10 Ways to Survive (and Thrive) as a Military Spouse with Anxiety
The military seems to be governed by rules, standards and routines, but in reality it is a constantly changing beast that thrives on ruining any plans you have set at the very last minute. For a person with anxiety, this can be a nightmare. This article will help you wrangle this beast and start to tame it.
1. Make connections early.
Try to find friends in the area. This can be in person with people in your spouse’s unit or in the Family-Readiness Group (FRG) as well as online. There are many online groups that are for spouses all over the world and specific to certain bases. Join a few and see who you meet. I’ve seen a lot of posts that basically say, “Hey I just moved to Fort such-and-such and I’m looking to find some new friends. Here’s a little about me…” After being a spouse for a while, the concept of having to start over and meet new people is really common, so people are supportive of adding new people to their friend group.
2. Know your triggers.
Knowing what triggers your anxiety will help you manage it. Think about when your anxiety starts to flare up. Write down the thoughts that go through your head when you’re anxious or having a panic attack. Once you write these things down, you can start to look for patterns. When you figure out what triggers your anxiety, you can be more mindful when you go into those situations. You can use your coping skills to reduce the effect of the anxiety and try to help keep you calm.
3. Create a coping skills toolbox.
This is basically a list of things that help you cope with your anxiety. Certain things work better depending on the person and can sometimes be situation specific. For example, rocking out to your favorite upbeat song can work when you’re feeling nervous in a car, but not so much in the middle of a meeting. It is good to have a variety of coping skills that you can use, so you can tailor to your situation. Some things that you can add to your toolbox might be journaling, taking a walk, listening to music, belly breathing, fidget toys or using a progressive muscle relaxation script. There’s this great article by Haley Quinn where she compiled coping strategies that you won’t necessarily find by searching online.
4. Be honest and ask for help.