Being Apart: Self-Care Boot Camp for Military Spouses
By Jasmine Dyoco
SpouseLink Guest Blogger
Being separated from your spouse can be one of the most challenging obstacles to military married life. Between the stressors of managing your home and wondering how your loved one is faring, the strain can take its toll on your mental and physical health, as well as your relationship. It’s vital to put self-care at the top of your priorities to preserve your quality of life.
While many of us chalk self-care up to the occasional manicure or bubble bath, it really is much more than that. As experts cited by Psych Central explain, good self-care contributes to your positive body image, emotional wellness, and good overall health.
Some of the essential components are:
- Physical self-care, including an exercise program, good sleeping and eating habits, and regular medical care.
- Emotional self-care, including the acceptance of a wide range of feelings in yourself and in others, as well as the ability to express feelings appropriately.
- Social self-care, including time with friends supporting and caring for each other as well as having fun.
- Intellectual self-care, such as pursuing career goals and creative outlets.
- Spiritual self-care, including exploring, expressing, and cultivating your values and beliefs.
- Security self-care, including learning about finances, establishing insurance for your family, and tending personal safety.
Find a Quiet Space
Establishing a quiet space can help promote your mental health through self-care at home. Your quiet space can be a solution for engaging many aspects of self-care. A safe, calming, and comfortable room can be the perfect environment for relaxation, reading, meditation, stretching or yoga. Establish an area away from the general traffic flow of your home. Ideally, your quiet space should also provide an outdoor view.
According to some studies, connecting with nature can be a boon to mental health in many ways. A sunny window or houseplant can improve your sense of well-being, create feelings of inner calm, enhance focus, lead to clearer judgment, and improve your ability to navigate daily life. Another suggestion is to add a soothing scent to the room via essential oils or a candle. Consider a calming, nature-oriented, fresh scent like lavender or lemon.
Make Time for Friends
As important as your alone time is, you also are in vital need of time with friends. This is particularly true if you start feeling lonely, and when your spouse is away, the sense of being alone can be painful. Everyone has different social needs depending on personality type, but we all need time with friends. Feeling lonely is a warning sign you need to connect with others more, just like feeling hungry tells you should eat or a toothache says to go to the dentist. As Well and Good points out, we often become so focused on “me time” in our culture that time with others can be neglected. Without sufficient time with others, you can reduce immune function, develop heart problems, and even lower your life expectancy.
Some experts suggest finding time with your peers for laughter, support, and to avoid becoming isolated. If you prefer one-on-one time, plan routine lunches with a close friend or play cards with your neighbor one night a week. If you enjoy groups, you can volunteer time at a local charity, such as a soup kitchen or animal shelter. You can even connect with a friend as a workout buddy or join an exercise class, combining your self-care needs and goals.
Take Up a Hobby
Another way to meet some of your self-care needs is through a well-chosen hobby. Journaling, gardening, singing, or playing music can be a boon to your self-care, providing a creative outlet for self-expression and spiritual exploration. You can even turn that hobby into a business venture. Take up photography, make jewelry, paint, or do woodworking and sell your wares online. It’s a great way to feel independent, learn new things, and be creative.
Focus on a Better Life
Ensure your self-care is an ongoing means to improve your quality of life. Make a quiet space for yourself, stay connected with others, and take up a new hobby. Self-care is vital to your well-being, especially when your spouse is away.
Jasmine Dyoco loves crossword puzzles and audio books, learning (anything!) and fencing. She works with Educatorlabs.org to curate scholastic information. Educatorlabs is a group that is dedicated to providing a resource bank to educators and students.
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