My Self Care “Tool Box”

Self-care is so beneficial and necessary to our well being. But it only works if we actually do it. Here is what is in my self care tool bx to help make self-care convenient

I have read 100’s of blog posts about self care – ways to care, checklists, why it’s important; and so many other great benefits about having self-care built into your schedule. But I know I am not the only one who finds it difficult to fit it into my day! As a counselor I was told constantly in my classes to practice good self-care.

I am constantly on the go, running from one place to another and so often caring for other people. This makes making self-care a priority hard for me. That is until I really saw how run down I had become; I was exhausted, irritable (just ask my husband), and ineffective at helping other people. But life is so busy, it doesn’t slow down just because you are exhausted. The key to making self-care a part of my routine was to make it convenient, take all my excuses away! So I created a self-care “tool box” Today I thought I would share what is in my tool box and why!

Nail polish & accessories –

Who doesn’t feel better after a mani/pedi. But being a student and a babysitter doesn’t pay enough to routinely get them done. So I decided to keep them neatly done myself, Essie nail polish is my favorite, and lasts the longest. Doing my nails myself is calming and relaxing for me. Plus, I feel so much more confident and pretty when my nails are done.

Coloring book & pencils –

Adult coloring books, like this one Adult Coloring Book: Stress Relieving Animal Designs, are everywhere right now. Focusing on the colors and shapes can calm down emotions and physiological reactions to stress and anxiety. Coloring can help regain mental clarity when you are upset or overwhelmed.


Journal & pens –

Being able to get your feelings and emotions down on paper can relieve tension in the body. The physical release is beneficial because there are no more pent up feelings waiting to burst out.

My favorite music –

You know that feeling on a beautiful day driving around with the windows down, blaring your favorite song, singing at the top of your lungs? Its great isn’t it! Well not every day can be beautiful, but put on your favorite song and just belt our frustrations away!

Tissues –

It is ok to cry, healthy even. So if you’re mad, sad, exhausted, hurt or just need a good cry, just let it out! That is what tissues are for!

Some chocolate –

Chocolate after a good cry can feel so rejuvenating and help bring you back together. Now I am not advocating eating your feelings away, but chocolate has endorphins in it, and endorphins are a natural chemical in your body that helps create feelings of happiness. It can be a way to boost your spirits.

My phone –

Talking to my mom, dad, husband, or best friends can help me when I am feeling rundown. It helps remember I am not alone. Just because it is self-care doesn’t mean it can’t involve others. As long as it is boosting yourself!

Some bubble bath (or other spa like things) –

Again like getting your nails done, we can’t always make it (or afford) to go to the spa. But a home spa night can be relaxing too. Set up some candles, fill the tub, some quiet music, maybe a glass or wine or some chocolate, and a good book can relax the mind and the body. So get that lavender vanilla bubble bath and feel the stress melt away.

A good book –

Maybe it’s one you’ve read before, or a brand new book, but loosing yourself in a good book can do wonders. Reading lets you move out of yourself and open your imagination. Freeing your imagination can help you find new solutions to your every day stresses.

Doing something just for me –

Now this one might not fit in a box, but I love to craft, scrapbook or work on a DI project I have had pinned for ages. I love getting out my pictures and crafting supplies and just working. It makes me feel productive and satisfied with my results.

So these are my top 10 items in my self-care tool box. The idea is to keep everything together in one little box or bin so that it can be handy. Maybe you have a few minutes and so you pull out the journal or coloring book for a 15-minute mental break. However, you do it is up to you, because remember it is your self-care. Now take a lesson from me, and don’t wait till you are run down and exhausted to start taking part in self-care, do it now and do it often to help stay on top of your game! I promise it can make a huge difference in your outlook on life!

If you want to read more about self care see my guest post on reducing anxiety. Have a child that suffers from anxiety check out my post for reducing anxiety in children here.

What are some of your self-care go to’s?

Self-care is important, but often overlooked due to our demanding schedules at work and at home. Here are the contents of my self-care tool box that I use to make self-care convenient so I am more likely to use them.

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Taking a Leap of Faith

Taking a leap of faith can be scary, but so rewarding. Looking to take a step of faith but not knowing what to do next? Check out here my plan for reducing vulnerability when taking a leap of faith

In the last few weeks I have taken a huge lead of faith, and it definitely was not easy. My lead of faith was making an investment in my blog, a few actually. This is the first time I have spent money on my blog since starting it July 2016! But we have all been in a place where we have to make a choice – stay where we are OR jump and take that leap of faith in hopes of reaching something even greater! My leap of faith was moving from a free site to a purchasing my domain name and becoming self-hosted, investing in some branding images and purchasing planning resources! This is the first move I made towards making my blog a business. I am so nervous, but also excited! And you too can take the leap of faith.

The first step towards taking that leap of faith is having faith in yourself. It is hardest to have faith in yourself and your own abilities. When my husband has a challenge at work I am always confident he will overcome it. When my friends are job hunting, I am always sure they will find the perfect job. But for some reason I struggle to have the same enthusiastic confidence in myself. I know I am not alone! I have talked to many people who struggle to have faith and confidence in themselves. But if our goal is to be happy and healthy people, we need to be confident people. Not afraid to step out and take a risk. So how do we get there and grow in our own confidence?

The short and simple answer is practice; but that is not very helpful. Practicing vulnerability sounds like a terrible idea to most people, myself included. Putting ourselves out there with no plan to succeed is frightening. And I am with you, I wouldn’t want to do that either. BUT what if I proposed another solution. One with a plan, a plan to succeed when you take that leap of faith.

Here is my guide for growing in confidence in order to take that leap of faith!

Finding someone who believes in you

            Let their encouragement build you up. I am sure you have noticed changes in yourself based on the mood of those around you. When you surround yourself with positive people who believe in your. Then we can feed off of that as we begin to belive it. In trying ti get my blog going, the person who believed in me has been my husband, encouraging me along the way.

Make a Plan

We don’t like to take a step ad feel like we don’t know what is next. Taking a leap of faith can be like that. But that doesn’t mean we have to go in blind. So what do you want to accomplish with your leap of faith? Build a business? Go back to school? Take your relationship to the next level? Grow your family? Move far away? Whatever that leap is for you what do you want to happen next? I would love to grow tis blog into a business. Why? Because I got into the business of counseling to change people’s lives. I think I can do that here too. So here is my plan to do so. By starting my own website, I open myself up for the opportunity to become a business. I plan to find adds and sponsored posts. By earing money, I can invest more into my blog and continue to grow it. I am taking that leap of faith, but I am not doing it blindly.

Evaluate & Readjust

So we’ve surrounded ourselves with people who believe in us, gained enough confidence and we have made a plan. So now it is time to take the leap! You can do it!! Now we have to ask if we are accomplishing what we set out to! Are we meeting our goals? If not, what can we do about it? My goals for myself when I bought and created my website was to make back the $40 I invested! Hopefully even make a little more than that so I can continue to pay for it next year. As I am still in the building phase I am not ready to re-evaluate yet, but I am hoping by the 3 month mark I can start monetizing. Then I will check inn again at 6, 9, and 12 month markers. If I don’t think I am making enough I will adjust my strategy for marketing.

I know it is scary. I worry all the time whether I am going to reach my goal but for now I am just going to be excited that my website works and is up and running. So celebrate the small wins every day! Remember with big risk comes big reward. And it is not called a leap of faith for nothing! You can do it! I believe in you

What are some ways you have found to help you take that leap of faith?

Deciding to take a leap of faith can be a hard thing to do. It leaves us vulnerable to our fears. Here are some ways to grow in confidence and feel more secure in your vulnerabilities when taking that leap of faith

My Experience with a PCS Nightmare

My PCS Nightmare on the www.ArmyWifeNetwork.com: Learning from my Mistakes!

My PCS Nightmare on the www.ArmyWifeNetwork.com: Learning from my Mistakes!So my first Army move wasn’t exactly smooth! I was in school up until the day I moved! ( I graduated Saturday morning, picked up and loaded the moving truck Saturday afternoon, and moved on Sunday!) So I didn’t have a lot of time to pack, plus because in the Army’s eyes we had already moved there – my husband had to be there 6 months before me! So I knew we weren’t going to be reimbursed any of the expenses, and being a broke student I didn’t want to waste m precious money on boxes! Well a move without boxes as you can imagine!

Read the whole story here over at the Army Wife Network!

Here is to hoping my next PCS is more successful! What are some of your PCS horror stories?

Goodbyes Never Get Easier

Saying goodbye never gets easier, whether its you husband, family, or friends.

So I actually had all my posts planned out through April already, but today I had a moment that I feel like I really wanted to share with everyone. Now if you are judging by the title, you most likely think that I am going to be talking about saying goodbye to my hubby.

This month I am saying good bye to all the friends I have made here at Fort Benning. EVERY SINGLE ONE!!! How does that even happen?? And we aren’t going anywhere for another two months, which still isn’t very long.

Somehow we start to believe that the only goodbyes we say are to our spouses; we forget about the family and the friends we leave behind at every move. I am sure many of ya’ll have watched the wildly popular show, Army Wives. Throughout the entire show none of them moved away from each other in 7 WHOLE seasons! This is so not reality.

When you are the one moving away there is a sense of closure, you make all the preparations. And so when you have to say goodbye to your friends it doesn’t seem so hard. But when you are the one being left behind its different. And to be the last one in your group of 5 plus friends makes it even more hard, there is no easing into it, when all your friends leave in a two week period.

So what do you do when you are the last one left?

Enjoy your last moments together.

Throw one last great bbq, drinks and dinner downtown, trips to the dog park. Whatever it is that ya’ll like to do together; do it and do it often! While we never know when we might run into them again in this crazy military journey, it might be years! But enjoy the time you have left together.

Remember it is ok to be sad.

Just because its a part of military life to be in constant flux, doesn’t mean that we aren’t allowed to have emotions in response to our situations. The phrase, Embrace the Suck, was invented for a reason! Never feel guilty for your emotions, own them and acknowledge them. We never need to apologize our emotions! When we embrace our emotions we are able to better deal with them and move on. It is when we deny our emotions that we become stuck. So let yourself feel sad, cry if you are a crier.

Its going to be ok.

As hard as it can be to make new friends, remember you’ve done it before and you can do it again. It is one of the hallmarks of a resilient military spouse, the ability to adapt. You will make new friends, eventually you will move too. No matter how sad you are now when all your friends are leaving, its going to be ok because you are incredibly strong!

Put yourself back out there, even when you don’t want to.

Right now I can’t imagine putting myself out there like I did when I first got here. It is hard to motivate yourself to put a 110% effort into making new friends, when I know I am moving in two months. I mean I am going to keep going to all my regular activities like the dog park, yoga, and PWOC. But I just don’t know how much effort I could put into making more friendships.

Saying goodbyes are hard. But you know what, we are strong wonderful people! We will always find friends. I think that is one of the blessings of military life. There is always a built in community, you just have to put a little bit of effort into finding it. This means that even when our friends leave, we just need to find ways to plug into our communities – PWOC, the FRG group, book clubs, workout groups.

Saying goodbye is hard, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Don’t let anyone tell you you shouldn’t be upset when your friends leave just because you knew what you were getting yourself into.

What are your best tips for saying goodbye to friends when they PCS?

Saying goodbye never gets easier, no matter if your husband, family, or friends

10 Ways to Help Anxious Children Calm Down

10 ways to reduce anxiety in kids pinnable image

As much as we adults get stressed out, so do our children! And military life provides lots of opportunities to create anxiety in our children- deployments, field time, training, frequent moves, changing schools, and constant fluctuation of friends. Or things such as adding new children to the family that many families face. As their parents, teachers, babysitters, or other family members we need to be prepared to help them calm down and relax when they are stressed and anxious.

Here are my top 10 tips for helping calm down when they are feeling stressed and anxious!

 

  • Blow Bubbles! Having a little kid sit there and just take deep breaths in and out can be hard, as most parents know! But blowing bubbles is so fun and cane help the child visualize the deep breaths by watching the bubbles.

  • We’ve all seen the pretty calm down jars like these ones! Watching the glitter move through the jar can still the child, which can have a calming effect, especially if the child is visually oriented in other tasks, such as learning.
  • Give them a big hug! Wrap your baby up and hold them tight. Knowing they are secure and safe in your arms can relieve a lot of anxiety for little ones.
  • Pop some bubble wrap. This is great for children who are kinesthetically oriented. Having something active, constructive, and nondestructive can help relieve anxiety. Doing something with your hands can help swap the mind from the emotionally over-charged center of the brain to the calmer logical part.
  • Coloring. We have all seen that adult coloring books are all the rage right now for decreasing anxiety, well if it works for us then it works for the little ones too! Sit down with them and spend some time coloring together. Maybe put some soothing music on in the background for an extra effect.
  • Put on their favorite Disney Jam and sing it out with them! Singing out loud has been shown to release endorphins, which lifts the mood! So have a dance party while you’re at it and shake those worries away!
  • Put the kiddos in a nice warm bubble bath and have them splash and play their worries away! What momma isn’t relaxed by a nice warm lavender vanilla bubble bath! This means what works for us, typically works for them. If you have more than one, and bath time is normally full of conflict, maybe bathe them one at a time tonight!
  • Got play-dough in the craft room? Give some to your kid and let them squish it between their fingers, roll it around. Playing with something in their hands can be a grounding effect. For people who suffer from panic or severe anxiety one of the most suggested ways to ground oneself is find things you can see, smell, touch, hear, taste. Squishy play-dough is something to feel.
  • Get some exercise in! Go for a bike ride, play tag, jump rope, just get outside and run around. Exercise in any form can release endorphins to have a calming effect.
  • If you notice that your kid still suffers from anxiety and have tried a variety of calming methods perhaps it is time to look into counseling. One of the main modes of therapy for kids is play therapy and incorporating expressive art therapy. Both of these modalities is helpful for children who struggle to express their feelings verbally or who express most feelings physically, in a more negative manner as it allows them to express their feelings in any form in a safe, contained area.

I hope you find these methods helpful in your household! I know the struggles of living with children with anxiety, as it often feeds our own anxiety which feeds theirs and we end up in a never ending cycle. These methods have been shown to break the cycle! If we can calm our children down it will reduce our own anxiety as well.

Military parents, we know how stressful military life though for our kids! Between deployments, PCSs and mom/dad coming and going, friends PCSing our kids are placed under so much stress! If you looking for great ways to help lead your children through these transitions hop over to my Military Parenting Page and check out my program coming soon: Parenting Coaching Designed specifically for Military Parents to address the unique concerns that we face with our children. Take a moment and sign up for updates and receive a FREE GIFT: Behavior Chart & an Easy How to Guide for Promoting Positive Behavior in our children.



What are the best methods you have found to help reduce anxiety and stress in your kiddos?

10 ways to reduce anxiety in kids

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Rebuilding Trust in your Relationships when its been Broken + FREEBIE: Honesty Contract

When trust is broken, it can be hard to believe it can ever be restored! Here are some proven ways to restore trust in your relationships + Freebie: Honesty Contract!

Think about those relationships in your life both past and present that you have felt most secure in. I’d be willing to bet big money that trust was an important component to that relationship. There is not a single type of relationship that does not benefit and thrive off of trust: romantic, parenting, friendships, and work/employee relationships. And one relationship where trust is most essential is your marriage.


I have seen many couples or even just individuals come in struggling in their marriages because somewhere trust was broken- someone had an affair, or was thought to have had an affair, one partner had been repeatedly hurt by the other, maybe there are control tactics being employed, pornography, or addiction plaguing the relationship.

And all of them sought counseling with the main goal to rebuild trust in their marriages. Some were successful, some were not. More than half of all marriages are interrupted by an affair, but not all marriages are ended because of it. It is possible to rebuild trust, but it is difficult and requires determination and the constant decision to love your spouse throughout the process, for both members of the couple!

Trust is something that is hard to explain. And it is an absolute- you either trust someone or not, there is no degrees of trust. Without trust in our relationships we feel insecure and out of control. Especially if there was trust originally and it was blatantly broken by someone’s actions. Some people, like me, readily trust most people until given a reason to distrust them. This can be a double edged sword in that is has burned me a few times, but it works for me, where I am constantly meeting new people. Other people are slow to trust, letting it build as the person proves themselves to be trustworthy.

Actions that breed trust are ones full of honesty, transparency, and integrity obviously; but others include being thoughtful and caring, taking a genuine interest in someone else for no personal gain.  Based on my experiences from working with couples, the three most asked questions when they come in looking for hope are:

  1. Can trust be restored?
  2. Whose responsibility is it to restore broken trust?
  3. And how can we rebuild trust in our relationship?

Trust Can Absolutely Be Rebuilt

Here are the answers I give my clients when they come in. Yes! Trust absolutely can be restored. It is hard work, and can often be discouraging because it takes a long time to rebuild, it may have grown quickly in the beginning, but it can take seconds to break and years to rebuild. So stay the path, even when it’s hard, and choose to love your spouse everyday despite not trusting them, and slowly but surely the trust will come back, but don’t rush it and stay positive when you can. The work might not always seem fair. While I can tell you that its possible if you work hard, only you in your relationship can decide if that hard work is worth it.

It Takes Two to Tango

Ok, so now we know it’s possible, but who is responsible? Some people might tell me I am wrong, but I believe it is necessary for both people to restore trust. Remember, it takes two people to tango in the good times and bad. So this is where it might see a little unfair to the “victim.” You are just as responsible for re-establishing trust as the “perpetrator” Both people have to be willing to set aside their price and dedicate themselves FULLY to making it work between them again.

It Takes Hard Work

And finally, the way to rebuild trust is simple, but time consuming. Both people have to be 100% committed to be 100% honest and transparent with each other. Sharing passwords to all accounts, possibly deleting social media accounts, share itineraries for each day, allow GPS tracking through cell phones so you can check each other’s location. Checking in regularly throughout the day and then being able to check their GPS and let the partners know that they are actually going where they are saying they are going. While this may seem invasive at first, if you have nothing to hide then there really shouldn’t be any reason to be put out by it. It may be drastic, but it can go a long way in restoring trust.

Dr. Willard Harley, a marriage counselor, wrote a book Surviving an Affair. He has three policies that he as all his clients subscribe to when they are seeking to rebuild their marriage. 1. Policy of Radical Honesty; 2. Policy of Joint Agreement; 3. Policy of undivided attention. He views these as all-encompassing and necessary for affair recovery. And while he is talking directly about affair recovery, the same principles are important for restoring trust – addictions, control, and hurt.

Teamwork is Crucial

Regardless of why you need to build trust in your relationships and marriage, these are some great places to start. I know it’s hard. I have been in broken relationships where trust is lost. And I’ve walked the painful road of affair recovery and addiction recovery with many couples. But be encouraged by the knowledge that it is possible and knowing you’re not alone.

I would say if you’re struggling with issues around trust I would recommend checking out the resources on my page; but also consider seeing a counselor. We aren’t here to judge you, but are here to help you explore and find answers. And if you do decide to seek out a counselor I would encourage you to lean into it all the way. Counseling is what you make it. It can be an awesome experience if you let it.

With that said I know many people won’t ever seek out help, which is one of the reasons I love this blog and many others that address relational wellness and mental health! So if you don’t want to seek counseling to help rebuild your relationship, here is an Honesty Contract that can be used as an agreement between you and your spouse to maintain radical honest and follow through on the policy of joint agreement. And as you find yourself being more and more honest with each other over time, trust will be rebuilt.

Rebuilding trust in your relationships can be extremely difficult and often feel impossible, but with some hard work and dedication you can rebuild that bridge and find your way back to each other

For those who have experienced a breach in trust in your relationship, what did you do?

 

Finding Yourself Somewhere you Never Expected to be: Being a Stay at Home Wife

Finding yourself somewhere you never expected to be. For me that is being a stay at home wife!

Have you ever found yourself somewhere you never planned to be? That is me right now. I always envision myself being a stay at home mom, when the time came. My mom was home with us till I was in the 8th grade; and I loved it as a kid! But I never envisioned myself as a stay at home wife. I always envisioned myself working towards a career for a few years before I turned to being a SAHM. Yet, here I am! Master’s degree in hand, in a state I can’t get a license in (For full story check out this post!) So I am a stay at home wife.

I know what some people might say about this. Some will call me lazy, unmotivated, free loader, and probably some worse things. Some might even be jealous that I don’t have that extra stress, pressure, and responsibility of a job AND kids. But it’s ok! It’s not like I sit at home all day napping and binge watching Netflix. Ok, you caught me, Netflix is on, but I am most likely doing something productive at the same time. In some ways this has been challenging for me. I am not working towards a career at the same rate my friends are; working in their field, gaining experience, and making contacts. This is the first time since I was like 16 that I don’t have a job and earning my own money! Sometimes I might even be a little jealous of them. Here are some of the blessings I have received and lessons I have learned being in a place I never expected to be!

I had time to spend with my Hubby

If I was working on my career, I would probably still be in South Carolina, separated from my husband because he would still be here in Georgia no matter what I chose to do. I wouldn’t have made some of the best friends I’ve made. And even though I am not working towards my career or counseling license, I have had doors open to me in the Army as a service provider through the Chaplains. But the best blessing is that these months have given my hubby and I wonderful adventures and opportunities to connect. If I had stayed in South Carolina to work on my counseling license we would have ended up spending two years apart as we are now facing a yearlong unaccompanied assignment. It makes me even more grateful for the time we have had together over the last few months!

Growing my faith to a Mustard Seed

It has also given me the opportunity to grow in my relationship with God. If I was working full time I wouldn’t have the flexible schedule to attend a weekly Bible study, as stuff for military spouses only seem to take place during the day when people with full time traditional careers are in the office. This has been awesome for me! Not only to grow in my faith but I have made friends and come closer to others during my time here.

Growing my Community

I have had the opportunity to meet other Army wives and families; and I have had time to spend connecting with them. Some have become mentors and friends as I am learning to navigate the complexities and weirdness Army life. I’d be lost without them. Some ladies I’ve met that are here and work full time have told me they feel like they are missing out because they don’t have the time to make those relationships. Also they typically are not working in their field. I know I am blessed to have this luxury of staying home. So I have worked to make the most of it!

Blogging on my Blogging Progress

I have had the time to start and grow this blog. At first it was a way to fill my empty time. I never expected to get so into it. So much so that I’ve creates social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, StumbleUpon, Bloglovin). I am intentional about writing and engaging with other bloggers in multiple different niches as I figure out and learn how to grow my own community. And it has definitely been incorporated into my Vision of Future for 2017. Adventures of a Young Wife has turned into more than I imagined and I am so excited to continue it as we go about our newest adventures.

Health has been a major focus

And finally it has given me the opportunity to work on my health physically. I am not perfect here by any means I mean just remember my hiking story (find it here). But having the ability to not have to get up and immediately crank it out before being at work at 8am or after I get off at 5pm. I can add it to my morning routine in a stress free way which makes me more likely to actually see it through. Even though sometimes puppy snuggles win out!

In the end…

But look at all these wonderful things! I could never have imagined this life. All though out college and grad school I never dreamed my life would take a path like this; but, I wouldn’t change a thing. And I get to do the one thing I love most, love my hubby in person for the next 7 months before he leaves and support him always. I know you don’t read my blog to just find out about my life, well some of you might, like my mom.

But I am hoping that by sharing my experiences with you that you can learn something too. For me, being a stay at home wife is a major shift in plans. I don’t know what that major shift for you is – maybe it’s getting married, having a baby, losing your job, or a loved one; whatever that unexpected life shift is for you remember that good things can come from it. If only you allow yourself to be open. I could have been sulky and sullen and stayed on my couch and I wouldn’t have gained anything but I worked hard and put myself out there! And I am so glad I did, and you will be too!

What unexpected situations have you found yourself in that turned out great?

My story of how I found myself somewhere I never expected to be. My life as a stay at home wife and how I made the best of the situation

TO THE SPOUSE WHO IS ALSO A STUDENT…

An open letter to all spouses who are also students. From someone who has been there and made it through

An open letter to all spouses, military or not, that are in another phase of life, being a student, all while being married. Often we think we go to school, we graduate, we find a job and we get married. Sometimes it works that way, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes you go back to school. But as all of us students know school can be all consuming, and can prevent us from being the spouse we were maybe before school or what we desire to be. But know that its ok, and no matter what its ok.

See my open letter to the spouse who is also a student, from one who has been there and made it to the other side.

What advice would you share??

The Military Spouse’s Guide to Embracing the Suck

Life can be sucky sometimes. But don't worry there are ways to keep plugging along embracing life to the fullest!

I was looking back at my content. It has been a while since I have written something specific to being a military wife. I think it’s because our situation is so stagnant right now I didn’t know what else to write about- no PCS’s in the works, no deployments, no anything. And I have already written about most of my other Army Experiences. We know we are leaving Benning in the next few months, but we don’t know when and we don’t know where, but we know things are a changing! But until they tell us we are just hanging out, waiting, in a holding pattern.

Also I have been focusing on writing some guest posts for military specific blogs so a lot of my ideas went there! But as we get more pieces of the plan, not all of it has been great, and some of it down right sucks! When I talk to friends outside the military, the phrase I am greeted by over and over is, “that sucks!” Whether it’s in response to I haven’t talked to my spouse all week, he is in the field; we can’t make a plan for more than a week or two out; deployments, or whatever! I am reminded as a good military spouses and soldiers, we are supposed to suck it up and embrace the suck.

Embracing the Suck, I think this is one of my least favorite phrases associated with the Army. The phrase itself sucks, if I do say so myself! Why does Army, or any military life for that matter, have to be so negative that we need to saying just convince people that its ok it’s negative. Why aren’t we working on making it more positive?  Well first, change requires that the system wants to be changed, or enough people call for change. Well since neither of those two things have happened yet, we need to find ways to embrace the suck, get better at waiting, and not just survive military life, but truly thrive!

So here are my tips on how to embrace the suck, Military Spouse Style, so that it doesn’t have to suck anymore, because none of us deserve to live a life full of suck, we deserve the life we want- full, vibrant, and beautiful!

Embrace the suck by making the most of every situation.

While we maybe in an awful, undesirably long holding pattern, I am grateful that at least my husband is home with me. As we all know in military life, this is not always the case. Over the spring and summer, my husband was gone in the field 12 out of 14 weeks. But for now we are together and that is enough!

Knowing that its ok for you to think it sucks.

Just because you are supposed to embrace the suck doesn’t mean it doesn’t actually suck. In fact, it does often just as much for our service member spouses as it does for us! In my current situation, so many of my friends are sending or have already sent their spouses to Ranger School! While my hubby didn’t get to go to ranger school (read his injury prevented it – although he isn’t torn up about it!) I have watched so many of my friends and clients face this. Embracing the suck doesn’t mean ignoring or denying the suck! It sucks and its ok to say so!

Lean in all the way. 

If you know that you can make the suck go away faster by working harder and getting it done, then work as hard as you can and get it done. Obviously this doesn’t work for everyone – deployments don’t get cut short if you work extra hard, no matter how early you start prepping for that PCS the date won’t get moved up (ok well it might, but not just because you are all set!). But sometimes it does – like when it comes to unpacking after the PCS. Unpacking can definitely suck especially if your furniture doesn’t fit like you want or you don’t have enough curtains for this house! If you just stay focused you can get done quicker!

Find a friend

Embracing the suck requires a team effort! We can’t do it on our own. Some might argue with me on this point but I have written several posts about the importance of community and making friends. To me it is Mission Critical to have a few good friends you can really rely on to be there for you! As much as we rely on our spouse to help us get through these sucky periods, they are not always there – because mission comes first. Besides who else shows up with wine and chocolate after those kind of days!

So you see, it’s possible to Embrace the suck! It takes time and its ok to throw ourselves a pity party! But after that we can put our big girl panties on and trudge alone! If you are struggling to trudge on check out my 15 Healthy Coping skills here!

How do you embrace the suck?

Life can be sucky sometimes. But don't worry there are ways to keep plugging along embracing life to the fullest!

Too Young to be Married they Said

Too Young to b Married they said, But I have loved every bit of our life!

I was 23 when we got married, my husband was 22. Now at almost 25, still many of my friends are not married. Leading up to the wedding, I can’t count how many times I heard, “you are too young to be getting married.” Most were  just incredulous that I am now an adult. But, really did think we were too young to get married. “Why rush?” they would say?  I never thought I was in a rush. This was just how life was progressing for us. After all, my parents were my age when they got married. We had both graduated from college, I was finishing up graduate school, he was about to leave for Fort Benning. Although let’s be real, the military did not make it easy to slow down either. So what was I to do with all these well intended people that might as well been saying, you’re making a huge mistake. But here I am just after our first wedding anniversary and I can’t imagine this being a mistake.

I have always been told that I am one of those people that are easily swayed by what people say. I like for others to think well of me, I constantly worry about what people might or might not be saying about me. So I was a bit surprised at myself that I couldn’t find any anxiety in me when people would tell me I was too young. Maybe it’s because all the anxiety I could muster at the time was being thrown at my school work. Or maybe it’s because I finally realized that despite what people said about me and our relationship it wasn’t going to affect me. Why wait if I knew this was the person I wanted to spend my life with? What did it matter to Joe Schmoe when I got married? That’s right, it doesn’t.

So here is what I have learned about marrying young!

1.We can’t compare ourselves to the other people around you!

Just because we are doing something different doesn’t make me right and them wrong. When we compare ourselves to others we often find ourselves in discontent. Like the saying “You do You” We have to do what works for us. Most of my friends who are in relationships are content to wait for a while before getting married, due to being in the military, that wasn’t going to work for us or else I couldn’t move with him. But marriage works for us!

2.We get to experience so much together!

I have a friend who is almost 30 and celebrated her 1st wedding anniversary a few weeks before B and I did! When we talk she always wishes they had met earlier and were married younger so they could have had that time together. I will be 25 when we celebrate our 2nd anniversary! We have so much to do together!

3.Less comparison between partners!

While my marriage was not my first relationship it was really my first adult relationship. I don’t get caught in the trap of comparing B to past boyfriends or relationships. And neither does he! It makes our lives so much smoother!

4.Regardless of how old we are; we get to spend our lives together!

No matter how old or young you are when you get married, the best part is getting to spend all my life with B! We get to do all the parts of having a family, being a family, and building a family. We get to adventure and make new memories, we get to have all the experiences, we get the highs and lows of being together.

As I reflect on age and marriage, to me maturity is more important than age. Age is a number that might not reflect a lot! But having a mature spirit, forgiving and gracious and a loving heart is all that is needed to make the marriage work, a lifelong commitment to one another, I made that commitment at 23! And I couldn’t be more happy with how my life is!

Too young to be married they told me, but I have loved every minute and wouldn't change it!