The United States celebrates its military and champions the brave and noble men and women who take up the call of duty. However, having even a single member of a family in the military makes their service a familial commitment. Spouses of military personnel face many of their own challenges at home, especially while loved ones are on tour. From prolonged absences to the stresses of managing the family with one parental figure, the military carries stresses on the entire family. 

Overcoming the stresses at home and addressing the needs of military spouses is incredibly difficult, and can even persist after a loved one has returned home from active duty. However, it is always possible to create a plan to address and overcome the unique stresses military spouses face each and every day. 

The Stresses of Military Spouses

There are an incalculable number of stresses that active military personnel face each day. From the challenges of military culture and intense training regimens to the traumas of serving in an active warzone, members of the armed forces are exposed to many unique situations and difficult experiences. Additionally, spouses at home face their own challenges. While different, they are just as important to address for a spouse’s mental and emotional health and for maintaining a healthy home atmosphere. 

Loaded Responsibilities

First, military spouses are often tasked with handling the stresses at home alone while their loved one is on deployment – from managing finances and bills to the trials of raising a child. Managing a family, tending to responsibilities, and making time for one’s own self-care routines are all difficult to balance. Military spouses may sacrifice their own professional careers or education to tend to these family responsibilities, compromising their personal goals for their country and the mission that military families serve. 

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Increased Existential Anxiety 

Further, uncertainty about the well-being of a loved one on tour has intense emotional effects. It is common for military spouses to be met with dread and worry with each knock on the door in case it is the ultimate bad news. Spouses can also be exceptionally privy to news about ongoing conflicts, and pervasive and persistent feelings of anxiety, depression, worry, and uncertainty all take a massive emotional toll. 

Increased Isolation

Isolation can also be a prevalent and debilitating feeling. Not only is one living on their own while a spouse is on deployment, but it can be difficult to find peers or social groups that understand the challenges of being married to an active service member. Combined, anxiety, panic, depression, and other mental health disorders are all common, as well as the use of drugs or alcohol in an attempt to self-medicate such feelings. 

Transitioning to Family Life

Even with the pervasive stresses apparent when a spouse is on deployment, there can still be a myriad of challenges when a loved one does return home or is successfully discharged as a veteran. While there can be great feelings of pride and relief, it can also be incredibly difficult to adjust to this new life. Military spouses may have been raising a child on their own or managing many other stresses. The sudden change in family dynamics can be exceptionally difficult to process. 

Despite any celebrations surrounding a loved one’s return, spouses may still harbor resentments about the challenges faced at home in a loved one’s absence. Missed anniversaries, holidays, and more are all common. This feeling of “lost time” can add to an already difficult transition. 

Managing Stresses at Home as a Spouse

With these challenges military spouses face, taking decisive, educated action to address one’s needs as a military spouse is crucial. Employing a combination of personalized strategies is necessary to challenge feelings of anxiety, isolation, and more that affect daily life. 

Keep Personal Interests

Military spouses make many of their own sacrifices. However, finding outlets that tend to one’s interests is crucial. Joining a particular hobby group or otherwise making a spouse’s interests and social needs a priority is necessary. Making an effort to join a community of one’s choosing regularly is necessary to address these social needs. 

Finding dedicated military groups may also be necessary. Support or social groups specifically for spouses of military personnel can be found in either local communities or online. Utilizing these resources is necessary to challenge feelings of isolation and adopt new strategies for managing stress in daily life.

Establish Communication at Home

A loved one returning home is an amazing feeling. However, establishing communication strategies to effectively navigate this time is absolutely necessary. A loved one may have missed many important life events, and attitudes can always change, especially if one’s is returning from an active warzone with associated traumas therein. 

Being able to communicate regarding changes in personality, dynamics, and more is necessary. It can be difficult for military personnel to adjust to civilian life with its own structures, expectations, and norms. Communicating effectively is necessary to mitigate misunderstandings or resentments from affecting a healthy home atmosphere.

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Make Adjustments

Times will change. Depending on the length of deployment and a spouse’s own interests and routine, change is inevitable. It can be impossible to pick up exactly where one left off before a loved one was sent on tour. Being willing to make changes and adjust daily practices is necessary for creating a healthy lifestyle in the present, rather than attempting to grasp at the past.

Anxiety, depression, panic, addiction, and other challenges are all common for spouses of the military. Seeking professional treatment to overcome these challenges may be necessary. Trauma-informed treatment strategies, as well as a community of peers, can all be essential for effective healing. Professional treatment programs can help establish healthy practices and set expectations for managing the stresses that military spouses personnel face. 

Serving in the military is a family affair. Spouses of military personnel make their own sacrifices and face their own challenges at home while a loved one is on tour. At Hawaii Island Recovery, we understand the unique needs and challenges that military spouses and families face, and we are committed to creating a healthy space for overcoming these stresses. From dedicated veteran programs to family therapies, we are prepared to help you customize a treatment program to your needs and goals. This includes helping you better manage stress and anxiety and create a healthier home atmosphere. For effective and personalized rehab in Hawaii, or to speak to a caring, trained professional about your needs, call (866) 390-5070.