The Mind-Body-Spirit Connection: A Shift in Focus
I’ve always thought moms of girls had it so much easier. I have a daughter, sure, but I also have two sons who ran before they learned to walk. I spent my firstborn’s toddler years chasing him through restaurants, birthday parties, friends’ houses and local parks. Boymoms know where all the fenced parks are located. Not that he was getting into mischief, he just liked to run. I was so envious of my friends who had only girls, and were able to sit down and have a whole conversation at a party while their daughter sat at a table and colored for forty-five minutes without a peep. I used to secretly wish my friends with girls would have a boy just so they could experience the whirlwind of my reality. Of course, this is a ridiculous grass-is-greener thought, but perhaps what I really wanted was validation and a break.
The Healing Power of Time
Three years have passed since Clint’s Afghanistan deployment, when I learned all sorts of fun lessons like asking for help and combating anxiety. And now COVID-19 has taken the world by storm and our lives are once again filled with uncertainty. So many of those same familiar fear-driven, isolating tendencies from the deployment have crept in, as the days started running together with no end in sight. When Clint was deployed and I was at my lowest, I silently wished for others to understood how I felt. I hadn’t wanted to bother anyone with my troubles, which exacerbated the loneliness. The world around me bustled along while my life was standing still. I didn’t know how I was going to make it to lunch, let alone October. I thought I would be comforted if other families around me had to share that experience. In that same twisted way, I secretly wanted to pull others down. You know, the whole misery loves company thing.
But with COVID-19, the whole world is in the same predicament. Loneliness has been a hot topic on my blog for the past two years as it pertains to the military community and now the world is collectively feeling that same ache. Many are scrambling and complaining because the government has ruined their plans, something historically reserved for military spouses. Suddenly, a bunch of my college friends suggested we have a weekly happy hour Zoom call since our schedules had finally freed up. Chatting and laughing weekly with my friends from Guam, Washington, Iowa, and California, I could physically feel my heart rate drop and shoulders loosen.
It isn’t just the military spouses feeling lonely anymore, it’s everybody.
One Day at a Time
Part of what got me out of the funk of 2017 was knowing that life was going on around me, and knowing I had the power to jump in and join when I was ready. I slowly started to say yes to invitations, ask for help and start living again. With COVID-19, our whole community has been in a standstill. So that’s not going to work this time. Not a whole lot to jump back into. I wake up in the morning with that familiar sense of dread. And it’s made me surprisingly sad. During the deployment, I weirdly hoped for others to feel as disconnected and isolated as me, fishing for some empathy perhaps. But grieving together has just made for more sad and scared people. It turns out that everyone being isolated hasn’t made me feel any better at all. And so, with the future filled with uncertainty, I find myself returning to those tried-and-true practices that helped me during Clint’s deployment.
- Getting dressed. So obvious and yet so hard to remember when staying home all day.
- Looking for small moments of joy during the day; God’s mercies really are new every morning.
- Moving my body. Exercise gives you those feel-good hormones everyone is looking for. Bye bye, stress!
- Fresh air and sunshine. Non-negotiable. Even in my postage stamp backyard. More on circadian rhythms later…
- Eating foods to fuel my body, incorporating lots of colorful vegetables and fruits and family dinners.
- Sleeping at least 7 hours/night, protecting bedtime as a key health habit.
- Playing with my kids (so many card games), connecting with friends/family over the phone.
- Designating a purpose for the day, like making cinnamon rolls or organizing a closet.
Pivot to Health and Wellness
Just like 9/11, everyone has their own COVID-19 story, what changed for you in an instant. For me, it was another reminder that we can run from trouble, but it will find us. Control of our lives is an illusion and we are not guaranteed the future.
I started this blog as a way to serve the military community and connect with others who might be feeling isolated, and after a break, it’s time for a transition.
Since it is now universal to wake up to an uncertain future, and for feelings of fear and isolation to creep in, what are we all going to do? As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who has lived through personal health struggles, I am convinced that our physical, mental and spiritual health are interconnected.
I have to work everyday to fight complacency, anxiety, and physical manifestations of stress. I literally have to work to relax. Weird, I know, but some people are wired that way. Instead of taking my word for it, and for those who love science like me, I’ll be shifting my focus to health and wellness nuggets here. From stress to hormones to immune health to environmental toxins to organic vs conventional food, I’m excited to bring my professional knowledge to the blog!
And foundational to health is staying connected to Jesus. John 15:5 tells us, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Because what is broccoli and defined ab muscles without a connection to the true source of life.
In 16 years experience as a dietitian, I’ve worked in public health, private practice, the non-profit sector, schools, and at a posh health spa. I’ve also served in various ministry positions and witnessed some dangerous approaches to women’s health. What I have found is most people just want to know how to sift through the gobs of health information available and learn how to make positive changes in their actual, real lives. This isn’t about being restrictive, but learning how to add goodness to your life everyday. My aim is to provide you with science-based information and practical wellness tips to serve you in whichever season of life you find yourself.
Because health is so much more than what you eat. And that’s coming from a dietitian.
Thank you for staying with me and journeying together!