Military families: Survival guide
Being a military family isn't easy. The stress of having your husband, wife, child or loved one deployed in the military can be overwhelming. Follow these tips to help keep in touch, reduce stress, find support and deal with the concerns of being a military family.
Send emails, care packages and good old fashioned hand-written letters as often as you can while your loved one is away. Keep him/her involved with the family as much as possible, taking part in important parenting decisions and celebrations. A large support group back home is very important to those who are deployed. Call often if he/she is located where phone calls are available. Don't be offended if a call is cut short -- the days are long, busy and tiring in the military.
Read about care packages for the troops >>
Take care of yourself
It's very important to take care of yourself back home. Eat right, exercise daily and get the proper amount of sleep. When you are stressed and worried, you are more likely to get sick and take longer to heal. A balanced diet will help boost your immune system and give you energy. Exercise will keep your body and mind in tip-top shape. Aim for eight hours of restful sleep each night -- for you and your kids.
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Join support groups dedicated to other military wives and families. Get together with them as often as you need. If possible, find six other military spouses in your area and make it a plan that everyone cooks one night a week. You'll enjoy great company and delicious food, plus the support will be fantastic. Use resources such as Military OneSource. Created by the Department of Defense, Military OneSource is a "one-stop shop" for service members and their family members for assistance in virtually any type of problem. It's available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year. This free service supports every phase of military life including deployment, parenting and child care, financial and legal advice, education and spouse employment, family counseling and much more. You can contact a live consultant at (800) 342-9647 or visit the Military OneSource website at militaryonesource.mil. They offer face-to-face counseling, telephone consultations, online consultations and a multitude of helpful articles and resources.
By maintaining a positive outlook, you'll set a good example for your family and also be able to continue to support your spouse or child while they are deployed. It's understandably difficult to be back at home while your loved one moves all around the country or world on dangerous missions. Lean on your family, friends and support team when you need it. Reduce your stress whenever you can and you'll be able to survive together as a military family.
Watch: Soldier homecoming surprises
A "best of" compilation of soldiers reuniting with their families.
Life vs. fiction
Want more on military moms? Check outa great read in the new SheKnows Book Lounge: Home Front by bestselling author Kristin Hannah, a new book about one military family struggling after an unexpected deployment threatens to tear this already-fragile family apart. Head to our new SheKnows Book Lounge now.