Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Dear Military Spouse: Take Care of Yourself

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I asked if you were well? Well, I'm back again with advice on how to take care of yourself when you're being pulled in several different directions. One simple step is to sign up for the free, online Military Spouse Wellness Summit, which will be filled with lots of helpful infomation.

This Summit will take place from October 19 - 24. The entire event is online, which is super helpful since so many of us are busy and unable to travel for an event. If you'd like more information on the event, visit my previous post or visit this website and sign up.


Dear Military Spouse,

I wanted to take a moment today to talk about the reality of military life and why it's important for us to take care of ourselves. If you're reading this and you're not a military spouse, please don't turn away. The advice I'm about to give can be extended to anyone. I've addressed it to military spouses simply because this post is related to the Wellness Summit and is part of a series of posts.

I'm going to start by being real with you. I'm that girl that always says "yes" and has a hard time thinking of myself first. I'm constantly doing things for others and trying to make others happy. I'm not a people pleaser but I do like to take care of the ones I love and make their lives easier if I possibly can. I know I'm not the only one like that.

Last year, I moved across the country (SC to CA) in order to marry and move in with my coastie (definition: a member of the Coast Guard). We got engaged, found our first apartment, loaded everything into a uHaul, moved across the country, and were married all within about a month. It was a crazy, wild ride full of emotions. As if that wasn't enough, I found a job within a week of settling into life in California. This all sounds a bit like a fairy tale as I type it out but there were hidden dark layers that I couldn't have predicted.

Life in California proved to be more stressful than I ever could have imagined. Marriage and life with the husband was great but half of the things surrounding it were stressful. My job and health were at the top of that list. Being who I am, I continued to push through and was quite miserable at times, especially during the five month deployment we faced last year.

It was about halfway through the deployment when I made a tough decision - I decided to quit my job at the end of the school year. This was a tough decision for me since I've always been career oriented but in the end, it was the best decision I could have made. I discussed it with my husband (since it would be affecting us both) and we agreed it was the right decision. So, this year, I'm exploring the world of no job and looking forward to being back in the classroom next year. A year off was exactly what I needed to refocus my mind and my life after so many quick changes at once.

Why am I telling you this? Why am I sharing my story from last year? I'm sharing because it taught me something - something that I want to pass onto you. I was trying to do it all - be a good wife, teach a difficult class, and survive the lung problems that reemerged. I wasn't taking time for myself and I wasn't happy with things. I also wasn't able to help others because my life wasn't well and balanced.

I put myself first when I quit my job. (I didn't forget about my family - the decision was made with my husband in mind and with a lot of financial planning.) I didn't realize it at the time but this was beneficial to my marriage and friendships. I'm able to devote more time to making those around me happy since I'm more balanced. In short, an unhappy person is less able to help the ones around them.

So, how do you do it? How do you put yourself first?

Here's a few simple tips:

1. Find a hobby you love - one that is unique to you.

2. Carve out "me time" every week (at least - it's more beneficial to carve out time every day).

3. Exercise. (You help your body and this can also be used as your "me time." I find it hard to focus on others when I'm working out.)

4. Surround yourself with positive. Cut the negative out of your life.

5. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes a little help will lessen your burden and free you up to do the things you enjoy.

6. Downsize your responsibilities. Is there anything in your life that you can cut out? Decide what's the most important.

And perhaps the biggest thing you can do for yourself is to be happy. Don't ever forget that your happiness matters. Figure out what makes you happy and pursue it. (Just don't forget about your responsibilities in the process.)

This is just a small list of things you can do to take care of yourself. I could go on and on with ideas but this letter has gotten too long as it is. I hope you'll come back next Wednesday for more tips for maintaining happiness and wellness.

Until next time,
The Coastie Wife

P.S. Don't forget to invest in yourself - sign up for the Wellness Summit! It's free, so what do you  really have to lose?


1 comment:

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