Military Spouse Appreciation Day is a nationally-recognized day that was established in 1999 and is acknowledged each year on the Friday before Mother’s Day. Military Spouse Appreciation Day recognizes the essential role military spouses have in supporting the military through strengthening their Service member partners. This crucial role can be difficult at times, so it is key to make sure military spouses develop the support they need to take on this role, such as benefit-finding, keeping in touch, and using available military resources.
When we get caught up in the stress and challenges of circumstances, such as parenting children, taking care of a home, or meeting deadlines at work, we often forget about all the things we like about it, and military life is no exception. Benefit-finding, or identifying the positive aspects of a circumstance, can help balance out the negative aspects of whatever we are dealing with. Some studies have found that people who engage in benefit-finding also report greater well-being. This research can be applied to all the military spouses out there. For instance, take time to identify some of the benefits of being a military spouse. Some benefits might include the unique cultivation of community and friendships that military life offers or the personal strength you’ve developed from overcoming challenges. Find a relevant place to write these benefits (like in a planner, journal, mirror, or on a note on an end table where you sit often) as a reminder to yourself when life becomes stressful and challenges present themselves again.
Tip: Identifying benefits can be an individual or group activity with your spouse and/or family. They might have some ideas to share!
Keep in Touch
The hectic tasks of life can keep us isolated. Running errands, going to work, taking care of children, and completing various projects leaves limited time to connect with family and friends. It seems that when we need family and friends most, we don’t always reach out. However, keeping in touch with others is important. One study found that when military spouses experienced higher levels of anxiety or depression, they didn’t connect as frequently with their family and friends. So consider being more proactive in connecting with family and friends, especially when facing difficulties. Importantly, continue adding to the list of ways that you build your support system, as support figures can provide a variety of options for mitigating stressful circumstances!
Tip: Instead of feeling the pressure to schedule hours of time with friends/family, pick up the phone for a quick check-in. Weekly check-ins with family and friends can keep us connected, even when life feels hectic.
Use Available Military Resources
As a military spouse, you’re busy keeping your family running smoothly, and that’s a tall order! Knowing what resources are available to military families and using available military resources can make your life a little easier. The number of various supports and services available to military families can be overwhelming. However, Military OneSource provides a great starting point for military spouses to compile a list of resources and services, as well as online tools.
Tip: Download the free Military OneSource app to more efficiently find benefits tailored to you as a military spouse and chat with a MilLife expert at any time from within the app!
Military spouses, remember to take care of yourself! Taking care of yourself is a critical component to ensure you and your Service member are ready to take the stressors of military life. So, don’t feel that spending time and effort on yourself is unproductive and invaluable. Even spending as little as 10 minutes at a time (such as listening to music, meditating, reading a few pages from a book, or benefit-finding) can help manage stress. Lastly, continue adding to the list of ways that you build your support system to provide lots of options for mitigating stressful circumstances!