October 18, 2019
We’re just a few months away from welcoming yet another holiday season and another decade.
But maybe you’re feeling less than excited because, well, this was the year the military decided to uproot you and plant you in unfamiliar territory once again.
With no choice but to part ways with treasured friendships, local favorites, and quite possibly a trusted job, your life probably still feels a bit chaotic. (Much like that unpacked box labeled “Misc.” with items scattered all over, which you’ve obviously had zero spare time to deal with while attempting to throw a smile on and rock a positive perspective for your milfam.)
Yeah, it doesn’t always come easy. When you miss your old community, it’s difficult to be okay with the change in scenery. So if you need a pick-me-up, we’re sharing ways you can balance your thinking around your recent transition. Want to give it a go?
Let’s dive right in…
1. Allow yourself to feel.
Sometimes, you might think it’s easiest if you avoid your feelings entirely and “keep on keepin’ on.” But, we’re sure you can guess that throwing on the avoidance shield rarely works out in your favor. In fact, according to a study from the University of Texas, when we avoid our emotions, we actually intensify them.
And, as mindbodygreen explains, “Whether you are experiencing anger, sadness, grief, or frustration, pushing those feelings aside actually leads to physical stress on your body. Studies show that holding in feelings has a correlation to high cortisol—the hormone released in response to stress—and that cortisol leads to lower immunity and toxic thinking patterns.”
So, in short, allow yourself to feel what you feel. If you’re feeling sad, anxious, or upset, take notice of it and recognize that it’s okay not to be okay. Don’t critique yourself just because you haven’t acclimated to your new duty station location as quickly as Beth or Dan. You’ll then be able to let your feelings go, in time, because you’ve recognized them to their fullest extent.
2. Avoid playing the blame game.
This factual nugget goes hand-in-hand with the previous. While it’s essential to recognize how you feel about the changes that have happened in your life, avoid playing the blame game. You know how the story goes:
- “If my spouse weren’t in the military, I wouldn’t be forced to move all the time to less-than-stellar locations. And I could be closer to my family.”
- “If we weren’t forced to move during the middle of the school year, my family wouldn’t be having such a difficult time with enrollment and registration.”
As tough of a concept it may be to swallow, own your emotions, and realize that the more significant the change, the stronger the emotion. Yes, our emotions show up, in part, due to our surroundings or stressors, and you can interpret them in many ways. But even if your feelings are justified, they’re still yours. You have the power to take control of them, so they don’t control you, and, thus, influence your reactions in a negative way.
3. Focus on the adventure ahead vs. the battle.
As Leon Brown once said, “You fear change, yet you forget that life is an adventure, nothing stays the same, everything changes or we become stagnant.”
While change can be downright terrifying, we find adventure and growth by escaping the walls of our comfort zone. So, while the battle ahead seems rigorous at a new location—finding a home, new job, good school for your milkids, making friends, and familiarizing yourself to your new surroundings, balance your thinking by focusing on the adventure.
Envision the new friendships you’ll have the opportunity to cultivate. The new experiences your family will get to have. And the more exceptional memories to add to the mix (the incredible kind and the “we’ll laugh about it later” kind!).
4. Encourage an open, kind dialogue with your milfam.
Let’s face it – a new community can bring out the best, and worst, in your milfam. Talk about an influx of emotions and frustrations and confusions. That said, offer up opportunities for “family meetings” (or this can take place at dinner). It’ll get everyone talking about how they’re feeling. Be sure to express kindness and sympathy towards each other throughout the entire process. You’ll come out the other side, together, and stronger than ever.
5. Phone a friend.
Sometimes, you just need to talk to a fellow spouse who’s been through a very similar journey. Maybe you recall them sharing a trying PCS experience with you or you know that he or she is currently missing his or her old community right now, too. So give them a call and chat through it! No matter how lonely it may seem at times, we’re in this together.
Ready to increase your sense of belonging and connectedness to your new community?
We’re eager to support you and empower you to thrive, no matter where you may be on your journey as a military family. Click here to become a member of Blue Star Families for free today, and get access to local events and resources to enhance your military life. We can’t wait to welcome you.