Holistic wellness has been on my mind A LOT lately. Maybe it’s the fact that we’re trying to put together the Soul Ambition YouTube channel. Or maybe it’s that I’ve been writing that chapter of my upcoming book. Or, it could quite possibly be the fact that we’re still in isolation from the COVID-19 pandemic, and we’re doing everything we can to stay fit and healthy in all aspects of our being. Nevertheless, over the last year, Jamie and I have had to stare the seriousness of this issue square in the face. Besides fortifying our marriage through parenting in a tough situation, holistic wellness tops the list of important ingredients we have to focus on daily if we want to thrive.
I have to be honest. It has been hard to explain to our typically-structured family friends why we feel it’s so important. When we tell people we are starting a health and wellness program for parents like us, we get some blank stares. I guess I don’t blame them. I’m not walking around with my shirt off with 5% body fat doing Instagram live videos. We’re not peddling supplements or swearing by some diet or nutrition plan. We’re not certified personal trainers. I have grey hair for goodness sake. And quite frankly, without a formal education in the science of it all, what gives us the right to think we have the chops to enter the fitness scene in any capacity?
But that’s the problem. Everything I just said has to do with physical fitness. When you think of health and wellness, what do you think of? Exercise and nutrition, right? Right. That’s what I think of too. But it’s only one facet of holistic wellness. And quite frankly, as a special needs parent, physical health often gets overshadowed by the challenges of mental and spiritual health. So when I tell people we’re starting a health and wellness program, I feel like I have to shore my explanation up with how important the mental and spiritual components are to us special needs parents. I have to remind people that it’s not a workout channel, rather, a channel born out of the painful process I’ve personally gone through tackling depression and lethargy by focusing on what’s happening spiritually, mentally, AND physically.
As a special needs parent, I can say that mental health is the aspect of my wellness that breaks down the fastest. If you’ve been following posts like The Chains That Bind and The Fog, you’re probably not surprised. So our heart behind starting a wellness program for other parents finds its foundation in the mental side of things.
As I’ve mentioned before, when our mental health is failing, we find ourselves stuck in a deep, dark rut, sometimes unable to see our way out. Our spiritual and physical aspects begin to crumble along with the mental. Despair and depression kick in, reducing us to what feels like nothing. We become ineffective as a partner or a parent.
One would think that taking mental steps to fix the mental health is the first step. But I’ve found this to be extremely difficult. When you’re stuck in your rut and can’t see out, it seems impossible to think your way out of it. So what do we do? The simplest answer for me is actually not all that difficult to perform. It’s simply getting out and getting some exercise.
Exercise improves blood flow to the brain. Aerobic exercise (runner’s high) acts as an natural antidepressant by improving cell growth in the hippocampus, which is responsible for the learning and memory functions of the brain. This article from Harvard Medical School explains this concept better than I can.
So rather than trying to think your way out of mental fatigue and unrest, which seems impossible, the act of getting out and getting moving is actually our first line of defense. And if you think about it, it’s actually the easiest way. Get up, tie your shoes, and get moving. It’s the first step, and fastest way to holistic wellness. It allows your brain to start thinking in way that’s more healthy and takes the spiritual blinders off giving you freedom to allow God to complete the work He wants to do in your heart.
This is Soul Ambition’s mission in a nutshell. We’re not a workout program, a spiritual enlightenment group, a yoga studio, or a brain teaser challenge. We’re just parents of an autistic child who have been deeply affected by our own health and wellness through it all. We’ve experienced extreme lows, rendering us useless as spouses and parents. We don’t want other parents like us to experience those same things. Our goal is simple. Compile all the aforementioned items into one, easy to follow encouragement program to be the best partners and parents we can be. If we want the best for our kids, it starts with us. We’re just real-world parents encouraging other real-world parents into a healthy life so we can thrive as families.
Thanks for taking the time to follow us. If you know a parent in our shoes, you may not fully understand their struggle. I hope this helps you see the picture more clearly. And we would love it if you shared our journey with whomever you know needs to hear it. This labor of love takes a lot of energy, so helping us cast our net as wide as possible is really appreciated. And don’t forget to subscribe to the YouTube channel!
Ok, let’s get out and get moving!! Have a great day!