would say I’m at my absolute healthiest now. I have been working for myself full-time again for almost a year so I am getting my own sense of personal fulfillment while still supporting my family and having a flexible schedule for my daughter. Jason and I make a really good team and he tends to make sure I’m taking care of myself, which I didn’t always do or make time for. I really work at having a solid work-life balance every week now and actually make self care a priority which I think is so important and often gets overlooked by stressed out moms and wives!

How do you avoid burnout?

I do regular check-ins with myself and if something is overwhelming me I figure out where I can outsource, automate or reassess it all together. It really helps to make small adjustments as you go and progressively get better and more fine tuned, rather than letting things get to the point of no return and a possible burn out.

“My personal definition of wellness would be: Achieving the state of being Simply Happy.”
— Brittany What is one personal habit that contributes to your success?

I think prioritizing and setting your goals  is hugely important. Every morning I wake up and set my top three priorities for the day. If nothing else gets done it needs to at least be those three things. It gives me the focus I need, but it also allows me grace when maybe I’m not accomplishing the other things that didn’t make the list. I think it’s so easy to get overwhelmed with all the to-do’s. But if we just break it down and approach it in little steps it suddenly becomes a lot more manageable and a heck of a lot less stressful.

WHAT IS A HEALTH AND WELLNESS RESOURCE YOU WOULD SHARE WITH THE COMMUNITY?

I use the app Clue. It tracks all your fun womanly things. It helps to know when I might need a little more self care or why I might be feeling a little extra sluggish. I have found it really keeps you in tune with your body and your needs as a woman.

IF YOU COULD RECOMMEND ONE podcast TO MILITARY SPOUSES, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

I would recommend Goal Digger the podcast. I like to listen to it when I’m working out for uplifting discussion and inspiring business tips. I think it’s important to have your own personal and/or professional goals outside of supporting your military family to feel fulfilled.

(Purchases using the links above will help InDependent cover administrative costs for our programs at no extra cost to you!)

ABOUT Brittany Davidson

Brittany has a three year old daughter, her special forces stud, a standard poodle named London and is an Army family! She is currently out of Washington DC and runs a clothing line, Chocolate Soup, out of our apartment. She started her second company, Simply Happy Life in November, which was her way of helping other women entrepreneurs and small business owners find their ‘simply happy’ through consulting and coaching. 

CONNECT WITH Brittany

Facebook: Brittany May | Website: Simply Happy Life | Instagram: @simplyhappybrittany | Twitter: @simplyhappybrit | Email: brittany@simplyhappylife.com

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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 Moni’s feature.
“Each season in life is different, the best thing to do is really love who you are, embrace where you are, and give yourself grace about where you want to be. ”
— Moni Jefferson

Click on Image for Facebook Live Video

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY AS A MILITARY SPOUSE?

Growing up as a military kid I feel like I have been living this amazing life forever! Although being a military kid and a military spouse are two way different things.  As a spouse I learned to navigate and make the best out of situations no matter what. I truly love this military life. The experiences, the people, and the places are priceless and irreplaceable. This life has made me resilient, empathetic, and open-hearted to those that are not like me.

What is a low moment when your health suffered the most?

When I realized that I had no individual self identity. My husband was deployed for a year and I suddenly found myself with a lot of alone time and unanswered questions about myself, my life, and my future. I realized this in the midst of an  adventurous journey of supporting my husband and watching his military career propel. My own journey had lacked the attention it needed to cultivate self identity, self worth and most importantly a career of my very own, which affected my well being.

How did you overcome it?

I realized that I had so much to offer, that I had endless options, and that I did not have to be confined to only being a military spouse. That although my life is more complex and unique than others I could do it all!  So, I began reading, researching and exploring ways in which I could get involved in the things that fueled me and that I was passionate about. This led me to create a career of my dreams while still supporting my family, and spouse. My official entrepreneur journey began in 2013, as a freelance writer. I then started a blog, Dog Tags And Heels, and that journey has now evolved into multiple business! I have never looked back. 

Share with us a high moment during your wellness journey!

I will say that right now in this very moment I am feeling extreme gratitude and fulfillment. Since my blog, I have created a virtual public relations and social media visibility agency ( Dog Tags + Heels LLC), I became an accidental app creator of two military life apps MilCam and MilEmoji, and founded a thriving community for military spouse entrepreneurs like me! I am emotionally, physically and spiritually more in tune with myself identity than ever before.

How do you avoid burnout?

To avoid burnout make sure to take time to exercise. I love spin! The bike always intimidates people, but spin is the best workout and without hurting any joints. I have a spin bike at home! Going to spin is like a big party, with the lights out, blaring music and that hill climb is the most empowering feeling ever!!

 
“I realized that I had so much to offer and that I had endless options. And that I did not have to be confined to only being a military spouse. That although my life is more complex and unique than others I could do it ALL! ”
— Moni What is one personal habit that contributes to your success?

Family Structure! I will say that my family and the structure we have created allow me to do all the things in a way that is not only guilt free but encouraging and supportive. Lots of things changed when I decided to work from home. So, to keep it all organized and communicate, we have a family meeting every week and sync everyone's phone calendar. Our family meetings encourage us to talk about any stressors of our week and up and coming events that the family will have to prepare in advance. Every member of our home has chores and daily responsibilities in the household. A regular bedtime routine is key so everyone gets rest and the hubby and I get quite time to reconnect. Every family member contributes to my success. I am truly blessed!

WHAT IS A HEALTH AND WELLNESS RESOURCE YOU WOULD SHARE WITH THE COMMUNITY?

Right now I am relying on Simple Habit- Meditation because I have a hard time shutting off so this helps with reminders to meditate and get centered between being a mom, wife, friend, and entrepreneur.

IF YOU COULD RECOMMEND ONE podcast TO MILITARY SPOUSES, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

Right now I’m a biz podcast addict! I am enjoying Wit + Wisdom. That podcast is a gem of a find and those ladies are smart and funny!

(Purchases using the links above will help InDependent cover administrative costs for our programs at no extra cost to you!)

ABOUT Moni Jefferson

Moni is a public relations professional, accidental app creator, and proud military spouse. The owner of Dog Tags and Heels LLC, a virtual PR and Social Media Visibility Agency, the proud founder of The MilSpouse Creative, an online community for MilSpouse entrepreneurs and creator of the MilCam App + MilEmoji App, both the first and only military lifestyle apps. She is a proud Air Force spouse who is 20 years married to her best friend Roy & has 3 brilliant children that keep her on her toes! 

CONNECT WITH Moni

Facebook: Moni Jefferson PR | Website: Moni Jefferson PR | Instagram: @monijeffersonpr | Twitter: @MoniJeffersonPR

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