Ah, spring. Flowers blooming, birds chirping, sun shining. It’s the time of year to really soak in the beauty and changing of the seasons. And then, for some of us military family folk, there is PCS season. Spring sets the stage for not only the upcoming summer, but for military families around the globe. It’s time to pack up, move out, and settle in for the adventure that lies before us. It’s not really a time when we’re thinking about our personal wellness goals.
This year, our family contributes to the forty percent of military family moves occurring in the summer time, and this year, we move with two children under the age of three. Woohoo!
Being a military spouse, I can attest that relocation can be one of the more stressful things we go through. The reasons why are plentiful and they vary depending on the nature and timing of the move. We have challenges and this is why it is so very important for us, with all the hats we wear in this military spouse life, to take care of ourselves.
You won’t be able to help others if you don’t take care of yourself first.
This is true in so many aspects of life, and yet, it seems like one of the more difficult things for us, as women, as mothers, as mil-spouses to do. We have this code built into our minds telling us we must do everything, take care of it all, take care of everyone, and make it appear as though it were easy.
I say this because not only have I been there, but it is something I still sometimes struggle with, and I know so many of my military spouse friends do as well.
So, how do we take care of ourselves amidst one of the more stressful times of our military family journey? With May being Women’s Health Month and with many of us preparing to endure another PCS, or having the kids being home for the summer, I want to share with you some tactics to help you take care of yourself while you’re taking care of business.
You might be thinking that now is not the time to start pursuing wellness goals. Wouldn’t it be better to wait until the PCS is over, or the insanity of the end of the school year passes, or January? The answer is no. Now is the time. Here’s how to establish and execute your goals a little at a time to make now a good time to start.
When we talk about taking care of yourself, one of the most important things to do is to schedule yourself some “me time.” Take a moment before your week begins and really look at your schedule, capitalize on the pockets of time you have, and outline time specifically for you to work on your goals.
Identify things you enjoy doing for yourself that help improve your mental or physical state.
For example, do you like to relax by listening to a meditation track or reading a book? Do you enjoy getting a workout in? Do you want to have a healthy breakfast before the morning hustle to get out the door begins?
After you have identified what you want to do and when you will do it, make it a priority. Make it a non-negotiable part of your day, like a doctor’s appointment. Don’t be a no-show to these self-scheduled appointments. You deserve this time, and it is more than okay to take it!
My tip for setting a sustainably solid goal is to start small and build consistency over time. For example, if you want to increase your activity, plan to get up 15 minutes early three days this week to go for a walk. Once you have completed this consistently for a couple weeks, you can add another day or more time and continue to build from there.
Summer may require you to adjust your routine, but the key is to start now. Get into the routine of giving yourself this time before the kiddos are home for the summer or before you take that long road trip across the country. The more momentum you build up through being consistent and deliberate with your time and actions, the more you will see the value of making and taking this time for yourself.
Cheers to a healthy spring and adopting healthy habits to carry you through your PCS and summertime!
Rachael Meyer is a military spouse, boy mom of two, native Pennsylvanian, and women’s health and wellness coach. She earned her graduate degree in health promotion and exercise science and is an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer, which has allowed her to pursue her passion of helping women reach their wellness goals all over the globe.