Parents and military spouses live with a lot of stress. Every day stress management tips can help alleviate some of the stress that this lifestyle creates- sometimes without you even realizing it. What we see as “normal” would send a lot of people speeding toward a breakdown.
Life comes with stressful events, especially for military families who experience frequent moves, family separations, solo parenting, unique employment challenges, and many other unpredictable situations and changes. Stress management tips can be used in every layer of stress, from low to high. Unfortunately, sometimes the stress builds before it is noticed, which is common when experiencing highly stressful situations. It is never too late to start managing your stress.
About one-third of people feel they are living with extreme stress. And almost half of them feel their stress has a negative impact on their personal and professional life. These 6 stress management tips can help to prevent and decrease stress and alleviate stress symptoms.
6 Everyday Stress Management Tips
Stress can lead to physical and emotional symptoms including headaches, depression, anxiety, insomnia, digestive issues, weakened immune system, and fertility problems. Taking deep breaths oxygenates the mind and body. It’s calming. It helps you to pause, slow down, and relieve stress. This can be done as many times as needed to feel relief. You may also want to pair it with Yoga.
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2Make a vent list.
Make a list of all the stressful situations. What is causing fear, frustration, anger, or even just a feeling of discomfort? Yes, it is okay to complain. It can be very healthy and beneficial if there are constructive steps taken after the complaining. To ensure this step doesn’t last too long or get out of hand, it may be a good idea to set a time limit. For example, decide to take no more than 10 or 15 minutes to make the list before focusing on improving the situations on the list.
3Identify the areas of control.
What situations on the vent list cannot be influenced or controlled at all? Take a few minutes to accept them and let them go. For example, the weather may be gloomy. That can’t be controlled, but it can be accepted, and maybe the weather will be less gloomy on a different day.
What situations on the vent list can be influenced at least partially? It may surprise you how many situations seem to be completely uncontrollable, but actually have at least one area of control. For example, being unhappy with a new duty station can lead to a lot of stress but considering what is causing those feelings and taking actions can lead to solutions.
4Make an opportunity or positive list.
This is where the magic happens. All the areas of control identified in the third step are opportunities to create positive outcomes. Make a list of at least three actions that can be taken for each opportunity. Going back to the duty station example, what can be done to make it a more positive experience? What would bring happiness? Maybe that means going to social events to make new friends, finding a fun hobby that is realistic at the new location, or even making a plan to visit family and friends in other locations. This can be turned into a game to positively influence as many stressful situations as possible. Every hardship can be an opportunity.
5Toss the vent list.
After the opportunity list is created, there is no reason to keep the vent list. Rip it or crumple it up in a ball and get rid of it. This process releases negativity and tension and allows for more focus on the positive changes to come.
6Set dates or deadlines to the opportunity list.
Now go back to the opportunity list. When would it be realistic to complete the actions on the opportunity list? Planning and scheduling them helps to ensure they will become reality. Choose the most important actions and put them on the calendar first.
Bonus Tip for Stress Management:
It may be beneficial to do relaxation exercises to calm the mind and body and relieve or prevent stress. This can be done by closing the eyes, taking deep, calming breaths, focusing on relaxing all the muscles from head to toe, and visualizing the body and mind relaxing. More detailed information about stress-relieving relaxation exercises can easily be found online.
If you aren’t careful, stress can take over your life. As a military spouse and a parent, you need to be at the top of your game to take care of your family. Using these stress management tips to help eliminate stressors where you can will help you get there. And it’ll help you be happy. Happiness is good.
Resources: The American Institute of Stress