Being a military spouse means juggling it all: home, children, family, and the uncertainty of what the future may hold. And when your partner is deployed, it means doing it all completely on your own. That task would be challenging for any mom, but especially one trying to deal with the emotions of having their partner subject to possible danger. While returning servicemen’s mental health and wellness are luckily being acknowledged and addressed, you hear little about the mental health issues that those struggling to hold down the fort may experience.
Military life is about strength, service, and duty. While all those things help provide us with a strong military force to protect the country, it may leave many spouses putting their mental health on the back burner so that they can focus on providing a strong front for their returning partners and their children. But good mental health is essential to get through the challenging day-to-day life as a military spouse. Read on to learn some tips that military spouses can use to improve and maintain good mental health and live a happy life.
Try to Get Organized
While being organized may seem like a silly way to control your mental health, you would be surprised at how much stress will be relieved when things go as planned. You have likely heard that routines can help children feel more secure and mentally healthy, but you may not realize that it can be good for parents as well.
When you get your children into a routine, it will help things run more smoothly, and they will eventually be able to do the things they need to on their own. No routine is perfect, so it is vital not to get down on yourself or feel like a failure if it goes astray. But if you can keep with a routine most of the time and stay organized, you will find yourself less stressed and, hopefully, have more time for the things you want to do.
Build a Support System
One of the most important things for military spouses is having a strong support system. While doing it on your own may seem like a strong or admirable thing to do, it can lead to burnout, stress, and a lack of enjoyment in life.
Reach out and build friendships with other military spouses. Sometimes there is a hesitancy to build friendships with other military families as deployments bring the constant possibility of being relocated, making you think building close relationships is a waste of time. However, that is not the case. Even if you end up relocating, your new friends will be just a phone call away and able to help you mentally and emotionally, even if they can’t physically.
Other military spouses make the perfect support system. Not only do they understand what you are going through, but you will be able to talk with them about hard topics. Plus, they may even be willing to offer a hand with the children so that you can get a little time to yourself. They understand what you’re dealing with, so lean on them when you need to!
Take Time to Focus on You
Worrying about the children, your spouse, and what they need is likely your top priority, but you still need to carve out that little bit of time for you to rest and recharge your mind. Sit down and lose yourself in a good book, consider engaging in a round of meditation, or simply perform a few breathing exercises when you can. You should also try to carve out a few hours each week to be by yourself and do something you enjoy.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Sometimes the hardest thing to do is admit that you are having problems with your mental health and seek out the help you need. Anxiety and depression are not uncommon among military spouses, so you are not the only one who may be experiencing these types of challenges, even if it may seem that way at first.
Start by talking with your doctor about how you are feeling and what is bothering you. They may offer to start you on medication or may be able to refer you to a counselor for therapy to help you work through your struggles. Some may even recommend a combination of both. Talking with a therapist is a great way to let your emotions out and find ways to cope with or work through your issues, so you can come out mentally stronger.
Don’t let problems with your mental health cause you to miss out on the enjoyment of life. As a military spouse, you will face challenges and struggles that few outside of that position can understand – and taking control of your mental health is one of the first steps in gaining better control of your life and happiness.
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