Have you ever felt the knot of fear in your stomach as your partner deploys, leaving you to manage everything on the home front? Of course, you support and are proud of your spouse, but you also experience military spouse anxiety as you plan for months without him. As a military wife and resilience life coach, I’ve been in those anxious shoes and have walked that lonely road. But what if I told you it’s possible to transform your military wife anxiety and fear into freedom? Keep reading to learn the strategies that have helped me build resilience on this journey!
How to Overcome Anxiety and Fear as a Military Spouse
If the worry, the waiting, and the constant change of military life leave you feeling anxious, it’s time to build your resilience. Building resilience is how to overcome anxiety and fear that creeps up, especially leading up to and during your spouse’s deployment. You’re stronger than you think, and with a bit of resilience, you can minimize the military spouse anxiety you experience.
You see, resilience is like a muscle–it gets stronger every time you use it. By learning how to manage your mind, think different thoughts, and practice self-care, you will become better at bouncing back from challenges and adapting to new situations, no matter how tough they seem. It’s not about avoiding the hard stuff but learning to handle it with grace and strength. So yes, being a military wife is tough–and military wife anxiety is real–but with resilience, you can not only survive but truly thrive.
4 Ways to Increase Resilience and Decrease Military Spouse Anxiety
So, how do you build resilience and minimize military wife anxiety, practically? Here are five strategies that have worked for me and my clients.
1. Think Different Thoughts
Everything you experience in life starts in your mind with the thoughts you think. If you’re feeling anxious, it’s highly likely that you’re thinking anxiety-producing thoughts. Perhaps you’re fixating on your husband’s safety while he’s deployed or your busy schedule that you now have to manage as a solo parent. These thoughts are going to produce those uneasy feelings in you. So, the first thing you must do is change what you think about.
Now, this doesn’t mean ignoring reality: your husband is gone, and that does put more responsibilities on your plate. But small changes in how you think about those things can do wonders for how you feel inside.
For example, try thinking thoughts like:
- I’m so proud of my husband for the work he does to protect us and our country.
- I am capable of handling hard things, even while solo parenting.
- This season may be challenging, but there is still a lot of good in it.
This type of thought work can have a significant impact on how you feel and what you experience.
2. Lean on Your Support System
Or, if you don’t have a support system, build one! Life as a military wife can be full of uncertainties, and having a solid network of people who understand and empathize with your experiences can make all the difference. This could be family, friends, or even fellow military spouses (we often make friends fast). They can offer emotional support, practical advice, or a listening ear during tough times. If you don’t have a support system yet, look for opportunities in your community or attend military spouse events, like the free, online PILLAR Deployment Retreat. Remember, it’s okay to ask for help and rely on others.
3. Take Care of Yourself
Taking care of yourself–listening to your mind and body and giving it what it needs–is so empowering. It’s also a key component of building resilience to overcome military wife anxiety. It’s just as important to make yourself a priority as it is to care for your kids and household, invest in your friends and family, and give your best at work. If you put the same effort into ensuring you’re taken care of physically, mentally, and emotionally, you’d actually show up better in all those other areas.
And while it’s great to exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and take a bubble bath every now and then, to me, true self-care is…
- Being with yourself and rediscovering who you are.
- Creating a safe atmosphere in your brain.
- Having your own back and being kind to yourself.
The key to creating lasting feelings is to first adjust our thoughts and then take actions that reinforce these feelings. For instance, if we frequently remind ourselves of our significance to our spouse or family, our brain will naturally gather evidence to validate this belief, such as recalling meaningful conversations with our kids or remembering when our husband surprised us with our favorite flowers. When we engage in self-care activities from this state of feeling valued and prioritized, it not only enhances the enjoyment of the activity but also makes the feeling more enduring. While maybe not as clear cut as reading a book or getting your nails done, when self-care starts in your mind–how and what you think about–you start to feel really good.
4. Find a Hobby or Try Something New
While you shouldn’t “stuff” your military spouse anxiety, it is okay to make space in your life to do something you enjoy or try something new. The simple act of taking your mind off the things making you anxious will instantly help you feel better. For example, I started my business, Simply Resilient Life Coaching, during one of my husband’s deployments. What started as a hobby and something to help me feel better–listening to podcasts–turned into a full-blown business where I now get to help other military wives and host my own podcast. Whether you opt to try something new or spend more time doing something you already enjoy, creating space in your life for fun and meaningful activities will make a difference.