Home Marriage & Family Resiliency: A Military Spouse’s Calling Card

Resiliency: A Military Spouse’s Calling Card


ways to deal with stress in the militaryThis morning my accountant was supposed to come over and help me review some of my business bookkeeping. To prepare for this meeting, I spent the better part of last week going over my accounts, orders, receipts, inventory, etc. making sure I had everything entered into the program I use to track it all. So today, after my “mom chores” were done, I flipped on the computer and expected to see everything in order for my “business chores” to commence. Why do I ever expect Plan A?

Sometime between shutting down my computer last night and turning it on this morning my book keeping program was corrupted. Whaaat? So rather than an accomplished morning concluding with the reassurance that my business life was not in chaos, I turned to trouble shooting, customer service center calls, reinstalling programs, reentering data, and losing all opportunity to complete the tasks I had actually planned for the day. Grrrrr!

I hate getting derailed, especially when I can’t see the benefit of the time and energy required to fix the problem (outside of making the problem go away.) When my kids get sick I see the benefit of extra cuddle time and opportunity to dote on them. When the car needs to be repaired I see the benefit of making sure it is safe to carry my family. When a bookstore won’t carry my books because they are not for the “entire community” I see the benefit of working with a different store that makes a point to serve military families. But when there is no upside to the problem, at least that I can see, I just get annoyed. And then I remind myself that “it is what it is,” take a breath, go over my steps of resilience, and figure out where I am and where I need to go.

Resilience: the ability over-come stressful situations. In our crazy lives this is a crucial skill that we need to develop. After all, we routinely have to face the barrage of big issues like: Where will we live? How will the kids adjust? Am I going to be able to find a new job? Did I just kiss my husband for the last time? But the cumulative effect of little issues are just as impacting as the big ones so we must recognize all stressors in our lives and work to successfully manage our happiness and satisfaction. How do we do this?

5 Essential Steps to Maintaining Resiliency


  1. Go back to the basics. What are the fundamental things that you need to do in order to survive? Eat, sleep, breathe…. Figure out your minimum obligations and take care of those things first and well. Enjoy the simplicity of the fundamentals.
  2. Backwards plan. Determine the outcome you would like to see and then figure out the steps you will need to get you there. Knowing what the end-goal is helps to determine the time line, and keeps you honest about the necessary details.
  3. Focus on the task at hand. Right now. When we get ahead of ourselves or try to multitask and juggle, something is invariable going to get the short end of our attention or dropped. Taking things one step at a time ensures all elements of the plan get the attention they deserve.
  4. Welcome the emotions. You know you are going to experience fear, sadness, and frustration. You are also going to experience happiness, satisfaction, and elation. Trying to avoid or hide any of them is creating self-imposed obstacles. So face them, acknowledge them, welcome them, let them run their course and then pick up where you left off and get back to what you were doing.
  5. Keep the faith. Believe in yourself. It wouldn’t be life without glitches and unexpected obstacles. But putting in the time, doing the work required, and making the effort is what counts. It won’t always be perfect but – Yes You Can!

So now that I am breathing normally (having allowed my anger and frustration to run their course,) have gotten the kids off to bed (fed, bathed, and clothed!) and have arranged another day to finish my bookkeeping (sigh,) I can finish this article, pack some books for delivery, make tomorrow’s lunches, enjoy some recently delivered Girl Scout Cookies, and pat myself on the back for having successfully navigated another day. (I might also have to do a little online research and figure out if my plan allows for a new laptop….)

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