The holidays can be a tough time for many families, especially military families. Parties, dinner guest, out-of-town relatives visiting, and countless other factors make this time of year a little hard to manage. Add in alcohol, PTSD, or reintegration issues, and it’s a recipe for disaster—and not just for the service member.
Military spouses face their fair share of difficulties, like the stress of living up to Pinterest-level perfection during the holidays. Others find themselves arguing with their spouse over trivial things that wouldn’t matter any other time of year. How do we deal with it all?
Our friends at The Real Warriors Campaign have 3 important tips that will help, not just around the holidays, but all the time.
- Strive for progress, not perfection. Real life isn’t a Pinterest photo, and comparison will ruin any good holiday cheer. It’s important for all members of the family to remember that progress is the goal…not perfection. And some days, progress will stall. That’s okay. Strive to move forward at your own ATTAINABLE pace, not perfection’s ridiculous unattainable pace.
- Seek care early. If something feels off, it probably is. Letting internal battles fester only creates longer lasting, more difficult obstacles to overcome. Talk with your spouse about what factors would have to be present to get care, and figure out what ‘care looks like. Mental, physical, and emotional care are available for all members of the family.
- Ask for help when needed. And know there is NO shame in doing it. Military spouses and children often face higher levels of anxiety than their civilian counterparts, and can easily find counselors through the Military Health System or on-base counseling center to help work through mental anguish. Service members have the same options, and a plethora of other resources, like The Real Warriors Campaign. Getting help, even if it’s just someone to listen to a gripe, is accessible and can be life-saving.
As you gather with family, friends, and loved ones this holiday season, prepare yourself for situations that might be uncomfortable. Team up with your spouse and tackle boundaries that need to be set, and know that these 3 simple tips can help. Just ask SFC David Parish.
How does your family deal with the stress of the holidays?
Posted by Shannon Prentice, Content Development Manager