From waiting on orders and frequent moves to deployments, military spouses face unique struggles and challenges that can lead to stress. Unsurprisingly, a recent survey revealed that military spouses experience high levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and unemployment. If you are a military spouse, learning ways to manage the stress that inevitably comes with the lifestyle can help you adapt and make the most of the journey. Here are three tips to help you cope:
- Be flexible
The saying “Change is the only constant in life” is especially true when you’re in the military. It can be hard to maintain a sense of control when the military often makes choices for you.Military spouses know all too well the frustrations that can come with a permanent change of station (PCS) or deployment. Being flexible and accepting that plans will likely change can help mitigate stress. Do what you can to be prepared and maintain a routine but let go of expectations. It’s always helpful to stay positive and hope for the best but plan for all possible scenarios.
- Make connections
When you move often, starting over and making new friends can feel daunting and overwhelming. Consider joining a Facebook group for military spouses to connect with others who understand your struggles. These groups can be a great resource to swap support and advice. Volunteer or look for organizations that help you feel connected to your community and provide a sense of belonging. It’s important to establish a solid support system that you can rely on and turn to in times of need.
- Practice self-care
You can’t be a source of support for your family if your own physical and emotional needs are being neglected.Find an exercise routine or hobby to help you unwind. Making the time to practice self-care can be especially challenging for military spouses holding down the home front during a deployment, so start small. Try setting aside 15 minutes at the end of the day to read, practice yoga, or simply relax in a hot bath. Determine which self-care technique works best for you and make it a priority in your daily routine.
Being a military spouse is a tough job and stress is a normal part of the role. However, if the stress becomes too overwhelming or leads to other mental health issues, don’t be afraid to enlist professional help. Take advantage of the many valuable resources the military offers for spouses. Finding methods to help manage the stress can empower spouses to successfully navigate and enjoy the experience.
Jenna Curnes is a health care marketing consultant who lives in Corpus Christi, TX. She has a M.S. in Health Communication from Boston University and a B.S. in Health Care Management from Appalachian State University. She has more than 7 years of experience working within the health care marketing industry. For more information, please contact Jenna at firstname.lastname@example.org.