Military spouses endure enough stress, holidays shouldn’t be an added stressor. Holiday season is the perfect time to recognize our strength, embrace simplicity, and spread good cheer.
Military spouses are tough, and often with that strength comes a tendency to criticize ourselves for what we don’t do rather than praising ourselves for everything that we do do. I work with spouses who have endured numerous hardships such as deployments and multiple relocations in a single year, yet they still give themselves a hard time when they aren’t “ready for the holidays.” I know it’s difficult to let go of the idea of achieving perfection, but we need to remember that perfection doesn’t exist. As long as you’re doing the best you can, you’re doing great.
Let’s not forget what’s really important: spending quality time with the people you love and giving back to the community. We all get so caught up in our own lives that we forget to be there for others and spread holiday cheer where we can. On that note, my co-host Wendy Poling and I want to give spouses coping with deployment a special shout-out on The Military Spouse Show podcast—we’re sending you abundant prayers and group hugs this holiday season!
Being separated from a loved one requires strength, patience, and in my opinion, a lot of permission. Permission to do what works for you! For example, you may feel like you’re caught in a tug-of-war between spending time with in-laws and working overtime to make some extra money. Then there’s the stress of cooking, cleaning, and decorating. Just remember, it’s okay to keep things simple. Most importantly, take care of yourself! One of my favorite Cheryl Richardson mottos applies here: “Self care isn’t selfish.” This is even more true when you are celebrating solo.
Even when you aren’t experiencing deployment, just being a military spouse can mean facing an undercurrent of stress, and the holidays can exacerbate this. That’s why it’s so important to set the intention of approaching the holidays with grace. Let us seek and find joy versus expecting perfectionism and feeling let down if we don’t achieve it.
I did a Military Spouse Show podcast (listen on itunes) where my co-host Wendy Poling and I identified five keys to help you enjoy the holidays, and I welcome you to share yours as well. It takes a village to learn how to navigate a season seamlessly—let’s share our ideas in the hopes of helping each other avoid the chaos and instead embrace serenity and joy. If we keep working at it, each year will be even more enjoyable than the last!
Please spread the cheer and share this post with other military spouses and I have five more posts coming that will hopefully make the holiday time easy.