Settling in for the night after an emotional day of saying goodbye to my spouse once again, I wrap my hands around a warm cup of chamomile tea and let out a sigh of contentment as I think to myself, “I wish I knew then what I know now.”
“I wish I had known how to embrace the ‘ALONE’ and not dread it.”
Thirteen years of being a military spouse have taught me a lot, but during my first few years of being married to a military man, I wasn’t breathing out sighs of contentment. I was breathing out sighs of exhaustion. I was lonely, stressed, and I seemed to feel the weight of the world on my shoulders on a daily basis. I spent most of my time in survival mode.
In a conversation with a close friend who was also a military spouse, I complained about the fact that my husband was gone so much. Being a single parent, dealing with everyday issues, household problems, and making all decisions on my own was exhausting.
Her response was, “You’ll get used to it.”
At the time, those words seemed almost cruel to me, “How do you get used to never being with your husband? How do you get used to always being a parent alone? How do you get used to being the only one responsible for running an entire household?”
In time, I did get used to being alone. I no longer dread those times; instead, I embrace them!
Whether you are a new or seasoned military spouse, I am here to tell you that being “ALONE” is an experience you can learn to embrace. Here are some tips from other military spouses and myself on how to embrace being “ALONE” and not dread it, so that you can sit down, sip a warm cup of tea, and let out a sigh of contentment too.
TIPS YOU CAN START USING TODAY
1. Create a Different Routine
- You have one less person to plan around on a daily basis, but possibly more responsibilities. So come up with a new routine that fits your current situation.
It seems like in the military, routines change quite often. This is when you need to embrace the fact that you can make your routine and schedule anything you want it to be. Take time to figure out what works best for you while you are handling daily life on your own.
“Having a routine will lower your anxiety because there’s no conscious thought in the everyday details of life. When you’re not worried about the daily grind, it can help you have more energy and be adaptable to the unexpected.” Samantha Dutton, PhD
- Create a weekly to-do list
Figure out what’s important and needs to be done each day, and write your daily to-do list. Then decide what things can be done throughout the week, whenever there is time.
Check off your to-do lists as you complete each task. At the end of the day and week, you will be able to see how much you have accomplished.
“Always be proud of yourself, you are doing your best!”
- Ask for help
- Hire a babysitter/hourly care
- Grocery delivery
- House cleaning
You are only one person! If there is something in your daily/weekly life that you can outsource, then take advantage of the people and resources you have available to you.
4. Date Yourself
- Coffee shop date
- Lunch or dinner date
- Movie night
Meet a friend for some good conversation, or go out on your own. A good book can make a great companion while out at a coffee shop, lunch, or dinner. Learn to embrace the time you have alone by taking yourself out. It’s amazing what you will learn about yourself if you take the time to get to know yourself. The only way to do this is to learn to enjoy your moments of being alone.
Once a week, plan a movie night for yourself. Pick your favorite movie or one you’ve been wanting to see, buy some popcorn, ice cream, or wine, sit back, and enjoy the movie.
You are only as good as you feel. When we have everyday stresses weighing on us, it’s important for us to find time to care for ourselves. Self-care is so important for becoming a better version of ourselves and reducing stress. We all know how important exercise, sleep, and relaxation time are when it comes to our mental and physical health. Don’t forget to put time aside each day or week to pamper yourself as well.
WHAT I KNOW NOW THAT I DIDN’T KNOW THEN
I didn’t need to be a super mom or super wife all the time. I just needed to do my best. By doing my best I became a better wife and mother, a better version of myself. I learned I was stronger than I had ever been and that I wasn’t alone. There are military wives all over the world who understand what it’s like to be alone, and sometimes you just need to find someone with experience to talk to and give you tips.
I hope that some or all of these tips will help you embrace the “ALONE” and not dread it!
Michelle Ann is a proud military spouse to a Navy Diver and homeschool mom to her three energetic boys. She has a Bachelor’s in Language Arts and Psychology along with a Master’s in Elementary Education. She is a writer and the owner of Embrace Life Writing Agency. She loves to encourage military families by volunteering for the content team at InDependent. Her philosophy over the years has become, “Embrace Life” because you never know what opportunities will come your way!