In today’s busy world, self-care has become a hot topic. For good reason! It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of looking after everyone else and putting yourself last, especially if you are a stressed out milspouse. What exactly should be part of your self-care routines? What is involved in it? Do you really need to meditate, or start doing yoga, or save for a weekly visit to the spa? No! When it comes down to it self-care is very simple. It comes down to three simple things: Emotional Well being, Physical Well being, and Spiritual Well being.
Take Care of Your Emotional Needs
Feeling anxious? Down? Just plain unheard? These are all parts of your emotional well-being. These feelings while may be an indication that your emotional needs aren’t being met. This can vary by person, we don’t all need the same things, so it’s important to take a look at your life and find out what exactly is bothering you. Do you feel like no one respects you because your family doesn’t listen to you? Or maybe you feel lonely because you are far away from your friends and family at a new duty station? Or maybe it’s a combination of well, everything? It sucks to feel like that, I know! But you don’t have to settle for these feelings. Find a new way of asking your family to put their dirty dishes in the sink instead of leaving them around, or go out and go to that unit event to meet new people, or join a new online group! There are many ways to overcome the challenges you are facing, find one that works for you!
Feeling stressed and overwhelmed? There’s a mantra for that!
Take Care of Your Physical Needs
If your physical well-being suffers, the rest of you is sure to suffer as well! One of the biggest benefits of my own fitness journey has been the emotional ones. I have felt much happier with myself because of the care and effort I have put into my physical wellness. Fitness doesn’t have to be about the scale, maybe it shouldn’t be like that at all, it’s about being proud of what you are capable of. What your body can do. Set aside some time to start working on your physical well-being. Maybe that means going to that doctor’s appointment you’ve put off, or going for an after dinner walk every day, or joining that rock climbing gym just like you’ve always wanted! Fitness doesn’t have to be spending your entire day in the gym. It can be yoga in your living room, a hike in a local park, a local rec soccer league, or dance lessons. Find a physical activity you enjoy, that’s key! No one will stick to a routine they hate, make it something you love.
Of course physical also means fueling your body right. We all know that junk food isn’t good for us, but damn, if it doesn’t taste good, and is so convenient! The struggle is real! But you don’t have to jump on a restrictive diet right away. The best changes are small, sustainable ones. Maybe that means cutting out soda, or calorie laden drinks, or tracking your food so you actually know how much you are really eating. Or no longer buying your favorite junk foods and keeping them in the house to reduce your temptations. Or switching up your meal routines, to include meatless Mondays! Start small, and make changes that you will be able to keep over the long run to build new, healthier habits.
Protip: Get a food scale! They are cheap and a great tool to help you ensure you are eating the portions you think you are.
Take Care of Your Spiritual Needs
It’s so easy to forget our spiritual well-being when mundane needs constantly rear their heads, but honoring our own spirituality can be a vital part of maintaining your own well-being. This could be taking the time to read your holy book, attending a meeting of like-minded individuals, attending a church, walking in nature, performing a ritual, meditating or practicing yoga. Whatever it is that feeds your soul and spirit, that’s what you need to make time for. In this area, milspouses and military families face another challenge that can be quite difficult to overcome: lack of spiritual resources. Different areas have their own spiritual landscape and moves to a new duty station can present the difficulties of finding a new group that meshes with your own beliefs. This can leave us feeling disconnected to our spiritual centers and be very discouraging. Don’t let this deter you! Practice on your own if you cannot find a group or seek out online resources, or simply follow your own heart and do what feels right for you.
It’s hard out there for a witch. Looking for pagan resources? Try these!
Self-care starts with taking care of your emotional, physical and spiritual needs. By addressing your own self-care needs you can better take care of yourself, and your friends, family and community. If you are struggling with your self-care practice start with the basics. Look at each of these areas in your own life and think about ways you can bring changes to your life that will help you overcome the struggles you face. You deserve it.