Photography by Taylor Alton, tayloraltonphoto.com
This article was originally published in the Spring issue of Living TC Magazine here.
Sitting down with Mrs. Washington 2017, Deidra Murphy and discussing possible goals for the upcoming spring regarding health and wellness, I realized that what I often prioritize in my spring cleaning effort may be tackling the clutter in and around my home but it fails too often to address the real “cobwebs” that are having a negative impact on my quality of life. Deidra’s kind manners and calmness radiated overall health – the kind that is earned. The message she has to share is unique, yet refreshingly relatable to many women.
Before being crowned Mrs. Washington 2017, Kennewick native Deidra Murphy struggled with her wellness. She had been employed as a school teacher and cheer coach, but insomnia and hormone imbalances, which led to a forty pound weight gain left her feeling lethargic and unable to keep up with her schedule. She decided to quit teaching and coaching and fill the role of office manager at her husband’s chiropractic clinic, but her health did not improve and the mounting stress left Deidra feeling apathetic about her life.
Insomnia turned into a nightly battle and brought on severe anxiety and real panic attacks. In addition, she had chronic bronchitis that seemed untreatable. Eventually, Deidra was so overwhelmed with an enormous sleep deficit that enjoying life was no longer possible for her. She lost her desire to interact with other people or even travel. She credits her faith-based upbringing for giving her the strength to recognize that it was up to her to change. She says, “I knew deep down I wanted to be alive and enjoy living again. I wanted to want to attend social events again.”
Deidra started to educate herself about health and wellness. She implemented small changes at first and those changes became habits. Over time, more changes were added and she decided to compete for Mrs. Washington 2017 to challenge herself physically and hopefully, inspire other women to reach toward their fitness goals. Deidra created a wellness platform based on her personal struggle with food intolerance, anxiety and insomnia and how she overcame them using a holistic healing approach.
Your Mind Needs Beauty Rest, Too
When your mind is full of beautiful thoughts, it will show on your face. Maybe that’s where the term “beauty sleep” comes from. Getting adequate sleep is so subjective. Not everyone will have to make drastic changes to their lifestyle to get more sleep. For some of us, it could just be a matter of not watching an extra hour of TV or turning our phones off earlier.
For Deidra, she really had to change careers to help her manage her anxiety in a way that would allow her to sleep. “I quit coaching. It was just too time consuming and stressful. I stepped out of the office. I learned to say ‘no’ when social opportunities came up that would conflict with my sleep schedule.” She designated 9 pm as the time when the TV is turned off, electronics are docked and she reads from a paper book to help her fall asleep. She says, “I noticed a real improvement in my well-being after two months of sticking to this sleep schedule.”
When she wakes up in the morning, she begins her day with gratitude. She says, “I come from a very faith-based upbringing. Beginning each day with gratitude and even recording what I’m thankful for in a journal starts my day off with positive thinking that can really shape my attitude throughout the day.”
Deidra knew that her body depended on her food choices to feel whole again so she incorporated a holistic approach in her diet and exercise routine. She cut out fast food and processed food and started meal planning and cooking at home. No matter what her day throws at her, she will have a healthful snack packed in her purse to fall back on when she’s on the go and would previously be tempted to stop at a fast food place.
“It’s about respecting my body and giving it what it needs to feel healthy,” she says. Her fridge is always well-stocked with fresh poultry, fish and vegetables. She incorporates healthy fats, lean protein and nutrient dense greens in every meal. Healthy fats from fish, avocados and coconut oil will help you feel satiated without putting on pounds; actually, they help your body metabolize your food and feed your brain. We often think of physical and mental health as separate entities, but what you feed your body directly relates to your mental well-being.
Deidra spends about an hour every morning exercising in her home gym. There are many benefits to a home gym; the biggest is the amount of time it saves. Rather than having to get ready for the gym, commute there and back, she can just step into her garage. Her home gym is simple: a treadmill, floor mat and some free weights. Moving your body for half an hour to an hour every day releases endorphins and helps you feel better. You can find workout videos by Deidra at thesynergychallenge.com, where you can also get a FREE copy of her eBook, Getting It Back.
Wherever you are right now is where you can choose to start to make those changes that will improve your mental and physical health. Deidra says, “It’s those two degree changes done consistently over time that create real results.” Her husband Dr. Chris Murphy, D.C. also wrote a book: The 5 Foundations of Remarkably Healthy People, which is a helpful resource for people wanting to educate themselves about how to live a healthier lifestyle.
Dress Your Truth
Deidra encourages women to “dress their truth,” meaning dress your actual age, body type and in a way that represents your true style. She loves to help women debunk erroneous “fashion rules,” and has a free file on her website that addresses some of these including how to style white after Labor Day and pair mismatched belts and shoes.
Style by Deidra, an independent fashion styling business strives to empower women to be happy in their clothing right now, as they are and use that confidence as a stepping stone to overall wellness. For more from Mrs. Washington 2017, check out her weekly podcasts on iTunes under the title, “Miss Style, Strength, and Grace” or on her website here at stylebydeidra.com/podcasts.