Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Military Spouse & Journaling

According to some experts, journaling is a great way to relieve stress. Military spouses are always taking care of others – the children, the husband or wife, the family, the chores – the list can be extensive. And we, like our soldiers, Marines, and seamen,and airmen are serving our country by managing the home front. When do the spouses have time to slow down and reflect on what happens in our lives?

This question has evaded many of us, as we deal with our deployed and injured soldiers. We continue to give and to provide for others in our lives, but we do not provide for ourselves. “When a spouse is deployed, we often see all the responsibilities - bills, meal planning, yard work, laundry, house cleaning, child care needs - and we fall into inaction because it seems overwhelming. We take care of only basic needs such as feeding the children (and we eat what’s left on their plates), we do only enough laundry to get a clean top (forget folding and putting things away) and maybe do enough minor cleaning to keep bugs away - and then we still end up pooped at the end of the day. That inaction drains us more, leaving us feeling exhausted.”

Therefore, the military spouse becomes depleted, despondent, and stressed. Many of us stay cooped up and isolated in our homes when our spouses deploy because we feel that no one will understand our plight, and we become depressed and lonely. One of the best ways to relieve this stress is to put the negative, stressful things down on paper. Or, create a gratitude journal writing about things to be grateful for. As stated in the Army Times: “When you spend so much time meeting the needs of others, you lose touch with your important relationships - with yourself. Start by writing a list of things you are grateful for. That list can change how you see and approach life. Journaling creates a dialogue with yourself. You can work through many issues by keeping a journal. It’s much healthier than keeping things bottled up inside, running through your head over and over again.

So give it a try. What do you have to lose besides the stress?

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