Living through Chaos

3 Stress Management Tips for Military Spouses

When your spouse is in the military..You are in the military. When they go to war, You go to war. This military lifestyle can cause chaos, stress, and anxiety; and no one was created to be walking stress case. You may be living in chaos right now, but I am here to give you 3 easy tips you can start using today to manage that chaos without adding anything extra to your to-do list. Because who needs more to do?! We need and yearn to do less and live more. So if we start doing these things, the less important things will naturally fall away.

First, I hate to break it to you, but stress will never go away. Our job is to manage it. Stress can be good and beneficial for us…it can protect us from harm (fight or flight response from dangerous situations) and help us finish all of that packing for our next move (adrenaline). Us military peeps have a lot to handle on top of “typical life stress”. From frequent life changes, frequent moves, deployments, our spouses placed in dangerous places, to single parenting, and being alone…there is a lot on our plates.

Chronic stress is dangerous and can impact a your path to disease and illness. When you are sick and struggling with a chronic disease, I can tell you first hand that you and others around you pay for it. You pay for it out of your pocket and your time. So let us get to managing that stress so you can be more present with that precious time you have with your spouse and together as a family.

Image courtesy of Unsplash
  1. Self-Care. You must understand the importance of taking care of yourself. If you are always giving, the way we do…you will run out of steam. You need to fill your cup with some self-care and love for yourself. It is helpful to write a list of self-care ideas from personal spa treatments, unstructured downtime, yoga, crafting, prayer, or meditation. Tip: Start by writing a list of all the things you enjoy for self-care. It doesn’t matter if you can do it or not. Just start with the ideas so when you are stressed and can’t think…you have something to choose from. Example: Set a routine to get up just 5 minutes early to enjoy that cup of coffee by yourself.
  2. Deep breathing. When we are stressed we breathe quick and shallow breaths, subsequently when we breathe quick/shallow we can create feelings of stress/anxiety. There is a really cool study on changing our emotions through deep breathing. This study demonstrated how we can CHANGE our emotions by CHANGING our breathing. Tip: Start by practicing 3 deep breaths multiple times a day. Set an alarm on your phone titled “Breathe”. Try scheduling this during already scheduled times on your calendar. Example: Schedule 3 deep breaths when I eat breakfast/lunch/dinner.
  3. Be mindful. What is being mindful and how do you do this when you are so busy? Being mindful is doing things with purpose and being present at the same time. Easier said than done when you are pulled in 5 different areas at a time. You can practice mindfulness by doing self-care and deep breathing as I mentioned above. But you can also be mindful with the things you do every day or by starting something new. Some things to try are meditation, journaling, and listening to music. Tip: Start with picking a song you can practice listening to with the purpose of calming your mind. Example: Make a playlist of songs that remind you of what is important or is inspirational. Listen to this playlist while you take a shower! Two in one!
  4. Get support. Lastly get support from like-minded people. There are plenty of free online groups you can passively participate in or sign up for a paid program that can guide you if you really want to dive in and get rid of the chaos. Accountability really makes a difference. That is the same reason why writing things down, making goals, getting one/one or group support are so helpful. It keeps you on track in an otherwise busy life. Online is where it is at, especially if you don’t know anyone where you live from having to move around so frequently. Tip: Search/Join a group on Facebook using the words, stress management, military support, mindfulness, peaceful living. Example: Try out my free online support group Peaceful Transitions.

Finally, I understand where you are coming from… I work full time, I’m a busy mom of 3 boys and my husband is frequently gone. I am not absent of stress but I do manage it the best I can with these 3 tips above. Join the path to peaceful living. You are not alone and you CAN do it!