Take Care of Yourself First

**I’m writing this post today specifically from a women’s perspective for other women. If you are a man reading this, please don’t be offended or feel left out. I’m sure that much of it applies to you, but this is based on what I hear from other women, especially military wives.

Stress affects people in different ways, but have no doubt, it does affect you. Personally, it affects me physically. I can’t sleep; my stomach rejects food; my head hurts; my back hurts; sometimes I even get a low grade fever; and eventually my body literally gives out and I sleep for hours. I don’t mean that I sleep for eight or nine hours – I mean that I sleep for like 10 hours at night and then nap continuously the next day. Lately I’ve been lucky that those sleeping days have come on the weekends rather than during the week. It’s my own fault, I haven’t been taking care of myself. I can offer excuses as to why I haven’t but, really, that’s not important. What is important is appropriately dealing with the stressors and TAKING CARE OF MYSELF (remember that capitalized phrase, it’s important).

I cannot stress how important it is to appropriately deal with the stress in your life. Stress impacts us negatively both physically and emotionally. It can affect every part of our lives, which is not good when you have a family to care for or full-time job outside the home. I want to give you a few ideas on how to deal with stress in a constructive manner so that you can take care of yourself and your family in the healthiest way possible.

My current stressors are many but not as many as others. Currently my husband is two months into a 12 month deployment. There have already been causalities in our unit. I work full time with soldiers and then come home to a house full of wonderful but attention-demanding furbabies (four big dogs and two cats). I am also in the process of getting approved to get custody of two children who are currently in foster care in another state. Oh, and I’m getting ready to go through IVF (while my husband is gone with his frozen swimmers) in the winter. Stressed? Yes. Do I know ways to deal with it? Yes.

There are many different ways of dealing with stress, and some are better than others. Exercise is one of the better ways (in my opinion) to deal with stress. I have been failing at this and truly need to get back to exercising regularly. You don’t have to be a fitness buff or in great shape to lower stress through exercise. Walking, yoga, pilates, weights – there are lots of options. A simple 10-15 walk can be mind clearing.

Meditation is another personal favorite way to deal with stress. I use a guided meditation that is related to fertility, but there are other options out there. You can do guided (where you listen to a recording of someone talking) or you can also do meditation on your. I know that some people think that they can’t meditate, so here are some personal tips from me:

  • Play soft music (no words) or soothing sounds (rain, waves, etc.) in the background.
  • Turn off the TV, put your phone on silent and kick the kids/furbabies out of the room.
  • Find a comfortable position in which to lay or sit.
  • Take a few deep breaths to clear your mind, and then start meditating.
  • Usually I envision my “in” breaths taking in positive energy and the “out” breaths getting rid of the bad energy/stress.

I know, some of you reading this probably think it’s flaky but it really can work.

Another way that I de-stress is through the emotional freedom techniques (EFT). When I first started using it, I went to the website and began talking with Sarah. EFT has been especially useful to me when I’m feeling overwhelmed or on the verge of a panic attack, as well as those nights that I just cannot get to sleep. I like EFT because I can literally do it anywhere at any time and it can help me.

Lastly, one of my favorite ways to deal with stress is with a hot bath and a small glass of red wine. There is something so therapeutic about soaking in hot water (I also use aromatherapy bath crystals), listening to soothing music and sipping my favorite wine. My bath time is MY time. I don’t talk to anyone, I don’t pay attention to the furbabies, all I do is concentrate on me. It is heavenly.

Stress is a necessary part of life but many times us military spouse have more than our fair share. I hope that I’ve given you some ideas on how to deal with those stressors.

What are some of your stressors? What are some ways that you deal with those stressors?

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