Personal military spouse stress support is hard to find. I wanted to provide a special section on this site for those who are married to someone in the United States Military. As many of you already know, being married to someone in the U.S. Military brings many unique challenges when it comes to stress, anxiety and even depression. Being a military wife for many years now, I have had many experiences that I want to share with those needing encouragement and hope.
As many of you know, being a military spouse means many different things to different people. For most active duty members, it means moving away from your immediate family, it means leaving behind jobs, friends, and the comfort of your last home. For others it means building a family by having children away from the love and support of your immediate families. For many it means new challenges with anxiety, panic attacks and even agoraphobia. Military spouse stress is more common than you know.
I spent much of my husbands military career away from my family. I left behind a secure job, close friends, and although my husband and I did end up building a family of our own, we did it away from the love and support of our immediate families. So I am speaking from personal experience when I tell you that I understand the stresses this kind of lifestyle can bring. My experience with military spouse stress, was the beginning of my journey with anxiety and panic attacks. It was during those years that I struggled a lot . I only wish I knew the very things I am sharing with you now on this website.
Whether you are just starting out as a military spouse or if you have been in the military for a long time getting ready to move to your next assigned base... one thing is for sure, it is a new beginning full of changes! Many times, no matter where you are living, your spouses next assignment could mean a one year tour (or longer) to a base that you would not be allowed to go. This means, staying behind by yourself, with or without children and worrying about your loved one and their safety.
There are many different things you can do that will make a huge difference in how you adapt to the stresses that are unique to this lifestyle. Here are some that I believe will be the most helpful to you.
1. First and foremost, I encourage you to contact your Military Family Resource Center to help you with your military spouse stress. Most military bases have this resource and I honestly do not think it is used enough. The sooner you get in touch with this resource the better. Whether it is new job opportunities, finding a babysitter, support groups, family events, or preparing to move to another base....this resource center is most valuable. They are there to serve you. You can also find online support through a military website called Military ONESOURCE. It's a great resource so be sure to check it out. It's important to find out what is available to you. The more you know, the more you will be prepared and the more options you will have for yourself. This helps you take responsibility for your life and opens the door for possibilities and opportunities.
2. Establish friendships! I know that many are hesitant to make many close friends. For some it may be for reasons of social anxiety and others are just afraid of getting close to someone who is eventually going to move. I want to encourage you to DO IT ANYWAYS!
One thing we all have in common is military spouse stress! Get to know your neighbors. Get involved in things you enjoy and the events that interest you and you will find others you have something in common with. Remember, you are not alone. Being in the military means having something in common with mostly everyone.
3. If you do not work and you are a stay-at-home parent, you might like to consider getting involved in a play group. You can even create your own group and meet at your home. Don't be afraid to open your home and do life together! You could base your group on any particular interest including a hobby that interests you.
4. If you are a stay-at-home parent and need to make extra money and don't want to leave your children to work, you may consider becoming a Home Daycare Provider through the military. It is a good way for you to earn extra money while helping military parents who are away on duty and giving your children other children to connect and play with. They provide everything you need to become certified! For more ideas on how to make money at home visit Work-At-Home-Mom Information and Support. Military Spouse Stress is many times caused by money issues.
5. Create a spiritual support system for yourself. No matter what faith you have, you can find something either on or off base that you will be able to connect with. One thing I always did was find a church in the area where I lived where I felt comfortable. Getting involved by meeting others, and attending events helps a lot. For me, I would have been lost without my faith in God. I believe it was the one thing that kept me grounded.
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6. If you are away from your spouse, Skype is a great way to keep in touch through audio and video. With Skype you can make computer to computer calls for free and cheap to landlines and cell phones all over the world. This helps a lot especially if you have children. Children are very imaginative and if they can see their parent while they are talking to them it really produces some really great feelings! However, if you are in a situation where you cannot talk to your loved one, there are other things you can do that can make a difference. One thing I did was print copies of my husbands picture and taped it to the wall near their beds. You can encourage your child to talk to their parent as if they were really there and to say a prayer for them. Encouraging children (and spouses) to keep a journal is also very helpful. You can do this by writing an online blog too!
7. Social Media websites such as Facebook ® are great ways to keep in touch with friends and family that are far away. I did not have the pleasure of having this resource available to me during the early years of military life but I think it's great that we live in a day where this is available. By staying connected you can help diminish some of that military spouse stress.
8. Remember managing your stress is very important! It is the one thing that will help you avoid anxiety and exhaustion! Be sure to visit stress management tips for some great ideas on how to manage your military spouse stress.
9. If you are experiencing anxiety, panic attacks, depression or even agoraphobia get involved in a support group. If there isn't any that are near you, get involved online! This website was created as a free resource site to share with you everything I learned over the years. Please explore this site and learn all you can.
10. When spouses are away it means more work for you! Remember that you need a break too! Military Spouse Stress can be alleviated by taking good care of yourself!