Military wife life comes with some unique challenges, from coping with deployments to dealing with the day-to-day stresses of life in the military. Fortunately, over the past 15 years (and after A LOT of trial and error), I’ve discovered how to take care of myself to avoid becoming an unhappy military wife. Want to know my secret? It all starts in your mind–your thoughts quite literally determine whether you’re going to be an unhappy military wife or thrive during your spouse’s deployments and beyond.
Is It Hard Being a Military Wife?
Being a military wife certainly isn’t easy.
- You’re away from your spouse for months, even years, at a time, and you miss them.
- When your spouse is gone, you assume the role of a single parent.
- You want to support your family without having to put your career, dreams, and aspirations on the back burner.
However, it doesn’t have to be miserable. Most of the women I coach feel like they’re becoming unhappy military wives because they feel out of control of their circumstances–like their life is happening to them. They’ve lost themselves, and I went through that very same experience.
It is so easy to lose parts of yourself as a military wife because you have to make room for other things you need to do. Between your marriage, kids, deployment, work, and everything else, you no longer make time for things you want to do and things you enjoy doing. When you go throughout each day without spending time doing things you love, it is so easy to become unhappy, unsatisfied, and unmotivated. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can take care of you without neglecting your other responsibilities. Doing so will help you avoid becoming an unhappy military wife.
How to Avoid Becoming an Unhappy Military Wife
What do you like to do for fun? Do you know? When my nephew asked me that question a few years ago, I didn’t have a good answer. Reading, taking a nap, watching TV–sure, I enjoyed those things, but they didn’t set my heart on fire or make me feel alive. They are simply what I felt like I had the time, energy, and money to do. But if you don’t make time to do things you love, you’re more likely to experience unhappiness. To avoid becoming an unhappy military wife–or an unhappy person in general–you must rediscover who you are and…
- Make room in your life for more things you love to do.
- Be willing to try new things to see if you love doing them.
- Pick up old things you used to love to do and spend time doing them.
- Do things you are good at and learn to love them.
You also must be willing to…
- Try new things and be bad at them at first.
- Try something again.
- Ask for help.
- Ask someone to teach you something new.
- Say “yes” when an opportunity arises.
- Get out of your comfort zone.
Now this all might feel a bit overwhelming–like you have no idea where to start because it’s been so long since you’ve thought about what you love. You might even be reading this thinking that you don’t love to do anything. You’re not a creative person, and trying something new sounds exhausting. I get that. I do. So, I’m going to break it down into four ways to start rediscovering yourself and what you love to avoid becoming an unhappy military wife and start thriving in your life.
1. Create a Master Inspiration List
Start a list in your phone’s “Notes” section or on a pad of paper you carry with you. Write down things you love to do and things you might want to do, try, or experience. If you see a Facebook post about ax throwing and think that sounds cool, write it down. If you come across a new recipe that looks delicious, write it down. You’re not committing to anything at this point, so you can write down anything and everything that sounds like something you might love. You can then refer to this list when it comes time to incorporate things you love into your life.
2. Write Down How You’ve Been Spending Your Free Time
Think over the past two to three months, and jot down how you’ve spent your time. Is there a balance between consumption activities, like watching TV, and intentional and creative activities that you love? By writing down how you spend your time and categorizing the activities between “consumption” and “creation,” you can identify when you’re out of balance–when there is more consumption than creation. If you notice such a pattern, you can start to adjust little by little and include more creative activities you love in your life. You’ll feel immediate benefits that will begin to ease the unhappiness you might be feeling.
3. Write a List of Things You’re Passionate About and Things You’re Really Good At
Take out a piece of paper and create two columns. In the left column, write down things you’re super passionate about or interested in, whether you’ve done them before or not. In the right column, write down things you’re really good at, even if they aren’t your favorite things in the world to do. Then, find where these two lists overlap. Even if you identify just one thing you’re passionate about and good at, that’s a great place to start. Start incorporating that one thing into your life daily. Commit to making time for it, and you’ll feel yourself start to come alive again. Even in the midst of deployments and parenting and working, you’ll begin to find yourself again. And that is a really amazing feeling.
If you’re having a hard time creating this list, ask yourself these questions:
- What do I find myself talking about a lot?
- What are my favorite memories?
- What do I miss doing?
- What are things I care about deeply?
- What am I doing when it feels like time flies?
- What do people tell me I’m great at doing?
- What have I done in the past that makes me feel alive?
You Don’t Have to Be an Unhappy Military Wife
If you want to be happy, excited about life, and motivated to accomplish big things, it all starts in your mind. You can create feelings of happiness by what you think. You can start to feel creative and inspired simply by adjusting your thoughts to think about things that breed those feelings. And the more inspired you feel, the more enjoyable it will be to do things you love and challenge yourself to try new things. I talk about all of this in-depth during my one-on-one life coaching sessions. If you’re tired of feeling stuck, unhappy, and uninspired in life, I’d love to journey with you to become the happiest, most fulfilled and satisfied military wife you can be. It’s possible–let’s chat to learn more!
For more on this topic, listen to Simply Resilient Podcast Episode 81 – Discovering Creativity!
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