As a milspouse, would you say that your spouse’s pockets are half full or half empty with pens that will explode in the dryer? Ha, we kid, but there is something to be said for the way you look at things. It could make the difference between a wonderful experience or one where you are counting the days until your spouse receives that DD-214. (And yes, some days it will fluctuate, depending on the needs of the military… eek!)

Here are a few tips and tricks to help pull you through tough days.

Feeling low? Let’s lift you up!

Dilemma 1: You loathe your duty station.

You could: Stay inside, not try to make friends, only talk to people back home, and complain about how much you can’t wait for orders to live anywhere else.

Perspective shift: Remind yourself that the clock is ticking, and by the time you unpack that weird last box in the top of your closet, it will be time to purge and repack again — nothing in this lifestyle is permanent. Strive to make at least one decent friend, and find places to anchor to. Perhaps there is an amazing karaoke joint, a charming consignment shop, a delicious restaurant, or a beautiful park nearby. Strive to enjoy it while you can, and create something that you will miss when you’re finally at your new duty station.

Dilemma 2: This deployment is for the birds.

You could: Wait by the phone, constantly watch the news, binge eat, think about how much you miss your spouse. You could get totally overwhelmed with the house, kids, and everything else, and stay that way for six months (give or take).

Perspective shift: Why not take this opportunity to focus on yourself and do something new? Stretch out in the bed at night, take up a foreign language, try some new recipes, or take online courses? You could initiate a new workout routine, find a babysitter or swap with friends, try a grocery delivery service if available, and treat yourself! Don’t forget the benefits of a periodic massage (even a quick chair one from a mall), or getting your nails done. Ask for help, pamper yourself, while still missing your spouse… that’s a good sign! You’re holding down the homefront and you deserve a little extra love.

Dilemma 3: All my people are somewhere else.

You could: Compare everyone you meet to someone you befriended back home or at your prior duty station, you could wish your days away that you will get stationed closer to home, or you can give up on making new connections before you start.

Perspective shift: Missing those you love is completely normal. Do what you can to stay in touch with regular texts, video chats, or even — wow — phone calls. If you can swing it, work to meet up with old friends if there is a central or convenient location between your duty stations. Additionally, you can always try to visit your hometown. If money is prohibitive, consider allocating some funds each pay period into a travel account, apply your tax refund money to it, or pick up a side hustle for travel money. You could even look into a credit card with airmiles if credit is an option and you feel comfortable paying it off each statement so that you don’t accrue debt. Having a goal to save your money is a big motivator! And as a cheaper option, you can branch out and work to meet new friends at your duty station. Get to know your neighbors, members of your FRG, attend exercise classes, volunteer, join a book club, meet moms at the bus stop, etc. If the idea of a face-to-face friend hunting is daunting, don’t be afraid to join spouse groups on Facebook for your local post (just beware of drama)! You are delightful and others will be lucky to know you!

How You View The World Matters

When you allow positivity in, you’ll attract positivity. Your spouse, your children, and your circle of friends will be happier, lighter, and brighter. Sadness, anger, disappointment and loneliness are all normal, just make sure that you don’t allow them to dwell with you — they make terrible roommates. When all else fails, there is humor, friends, family, a favorite drink, a good book, or a comedy film. This military lifestyle is tricky, so why not come at it like the boss goddess you are? We believe in you!

How do YOU stay positive? Share below in the comments.



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A self-described “Jackie of All Trades,” former Army wife Jackie Toops enjoys exploring the various facets of her personality by chronicling military life, world travels, family, her love of the arts and more. Her academic background is in the fields of Interdisciplinary Humanities, Museum Studies and Nonprofit Management, and she has overseen public relations for museums, galleries and universities. Jackie’s articles have been featured on Army Wife 101, Wall Street International Magazine, SoFluential, HomeAway, Military Biz Connection and FamiliesGo. While stationed in Germany, she regularly discussed her articles on-air with the Armed Forces Network in Wiesbaden. A mother of two, Jackie enjoys coffee, freelance writing, languages and discovering new ways to express herself. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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