By Marguerite Cleveland
Life as a Military Spouse can be extremely stressful and with deployments you are often carrying the load on your own. Often times you find yourself at the bottom of the list of things to do. For me the hardest time was when I had young children who weren’t speaking yet. It was isolating and exhausting. It is important to take care of yourself because you are the glue that holds everything together.
Here are a few tips I found that helped me out over the years.
- Find some childcare and take some time for yourself each week. That maybe just taking a shower or going to coffee with a friend. If you are on a tight budget, arrange with a friend and each take a morning where you babysit the others children. It’s a win if the kids are close in age as they will play together all morning. During deployments many installations offer a certain number of free hours of child care. Also check out Mom’s Morning Out at local churches or the YMCA. These can be free or low cost. Some are a co-op where you volunteer and get hours in return.
- Take time to savor a special treat when the kids are napping or go to sleep for the night. Maybe a nice glass of wine or a perfect chocolate bonbon.
- Set a goal. My sister talked me into doing a triathlon and I then talked a few of my friends into it. I downloaded a training plan and made a point to allow time for it. It was such a great stress reliever and the bonus of getting into shape.
- If you have small children, plan play dates. An hour or two at a playground with other Moms can be a nice break in routine. It also tires the little ones out so you will have bonus nap time giving you an additional break.
- Quit saving stuff for a special occasion and use it now. Enjoy a luxurious bath with products you got at Christmas. Get out one of the good plates and serve your meal on it. Using your special things will make you feel special.
- Watch a sad movie. I don’t know what it is but I feel so much better after a good cry. I can remember watching the movie “The Notebook” when my husband was deployed and having a complete total breakdown just sobbing my eyes out. I was exhausted but all that built up tension and stress was just gone
- If your budget allows, a massage, facial, or get your hair done. If you live in more of a resort town some of the spas have nice upscale facilities with saunas, hot tubs and pools. Getting a treatment done will allow you use of the facilities.
- Aromatherapy. I personally do not use essential oils but many Military Spouses I know swear by their use. These essential oils, lavender, sandalwood, bergamot, rose, chamomile, are used to relieve stress, calm nerves, relaxation, reducing anxiety and improving mood. You either rub on your skin or smell the oil to achieve the effects.
It is important to take the time to care of yourself. So many people really count on us and taking a few minutes each day for yourself helps to keep you going. What is your favorite way to relieve stress?
Marguerite Cleveland is a freelance writer who specializes in human interest and travel stories. She is a military brat, a veteran and now a military spouse. Her military experience is vast as the daughter of a Navy man who served as an enlisted sailor and then Naval Officer. She served as an enlisted soldier in the reserves and on active duty, then as an Army Officer. She currently serves as a military spouse. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons. Visit her website www.WanderWordsWine.com