In today’s fast paced world, we are lucky if we have any time left over at the end of the day to relax, much less focus on something we need or want to do. We fell in love and married a soldier, which means we many of us had to put certain things on hold and place the needs of our soldier and this country above our own. It’s time that we make ourselves a priority. This doesn’t make you unsupportive of your husband or selfish in any way – it’s called taking care of yourself. What if you want to go back to school or master a certain skill? Or what if you just want to better yourself somehow or indulge in something that you’ve always had a passion for? If so, it’s time to get started and below are a few resources to help get you on your way.
First and most importantly, never miss a health check up. You have to keep yourself healthy and this includes preventative care. If you aren’t taking care of yourself with getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and taking a few moments out for you – you need to do so immediately. If you don’t take care of yourself, you will eventually crash and then you’re not able to take care of your family. Take care of yourself!
Do you want to go back to school? If so, that’s great! There are several resources available for military spouses in the form of scholarships, grants, work-study programs, and if your husband has Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits, he might be able to transfer those to you. If you’re overseas with your husband, there is special assistance for that too that you might qualify for, so check out the Overseas Spouse Education Assistance Program (OSEAP). There is also Stateside Spouse Education Assistance Program (SSEAP) which is for spouses of active duty and retired soldiers, and widows(ers) of soldiers who died either on active duty or in a retired status, and reside in the United States. And of course, there are student loans. You can always look for scholarships outside of something military related as well. There are scholarships for all sorts of things. There are even scholarships for left-handed people, for certain fields of study, scholarships based on background – there is a ton out there. You just have to look for those niche things that you qualify for! Websites that you might want to start your search for assistance include the National Military Family Association, MyCAA, Military Spouse Education Initiative, Army OneSource, and Military.com – and this barely scratches the surface. As far as attending school, you will have the option of local schools as well as online schools and what you want to pursue will help determine where you might attend. Online school is huge these days because of it’s convenience and flexibility, and that it can be done from anywhere but certain programs might require that you attend school in person, every situation will be different.
For those of you that have already been to school and are looking for a way to expand your skill set, look into gaining certifications in your field of work. This will help keep you up to date and competitive, even if you aren’t currently working. This is a great way to spruce up your resume. Another way to expand your skill set is to take a free online class. Some of these are in the form of a lecture/class that only takes a couple of hours of your time, while others are a few weeks long. You can register online and attend online via webinar. Once complete, you receive a certificate of attendance and you have learned something new. Last week I attended a lecture/class about relationships in the age of social media. I learned new things and can use that as a bargaining chip as to what I have been doing to further myself. The resources are out there, you just have to search for them. Anything from interior design to nutrition, there is a free class out there for it! You can often times find these being offered from major colleges and universities.
What if you just want to hone your skills a bit or engage in a hobby? Do it! There are free courses offered from ACS to help you learn about everyday things like financial planning and internet safety. MWR offers a various low cost classes if you’re interested in how to make jewelry, auto class, or how to frame something like the professionals do. I took the framing class when we were stationed back out West and it was great! I learned I am horrible at it, but was able to nicely frame a picture of my husband. Once you finish the class, you can go back into the facility and frame other things – talk about mastering a skill and saving some money! And don’t forget about Armed Services YMCA. They offer a lot of wonderful services but they also tend to offer a fun and inexpensive class every now and again. The one here at Ft. Bragg did a wreath class not that long ago that crafters absolutely loved and it was great for beginners too.
If you enjoy staying at home and would rather learn in your pajamas, there is always the internet! You can learn how to bake a perfect cake or make an awesome pasta sauce by watching various You Tube videos! You can do this at your own pace whenever you have a few minutes. Before you know it, you just might be the next MasterChef. How about learning how to pair wine with food? You Tube is great for that too! Another great one is learning a foreign language. Whatever you’re interested in, you will find information out there that you can use to take yourself to that next level.
At the end of the day, it is ok to look back and be happy that you did something for YOU! It doesn’t matter what it is, just do something so that you can reflect back in a year or two and see what you’ve learned and how you have grown. There are the small and simple victories as well as the time consuming harder victories. Whatever your path may be, stay with it and good luck!
Angelique is a proud Army wife and happily married to her husband, Ray. After being PCS’ed from one side of the country to the other, Ft. Bragg, NC, is currently home. She has a degree in Counseling and a career background in Corporate Human Resources. She is an advocate for animal rights and enjoys supporting military and environmental causes. She is an accomplished flute player of 23 years and in her spare time she enjoys crafting, decorating, genealogy, traveling, watching horrible B rated movies, and is obsessed with anything pertaining to Disney. She and Ray are the proud pet parents of two dogs, Maddie and Ringo.
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Military spouse assistance programs are really great. To join such program is very efficient for us and we should not waste it. This is an opportunity and we must seize it.
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