Anyone who has ever experienced a military lifestyle knows it gets hectic. This life comes with numerous stressful situations and decisions.
I am the worst at waiting and if you know anything about military life, you probably spend 97% of your time waiting. The term ‘hurry up and wait’ is not an exaggeration. We wait for orders, training dates, deployment news, tricare appointments – basically everything. Nothing can be done until someone else processes paperwork.
That’s what I struggle with most because I’m a planner and always have been, but it’s next to impossible to have any plans set in stone because the Army always comes first. I would become frustrated beyond belief and completely stress myself out. I realized if I kept handling situations in his manner, it was going to destroy me. It was detrimental not only to my mental health but to my marriage as I projected my frustration onto my husband.I had to take a step back and determine how to handle these situations for the sake of myself and my family. The tips below are simple and effective when you find yourself at wits end and wanting a plan to manage the amount of stress in your life.
First, stop planning. Wait what? Isn’t the key to success all in the planning? In a way, yes, but you can also find yourself worrying about every little detail or things you can’t control and ultimately burning out. Take a few minutes to recharge. Go for a walk. Workout. Call a friend. Take a moment to step away from the situation. Regroup and tackle things with a clear head.
Next, cut the caffeine and alcohol during times of extreme stress. Excuse me? Come again? You do not want to interact with me before my first cup of joe unless you have a death wish. But, if you want to relax, you’ll have to cut down on the caffeine, which is a stimulant. Also, the alcohol you love to indulge in (including wine *tear*) is also out of the picture. Technically alcohol is a depressant, but if you drink enough it acts as a stimulant. Stimulants + stress is a recipe for a meltdown or worse yet, a panic attack.
Finally, accept that you can’t control everything. Put things into perspective. Be realistic. Set small, realistic goals that are achievable. Be satisfied with what you can accomplish, instead of what you cannot.
I noticed that implementing these simple changes really did improve my mental wellbeing and family life. I’m now more cognizant and able to reduce stress-causing thoughts that previously would have driven me batty. All in all, I’m more calm and happy which benefits my family as a whole. After all, happy wife, happy life, right?