The holidays are a great time to reconnect with family and friends and spend time with your loved ones, but the holidays can also be difficult. For service members who are coping with invisible wounds, the holidays may be stressful – especially for members of the National Guard and reserve who may not have the same deployment support networks as their active duty counterparts. Read the following tips for warriors and families going through the reintegration process this holiday season, which can help keep you and your family healthy and strong.
Stress & Anxiety
The demands of military life are challenging. Whether at home or abroad, service members regularly face difficult situations that can cause stress and anxiety.
When left unchecked, these feelings can last weeks or months, get worse, or interfere with your duties at home and in uniform. For this reason, it is important to reach out to your health care provider if you feel intense or lasting stress or anxiety. Your provider can work with you to manage your symptoms and keep you mission ready. Use the following resources to learn about stress, anxiety and other related topics.
Members of the National Guard, Reserve and individual augmentees are in unique positions. These citizen-warriors often work full-time civilian jobs while still being a member of the armed forces. Individual augmentees may receive orders or volunteer to deploy individually with a command that is not their own.
Facing a major change such as separating from military service and readjusting to civilian life can be challenging for many veterans. Writing down your thoughts, feelings and experiences in a journal is one way to support your well-being throughout the transition process. Learn how you can start writing to strengthen your psychological health with the tips and resources below.
Traumatic events related to combat or deployments can occur during your military service. These experiences may cause stress reactions that can negatively impact your psychological health. However, it is important to remember that you and your family can face similar experiences following a natural or human-made disaster.
Military spouses of service members face unique stressors. They often cope with multiple deployments, frequent moves, long separations and concerns about their loved one’s future. Many times they even have to manage a household and family alone. These realities of military life can take a toll on military spouses and impact the entire family. Children often take their emotional cues from their parents, so a parent’s anxiety can result in a stressful environment for the entire household. That is why it is important to address concerns as early as possible.
Food is one of the most important drivers of good physical and psychological health. Proper nutrition provides the nutrients your brain needs to manage stress, regulate mood and emotions, maintain alertness and optimize physical and cognitive performance – all essential components of mission readiness. A diet rich in whole grains, nuts, beans, fruits and vegetables can even help lower the risk of depression.