We already told you what you should STOP doing in your military life. That was so easy. We are all so good at picking apart our current performance (and the current performance of others--including that lady at the Exchange with the leopard skin leggings with the giant hole in the thigh).
But how about all the things you should START doing? What about all those positive good things you mean to do but never seem to get around to actually doing?
That is a little harder. But it is so worth doing. The research says that the kind of goals that increase your community feeling or physical fitness or satisfying relationships or even self acceptance really do increase your well-being and reduce your anxiety and depression.
Luckily for you, our audience at the Spouse Experience at Joint Base Lewis McChord came through with these suggestions.
1. Start showing a little more compassion.
If we military spouses have one thing in common it is that we are so hard on ourselves. And we can also be kinda hard on other people. Today practice a little compassion and understanding on yourself and other people. Everything is going to be OK. Really.
2. Start loving where you live now.
Every duty station cannot be Italy or Oahu. Even Oahu is not always Oahu. Wherever you are stationed, decide you are going to enjoy the area and visit the sites. Make your own top 10 list of places to eat. Photograph the flora and fauna. Dress just like the natives--including eyewear. Live a little, people.
3. Start attending more local social events.Part of loving where you live now is knowing where you live now. Get to know the natives by participating in their festivals. Artichoke festival? Been there. Strawberry Gala? Done that. Mardi Gras in New Orleans? Get the coconut to prove it. Just don't indulge in the King Cake. Trust me.
4. Start investing in the power of fathers.More than 72% of our SpouseBuzz readers say that their husbands are good fathers. Others say that their husbands just need a little more time at home with their kids. Talk to your husband about what he likes about the way he is fathering your kids and what he would like to do different. Stay-at-home dads in your unit often have great parenting tips.
5. Start spending time with the right people.
Who are the "right" people? In high school, you might have thought the right people were the cool people or the status-y people or the rich people. In military life, the right people are the ones that when you are with them, you feel better, happier, freer. They are people who laugh with you and cry with you and bring the celebration in a (paint) can.
6. Start going native.
It is so easy to get in a rut. And in military life it is so easy to get out of one. Join one of the many groups on your base who are doing something that sounds just a little bit interesting and fantastically local. White water rafting. Cross country skiing. Cooking with teenagers. Dancing in parades in a kimono. Go for it.
7 . Start acting on your good intentions.
There is a kind of therapy out there that posits that people already know how to solve their problems. They just need some encouragement to do what they already know is right. What do you know you need to do?
8. Start celebrating the joys of others.They say that it isn't how friends react during your hardships that matter. What matters is how they react when you have something to celebrate. There are people all around you celebrating homecomings and new houses and beautiful babies and graduations and falling in love. Genuinely enjoy their joys.
9. Start enjoying your independence."Happiness is a large, loving, caring, close-knit family--living in another state," quipped George Burns. Sometimes we military families can feel like we are so far from our extended families that we can feel cast adrift. Take advantage of the distance and start making your own family traditions.
10. Start attending more spouse events--starting with Military.com's The Spouse Experience.If you are determined to start living a better military life, please, please, please come do it with us. We love military spouses and we are announcing new shows all the time. Check here to see if Spouse X is coming to a base near you.