How do you handle stressful situations? I’ve learned a few tips, techniques, and ways to manage stress in my life. I thought I’d share 6 that are specific to spouses, and 21 other tips that have been extremely helpful! Enjoy these and I hope you can take a few and use them to reduce the stress in your life today.
6 ways to manage stress
- Workout for free at the gym on base. Don’t bother pressuring your finances by paying for a gym membership. Base gyms are free to use and typically provide free weights, classes, cardio machines and usually a gymnasium, though facilities vary from base to base. Some even have racquet ball courts. Also, I don’t know if this is widespread or just in Misawa, Japan, but when I went to visit my hubby there during deployment, I got a massage at the base gym. It was amazing and very reasonably priced. It was an air force base so I’m not sure if it’s AF specific to have a massage therapist on hand, or if they just had them at that particular base. But it was great!
- Check out other base amenities. My friend who had school-age children used to take her kids to an activity center on base. They could get in for free and it had a huge play structure and other fun things for kids to do. It was all indoors too, which was vital in Washington State. This really saved her a lot of stress. She would meet her friends there, and the kids would play while the ladies chatted. You never know what your base might have available to you until you look into it!
- See a counselor for free: If you’re dealing with high levels of stress, it can really help to talk to someone about it. Contact the base chaplain or fleet & family services for free counseling.
- Create a routine for your every day activites: When you eat, go to bed, get up, workout, etc. Routines can help regulate your body’s rhythms and help you feel more at ease. If you keep things as much the same as possible, especially for children, it can ease a lot of stress in the process. When hubby got back, we had a 7 month old daughter that he’d only been around for the first two weeks of her life. As he re-adjusted to life at home, he was adjusting to being a dad and learning about daughter’s routines. He took a few days to watch and learn, and he helped out slowly but surely. It helped us all to have some structure to our days so we could incorporate Dad into the mix without changing everything.
- Go out on the town with your command wives (I realize that this can cause stress or relieve it, so you’ll have to use your judgement here lol). Get a babysitter and go out with the girls. You may even just go with a few ladies from your squadron, not the whole group. You don’t have to go crazy to have a good time. It’s all about getting out of the house, having girl time and introducing some fun back into your life.
- Go out on the town with another command’s wives and meet people outside your normal circles. Once during deployment, I went with a couple friends to another squadron’s painting event (we were invited). We had dinner, drinks and painted canvases together. It was a blast! I met a couple of people and it was nice to be out with a different crowd. Their wives group was a lot more rowdy and loud than ours was and it was a lot of fun.
21 more tips for calming your anxious mind
- Go to bed early.
- Take B vitamins.
- Get a massage or use a hand-held massage tool to soothe aching muscles.
- Use the 4-7-8 breathing technique. Breathe in for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 7, breathe out for a count of 8, repeat 4x. (If you start to feel light-headed, be sure to adjust times and breathe more frequently and/or don’t hold your breath for as long.) This is great if you feel panicky or short of breath.
- Talk to a friend– everyone needs to vent!
- Exercise– Yoga, walking, running, lifting weights, zumba and other fitness classes are energizing and healthy ways to manage stress.
- Trade babysitting days with a mom friend to have all the children for 2 hrs one week, then that mom takes all the kids the next week for 2 hrs.
- Listen to your favorite calming music.
- Eat nutritious meals and/or supplement your diet with a protein shake or green veggie powder drink (nutrients help body function at more optimal levals).
- Exercise for 30 minutes at least 3 times per week. If you have cable you can often use free On Demand fitness programs. They have some great ones which vary by your cable company. Some are even short 10 minute ones that are great for a quick workout. You could do three different 10 minute ones to get in your 30 min, even spreading it throughout the day.
- Remove an activity from your day to allow for more down time and less hectic running around.
- Read a good book or magazine. It’s a great distraction from thinking about your problems.
- Avoid the news and other stress-inducing shows like murder mysteries or thrillers, esp if home alone during deployment.
- Get Organized– Clean up your clutter and enjoy a peaceful environment
- Take a Stress Score test to help you evaluate and validate your levels of anxiety. Learn when it’s vital to take action to reduce stress and avoid stress-related illness.
- Pursue spiritual interests- Read the Bible (esp Psalms), go to church, a small group Bible study, or follow your spiritual interests in some other way. Spiritual health is just as important as other aspects of health (physical, emotional etc).
- Attend a mom’s group or hobby group to meet and connect with others. Having community and the support of friends are great ways to manage stress.
- Take a calming bath with epsom salt and lavender essential oil.
- Reduce substances such as alcohol, nicotine, caffeine & sugar.
- Have a quiet time or meditation time each day.
- Laugh more– Watch a comedy, videos on youtube, funny blog posts, etc.