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Welcome to our blog! We are a husband & wife photography team based in Madison, Wisconsin who document weddings & anniversaries for joyful couples who believe in marriage. This blog is a journal about real love stories, marriage & our own adventures along the way! We are so glad you're here — please stay awhile!




Whole Being Health & Wellness | Part 2: The Mental (and Spiritual).

March 3, 2020

It could not be more fitting that I am writing this post today because gosh, I feel like I am really fighting for joy today! Three different experiences that happened to me this morning immediately brought up feelings of insecurity, fear, and stress. So … funny that I now sit on the couch in the second half of the day, presented with the opportunity to write this week’s blog post on mental & spiritual health and wellness!

Before I continue, I have to quickly refer back to last week’s post as we are right in the middle of a three part series I am calling “Whole Being Health & Wellness.” Last week I not only talked about the physical aspect of this three-sided coin (next week I will conclude with the financial side!) but I also prefaced last week’s post with the background on and WHY behind this mini series! So if you haven’t already, I would highly recommend checking out that post first! It will only take a minute : )

The mental and spiritual side of whole being health and wellness is, in my opinion, the most important. All three aspects (physical, mental/spiritual, financial) are closely intertwined but I do believe that mental is the foundation because from it we can make healthier choices in the physical and financial! The mental and spiritual side, however, is also where I can most often sense I need to pay more attention and keep showing up.

To live a life that is filled with joy, positivity, groundedness and mental well-being is hard work and requires you to keep showing up.

My Mental / Spiritual Whole Being Health & Wellness Mantras

  • Smile
  • Take deep breaths
  • Practice gratitude
  • Get Fresh Air
  • “Be where your feet are”
  • Meditate or pray daily
  • Audible or podcasts as resources
  • Intentionally process your stress (with a therapist, trusted / mature friend, or alone with a journal)

I think there’s science behind this one … something with smiling and endorphins … but I’m not totally sure. Whatever it is, I have personally found that smiling literally makes me feel better! Try it — whether you’re driving in the car, out on walk, or reading this post, smile and see if it makes you feel just a little bit happier : )

I probably take 25+ deep breaths a day; the kind where my lungs fill up and my chest expands outward. Caleb used to ask, “Is everything okay?” and now he just knows it’s something I do. For me, a deep breath = immediate sense of calm and a refocusing opportunity.

We all know this, but practicing gratitude is critical to our mental well-being! I personally think it’s because it gives us a renewed sense of perspective on our lives, challenges, and honestly, what really matters in the truly short time we have on earth. I love this line from Dale Carnegie’s book ‘Stop Worrying and Start Living.’ He says, “Your life is what your thoughts make it.” Am I focused on all that I have to be grateful for … or stuck in comparison and a mindset of scarcity / fear? Caleb and I will often ask one another to share out loud three things we’re grateful for. This could be a great daily practice in the morning or at night … or both!

This ties a bit into last week’s post, but getting fresh air in my lungs feels good physically AND mentally! Especially on days when it’s sunny, even if I only have 2-3 minutes, I will go outside and turn my face towards the sun to simply feel the warmth of the rays on my skin.

“Be where your feet are” is one of my LIFE mantras. If I am focusing on literally being where my feet are — in the moment / place I am in — I cannot dwell on the past or worry about the future. Instead, I get to be present and enjoy what I’m doing! Our brains are wired to do one thing at a time, so do that one thing or be with that person and notice when your brain wanders. It’s okay that it wonders, just refocus it back to where you are. Our brains are moldable and we can rewire them to think differently than they always have — isn’t that amazing?! But it takes work : ) For me, it feels possible to focus on “being where my feet are” so that is the work I will show up and do!

Meditating or praying daily is a very important part of my routine. This type of practice will look different for everyone so I cannot recommend enough finding what works for you! For me, right now in this season, I can dedicate 5-10 minutes in the morning to intentional quite time and then throughout the rest of the day, I find myself praying whenever I need to as I’m doing whatever I’m doing! Doesn’t have to be complicated : )

I love listening to podcasts or audible books about positive topics! It’s a good change up from music when I’m editing, cleaning, out for a walk, or driving in the car! I learn SO MUCH via these two resources. On audible, I rotate through a little cycle of topics — foster care, faith, and business! For my fiction / for-pleasure-reading books, I like to actually read the book! Anyway, then for podcasts, I like to have a few go-to’s that I can quickly listen to an episode depending on what I’m curious about that day. Some of my favorites are: For the Love, The Forgotten Podcast, and HERself. I also have a list in my phone of episodes sent from or recommended by friends that I know I want to listen to at some point! I do this for books, too. If I don’t have to spend time searching and figuring out what to read / listen to next, I personally have a much more enjoyable experience.

It is sooooooooo important to intentionally process your stress!! Keeping things inside and to yourself (if you’re anything like me) leads to a downward spiraling cycle of some pretty negative thoughts. And many times, a lot of the thoughts / fears / worries / anxieties that come from keeping our stress inside aren’t even true or plausible! But our brains can go to really dark places, amen? We are not meant to go through life alone; I believe this with everything in me. In many season of my life — including the current one! — seeing some sort of therapist has been critical to helping me get out of my own head and take actual steps towards mental health and healing! When that isn’t possible, processing out loud with Caleb or a trusted friend is another GREAT option for me as these people often call out the lies I am believing and help me see what is actually true or what else is possible. If anything, I would say that at least getting the stressful thoughts out of your head and onto paper or into a Word doc on the computer is a really healthy practice!

I hope this was helpful and that some of my mantras resonated with you! As always, please leave any thoughts / questions/ comments below and I would love to have a conversation with you! The final part three of this series is coming next week!!!


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