Being a military spouse has its pros and cons. One of the cons is the amount of time you spend apart from your spouse. Because of these extended separations, there have been long passages of time in my life where every day felt the same. I felt off. There really isn’t any other way to explain it. I felt like I was just running through the motions. I explain it as just surviving rather than thriving. I would just do what was necessary and then procrastinate everything else. These blocks of time are so hard to pull yourself out of on your own, which is why I had to figure out what I could do to start thriving while my husband was gone.
After almost 10 years of this cycle happening over and over, I figured out a few things to help me get through the “off” feeling a little easier.
Here are my suggestions:
- Find something to do that is your own. Something that you don’t need your significant other to do with you to enjoy. For me, it’s Muay Thai (kickboxing). It is my own thing. Try finding a class you like, or a hobby to do. Maybe hiking, or Zumba, or volunteering. It is always good to have something for yourself.
- Find a tribe of people who will support you. This can be extremely hard. It has taken me years of trial and error to be able to find a group of women I know I can count on. I have had friends break my heart, tear down my self-worth and make me question my whole personality. But don’t let the bad ones keep you from finding the good ones, because I have also had friends who have lifted me up and showed me that I am valuable. There are people out there that are meant to be your support system, it might just take a bit more time than you thought to find the correct people you need in your life. Don´t give up.
- Have something at home that makes you want to be there. Whether that is an animal (or 4), some plants, a super comfy bed, etc. Have something that makes you want to come home and gives you something to look forward to at the end of the day.
- Setup designated times to chat with people on the phone or video chat. Maybe every time you are driving somewhere for more than 15 minutes you call a family member, or you designate Saturday mornings as the day you call a friend.
- Spend time pampering yourself without any distractions. Get your nails done, take a hot bath, watch your favorite movie, etc.
Long distance relationships are difficult and frustrating but digging yourself out of the surviving mindset can be even harder. So, start small. Choose one or two of these ideas to try out. Once you pick out your favorite, try thinking about some small actionable steps to move forward towards the big end goal. It takes time, so make sure to give yourself some grace.
Let me know how it goes!