For Stacy Johnson, executive director at La Paz Chattanooga, health and wellness have been an evolution. A member of an active family, Johnson is using this new season of life to build on her physical fitness regimen and focus more on her emotional and mental health. Whether it’s cultivating a support network, delegating tasks at work, opening up to her running group, or simply utilizing all of her vacation days, Johnson is constantly looking for ways she can show up as a better wife, mother, friend, coworker, and member of the community. By knowing her limits and honoring them – with both herself and others – Johnson is learning what it’s like to live a truly authentic life.
What is your approach to wellness? How has that changed over time?
Like with most things I do, I learn as I go. It has taken me some time to put all the pieces together and learn that it all matters – physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
What are your favorite ways to practice self-care?
Many years ago I joined a group of girls to run. We named ourselves “RunNChatt.” We have continued to run (and chat a lot!), and we also support each other in all things! I try to practice intentional gratitude and spend time outside. I move my body. I read and learn. Meditation is amazing and super helpful. I’m currently not there, but I know it’s a great way to take care of myself.
What are some of your current goals, and what are you doing to work toward them?
I’ve set a personal goal to spend more quality time with my family and friends and truly capture the joy that comes with being a wife, mom, friend, and family member.
When it comes to health and wellness, is there anyone you admire or look up to? Why?
I would have to say my sisters-in-law have and continue to inspire me. They’ve always made their health and wellness a priority. I think the biggest thing they’ve shown me is consistency. Putting in the work, a little at a time over time always works! Also, several of my coworkers have modeled and pushed me to create boundaries and take time for myself.
How do you approach emotional well-being?
After a rough couple of years, I learned to find (and seek out) my support crew, which has been not only my friends and family but also colleagues and coaches. I am part of a small group of fundraisers. We meet consistently to learn new methods and strategies and also to check in with (and pray for) each other. I’m also honored to join four nonprofit executive directors each month to talk through our challenges and celebrate our wins. This work can be hard and lonely. It has been such a gift to have a group to share all the good, the bad, and the ugly with. And, last but definitely not least, the Johnson4. I lean on my little family of four for hugs, friendly competition, car stories, and laughing fits. They are my everything and a reason to be my very best (and healthiest) self!
What do you find the most rewarding?
It’s so much fun to watch my kids play and compete. I enjoy seeing them do what they love, be part of a team, and interact with friends. My favorite part of being a mom is seeing my boys be each other’s biggest cheerleader. It’s also really rewarding to witness my team at work grow – not in numbers but in character. It’s great seeing someone grow into their true and authentic self, recognize their gifts, and lean into them.
How do you encourage health and wellness within your family?
We’ve always been an active family. My kids have grown up cheering on their dad in the Ironman, going on hikes and bike rides, and participating in sports. We are also conscious of our food choices and do our best to eat well. I would say, just like me, my family’s health and wellness is a work in progress. We try to encourage our kids to speak up when things are too much. Kids are under so much pressure these days, and we want ours to know they have a voice – especially when it comes to their own health and wellness. They know best, and we, as parents, just need to make sure we are listening.