Tag Archives: reintegration

4 Ways to Manage Holiday Stress without Being a Grinch

The holiday season can be stressful for even the most organized, intentional, or laid back person. Take me, for instance. There’s a little over 3 weeks left until Christmas and I have no tree, no Christmas lights, and I have a permanent ban on the radio stations that play Christmas music 24/7. My holiday decorations aren’t organized, I have no space in my apartment for a 9 foot tree, and so to deal, I just put a moratorium on Christmas like a textbook Grinch.

Maybe the holidays bring about these same emotions in you, too? Military life is stressful enough as it is, add a loved one’s absence, issues reintegrating after a deployment, or even dysfunctional family dynamics, and it’s bound to trigger the Grinch in anyone.

Ba-hum-bug.

It’s normal for a service member to have trouble ‘fitting in’ with their own family after a long deployment, or even upon transitioning out of the military. Reintegration is a process, and there are tons of resources to help—even for children and spouses.

If the holidays are a stressful time for your family, consider these tips:

  1. Mentally prepare yourself for the holidays. The Real Warriors Campaign suggests considering what makes you uncomfortable; certain people, triggering questions, small or crowded spaces, even crying kids can be a damper. Think about what you may say to questions about tough topics, like deployments, and consider how you will deescalate emotions when they surface.
  2. Know what your children are feeling. Military life isn’t easy for even the littlest heroes, so when life changes and a parent leaves (or comes home), their adjustment can be tough, too. In fact, one in four military kids will suffer from depression, so knowing how your child might think, or process emotions—like testing the rules, or isolating themselves—can ease the stress in your home.
  3. Stay active and engaged. It’s easy for some of us to deal with stress by isolating ourselves, or refusing to take part in activities. Try an activity you know you’d enjoy, like that kickboxing class you’ve been considering, and relieve some frustration. Stay connected to your trusted circle of family and friends, and encourage yourself to engage with them, rather than isolating yourself. If something gets uncomfortable, refer back to #1, or this next tip.
  4. Know when to say no. Though it may seem like a double-edged sword, this is the best tip, in my opinion. Talk out with your spouse and kids where you want to spend your time this holiday season. If a certain event is notoriously hectic, consider skipping it. Your time is valuable, and so is your sanity. Choose wisely, and know that saying no is okay. Your loved ones will understand and respect your boundaries.

The hustle and bustle of the holidays is undoubtedly a stress-filled time for some. But the stress can be manageable, and with a few tips and tricks, even the coldest Grinch heart can grow three sizes and the true meaning of the holidays can come through—get ready for all the feels!

For more tips and resources about managing holiday stress, check out the Real Warriors Campaign.

What tips help your family deal with holiday stress?

shannonPosted by Shannon Prentice, Content Development Manager

Help Therapy Animals Heal Military Families Today!

therapy-dogs-webAnyone who has ever loved an animal knows how powerful and healing its presence can be.

Specially-trained therapy animals are a tremendous help to military families recovering from war and separation at our Operation Purple® camps and retreats. These families have sacrificed so much, and they struggle with uncertainty and other stress.

Therapy animals—including cuddly cats, loving dogs, gentle horses, and others—help military families break down barriers they can’t themselves. These nurturing animals provide a sense of calm for adults and kids often surrounded by stress. And they lend a feeling of “home.” They allow service members to reconnect, talk more openly about their fears and needs, and solidify fragile bonds with their spouses and children at our camps and retreats.

Please help more military families heal from the physical and emotional wounds of war through the comforting presence of therapy animals today. Donate now!

Has an animal or pet ever helped comfort you through a difficult time?

MyMilitaryLife app for military families – updates and a new look!

MyMilitaryLife app for military families - updates and a new look!Have you seen the new updates to MyMilitaryLife? We now offer four new Life Paths—Raising Kids, Having a Baby, Moving, and Reintegration. Remember to answer the new questions that pop up when you visit these Life Paths and be sure to regularly update your profile information in order to have customized content available to you and your family. The more you fill out your profile, the better MyMilitaryLife can tailor information to your life.

In addition to four new Life Paths, we’ve also been working on a new look for the App! The new design features a swipe action and larger images to make it easier to navigate and discover the answers you’ve been looking for. Just swipe your finger right to left to progress to the next Life Path. Once in a Life Path look to the top left of the screen for easy access to the menu that includes your profile, favorites, alerts, help, and a shortcut to other Life Paths.

To get the latest look and additional Life Paths be sure to update your MyMilitaryLife App today. Android users will see the app updates automatically, but iPhone users must manually update the MyMilitaryLife App.

If you loved the old design, don’t worry – in the upper right hand corner of the App is an option to go back to the previous look. Personally, I love the new look and how user friendly it is to swipe from one Life Path to the next.

If you haven’t downloaded MyMilitaryLife, do so today to receive personalized to-do lists to help you navigate the many adventures of military life. MyMilitaryLife is available for free on Android, iPhone, and an online portal at www.MyMilitaryLife.org.

What do you love most about the new upgrade?

simmoneBy Simmone Quesnell, Content Specialist for MyMilitaryLife at the National Military Family Association