Salute to Spouses Blog

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Webinar Recap: Why babies, meetings and the Army can now get in line
   Recorded Webinar

Coping with the Change, Stress and Chaos of Military Life. Presented by: Col. Jim Martin, ret.

            View Recording

I am going running today. No. Matter. What.

This is my new mantra.

Through 42 months of deployments, five pregnancies, and three PCS moves, all in eight years, I have routinely set my own needs aside to accommodate the army, screaming babies, a demanding job and even the wall that needed painting in our bathroom.

Sleep was limited. The food I ate was rushed and unhealthy. My social calendar was filled only by baby-friendly events. I didn’t exercise. I didn’t do much of anything unless someone else needed it.

Now, I’m tired. Grumpy. Grouchy. And I understand well the need to take care of you first in order to build resilience as a military spouse and something had to give.

Recently, Col. Jim Martin, ret., a professor at Bryn Mawr College’s graduate school of social work and social research was our webinar guest and spoke about the need to care for ourselves.

He discussed the idea of promoting the pillars of resiliency in military spouses and families – physical, psychological, social and spiritual activities that can keep our stress levels in check.

And while there are elements within yourself you cannot control, there are a lot of tiny daily decisions totally under your command – who you talk to, what you eat, when you sleep and how often you exercise. In short, how often military spouses choose to take time for themselves.

And it can be tough to do.

I volunteer for several organizations and am always busy serving them on my weekends and evenings. During the day, the hours are gobbled up by caring for my toddler and infant until my three older children arrive home from school. Then it is homework, ball practice, therapy, dinner, bath time and bed.

As the lights in the neighborhood go dark and my children snooze, I head back to the computer to do more work that wasn’t finished earlier in the day.    

For years, stopping to exercise or even take a long bath meant that work would take even longer to finish, so the work came first.

No more.

I set a goal to run three days a week. Doing so has been an exercise in breaking my bad habits. I’ve cancelled appointments and been late to meetings just to get my run in. But I’ve done it.

I joined a Bunco group for the first time ever and left all five children for my husband to wrangle to bath and bed. As I pulled out of the driveway, I didn’t feel the least guilty.

I’ve taken time each day to actually consider what I am eating for lunch, rather than just pick over my toddler’s leftovers. It turns out, grown-up food is better than I remember.

And, I watched an entire 30-minute show while I ate my lunch. Scandalous!

These changes do not sound like much, but for the thousands of military spouses out there who I know are busy doing for others, small changes like these are a morale boost. And, they can lead to better diets, smaller waistlines and happier military wives.

So, if you’ll excuse me, today is my running day, so I’m out of here. Take time to do one small thing for yourself today too. I guarantee it will put a spring in your step.


Check out the recorded webinar with Col. Jim Martin, ret., addressing issues of building resiliency here.  

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