When the Whole World Is Stressful, Keep Calm and Military Spouse On

No matter where you land on the political spectrum, one thing that unites military spouses is our ability to worry. We worry about our service members, our children and what's to come -- our habit of not obeying the meme. We do not keep calm.

With the current political climate, it's hard to keep a handle on the 'what's to come?' part of the equation. I've joked recently that I feel like watching our government is like watching the longest tennis match ever, with our heads snapping left to right as we follow the ball -- and we're all getting a terrible case of whiplash. Every week there's a new potential conflict and thus, a new reason to worry about what it could mean for our loved ones.

It's stressful.

In spite of said stress, what do we do?

What our community does best.

Pull ourselves up by our figurative bootstraps and try not to let anyone see us sweat. We can't stand when a civilian tells us that 'this is what you signed up for,' but admittedly, in quiet moments we've all said it to ourselves in a (sad) attempt to get a handle on whatever situational obstacle is before us.

But there's something about war.

Trainings, TDYs, the next PCS, not being able to find xyz at our next duty station...we all accept these issues with little frustration. However, the thought of another conflict? Well, T.T. Robinson said it best in this article: Yes, we're scared of more war. And everyday there's a new headline.



North Korea.

Those are on top of the ongoing situations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

While these are the current military spouse's worries, I'd venture to say that the accompanying anxiety of us being at war (or more war, rather), is never far from any military spouse's mind, no matter if it's a time of peace. And I don't know about you, but I simply cannot fall down the rabbit hole of worry. No one has time for that! So what should we do when we feel ourselves starting to fret about it?

3 Ways to Keep Calm

Give yourself permission to block the source. Are you watching the news? Or scrolling through Facebook when {bam!}, the latest headline about Naval ships heading toward the Korean Peninsula or the president considering troops on the ground in Syria is all up in your newsfeed, then all up in your head.

Give yourself permission to turn it off, or keep scrolling. A favorite mantra in our house is, "We'll cross that bridge when we have to, and right now we don't have to." It works amazingly well for many situations, from parenting a child with ever-evolving special needs to questioning if the day will come when you're dealing with deployments to Syria. For your sanity's sake: Keep calm and just say "no"

When all else fails, find a distraction. If you've ever parented a toddler or raised a puppy (two totally different things, but follow me here) you have quickly mastered the art of distraction. The same technique that spares your kid from having a meltdown in the commissary is what can redirect your mind from straight panic to giving a mean performance of Single Ladies (a la Beyonce circa 2009) in the middle of your kitchen.

Or perhaps, that's just me.

A new book, a phone call to that friend you've been meaning to catch up with, a trip to Target for some retail therapy -- whatever your idea of escapism -- do that thing.

Keep calm: Prayer and/or meditation. Some of us are at our best when we feel connected to our beliefs. I'm a Christian, and I have a diverse group in my squad from all backgrounds. One of the rituals that I've developed over the years is keeping a notebook of all my friends with deployed spouses. Every morning when I wake up, part of my prayer time is praying Psalms 91 over that notebook, as I'm reading their names. It's my thing and it helps me feel better.

Your thing might be meditation, yoga, taking a bubble bath or just clearing your mind while trying to gain peace and clarity over tea or coffee. Whatever your thing, when you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed with worry, keep calm by doing what brings you the most peace.

That's the goal -- to bring you some semblance of peace in an era where it seems to not exist. And while constant conflict might be true on the world-wide stage, in your little corner of the Earth -- where we don't control much, we can control our thoughts and minds.

We can protect our peace.


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