We have all faced various stressors in our busy lives. It comes from many facets and from every direction. This is especially true for our military families who face changes and challenges at a rapid pace.
Note: Please keep in mind due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) some social activities that are mentioned in this article to help reduce stress may not be an option. Alternative physical distancing options may include virtual, phone, email or texting activities.
I can tell you that I have seen firsthand how our military spouses have been resilient time and time again. As a military spouse myself, I had to learn the importance of stress management.
I am still building on my resiliency. To me, it is a life long journey. What I have learned over the years is that stress management is crucial to avoid serious health problems. Some stress can be good and motivating; however, a lot of chronic stress can be serious. Key aspects to stress management include how to listen to what your body is telling you and how to adapt to those messages in stressful situations. This will work effectively in tandem with learning how to develop both a healthy mind and body.
In my younger years, I didn’t really pay attention to my stress triggers. I didn’t make time. It was my routine to internalize and deal with it later. I had to find out the hard way to listen to my body and take my first step.
I learned the first step was to identify the things in my life that caused my stress. I did this by asking myself a few questions:
So now that I identified all the things in my life, how do I deal with them? Much of what I learned throughout my life was based on coping and dealing with the day to day challenges that each of us face. I realized that I wasn’t on this journey by myself. As a military spouse, I had an incredible resource: my military family. Many of my “Battle Buddies” were dealing with the same challenges that caused stress within my life.
While we were stationed at Fort Carson, I had the opportunity to attend “Master Resilience Training” with a few of my fellow Army spouses. Here I learned skills about building mental toughness, character strengths, and strong relationships to include the understanding of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. My favorite takeaway from the course was “Hunt the Good Stuff”: writing down three positive experiences from each day and reflecting on them. Another thing I remember about the course was the experiences each of the other students shared. Listening to them talk about the things that caused them stress and how they coped was an invaluable experience.
Ultimately, it is important to keep in mind that you can – and should – reach out to your “Battle Buddies.” We are all one big military family who live through similar experiences with similar lifestyles. Your “Battle Buddies” will be able to relate to you in ways most others can’t and thus can provide invaluable advice and guidance.
Here are a few things I personally learned along the way from some experienced Army spouses I have had the privilege of knowing throughout the years:
To me, the importance of stress management is learning how to be in tune with yourself and how to build and enhance resiliency. It is a continuous process. Remember that we all experience stress and that you are not alone on this journey. If you are having trouble managing your stress, take that first step - reach out and ask for help.