“Today was a f***ing terrible day,” said my friend.
Despite what was visible on her Facebook page, reality was filled with tears and tantrums from three little boys. Each one of them pushing her closer to the edge and testing her patience as a solo parent.
She was enduring her fifth deployment in 10 years.
“I’m so over it,” she’d say. “I’m over missing my husband. Over the anxiety of the unknown. Over the resentment of a lost career. And over shouldering the lion’s share of household work.”
Sound familiar? I’ve been there. You’ve been there. We’ve all been there. Sometimes the realities of this life hurt. Like — literally and physically hurt. There’s no shame in admitting it.
So, what if I told you there was a program designed just for you? A program that helps you address the hardships of military life and helps you find balance?
Well, if you’re a military spouse stationed at Ft. Riley, it’s your lucky day. In 2014, InDependent introduced you to our research partners at Kansas State University Department of Kinesiology and the Institute of Health and Security for Military Families. You may have even participated in one of their surveys or focus groups. Now for the BIG news.
FINALLY — we’re thrilled to announce that the project we’ve been working on for the past year has come to fruition! It’s called InDependent but Not Alone: A Journey to Finding Balance for Military Spouses.
Here’s the deal. A year ago, we were awarded a community engagement grant to build a program specifically for military spouses. We built the program and now we’re recruiting 100 Fort Riley spouses to volunteer and help us test it out! Check out the program and register here. Participation in this research project is voluntary. You will complete surveys at the beginning and the end of the program so the research team can evaluate what works and continue to improve it in the future. If the program is a success, we plan to expand our efforts nationally.
We’re excited because this type of program is so, so needed. Military spouses are fierce advocates for our families and service members, but when it comes to ourselves — well that’s a different story. Often, our needs are pushed to the back burner. (Or locked-up in a basement without a key.) This type of neglect erodes us. It can eat at our psyche, and lead to depression and stress. And let’s face it. When we’re not happy, NO ONE is happy.
But even more importantly, when we’re stressed, we neglect the behaviors that keep us healthy, like eating well and staying active. As primary caretakers for our families, we — and quite frankly our nation — cannot afford for us to go down because of lack of self-care. InDependent but Not Alone: A Journey to Finding Balance for Military Spouses is a first step in creating a wellness program, defined broadly to include a mind/body approach. Think emotional and social well-being plus physical activity and nutrition. And, Fort Riley spouses get to help lead the way!
Not stationed at Ft. Riley? You can still be part of this program by spreading the word! Tell your friends and family there. Registration is now open. Last day to register is Wednesday, April 6. The program starts Saturday, April 9 with a kick-off party. For questions about this research program, please email Emily Miley, Kansas State University Department of Kinesiology assistant professor.