*Note from Shelbee: When Heather reached out to me about guest posting on my blog, I was more than happy to oblige. Military life is a topic that I have been wanting to include in my content more often and I just never seem to get around to it. However, I don’t want you to be mistaken, I live, eat, and breathe a military lifestyle in every way. My husband’s schedule and his military obligations literally effect my every decision. Not just the big decisions, but all the little daily things, too. I try to keep things as “normal” as possible for the sake of everyone’s sanity, so I tend to stray away from discussing all the minute details on my blog. However, it is important as a seasoned military spouse to make sure that other military spouses know that there is a supportive community of people out there who are living the same struggles that they are. On that note, I give you Heather’s wonderful ideas for grabbing yourself some of that illusive yet ever so important me-time. Keep in mind that you certainly do not have to be a military spouse to take some much needed time for yourself.
The Self-Care Care Package-10 Ideas for a Military Spouse’s Day Off
Guest Post by Heather Lomax
Holding down the family’s fort is no strange feat for a military spouse. With a family to raise, a household to support, and your own daily errands at hand, it’s rare to have a whole day to yourself – without chores, tasks, or kids. Self-care isn’t always prioritized for busy spouses and parents. When the sweet opportunity for alone time does arise, you shouldn’t hesitate to take total advantage of it! Below are 10 ideas for seizing the rare day to yourself. Some care items are for home, some are out and about, while others leave the option up to you, if you feel like splurging a little money, of course.
1. Take a fitness class
Head to a nearby gym, yoga, or pilates studio and sign up for a class. Even if it’s not something you can continue on a regular basis, just taking one yoga, zumba, or other fitness class can refresh and energize you. It can also be a learning experience for bringing the activity home so you can continue on days when you can’t attend a class. If you’re not up for a class, try at-home workouts in your living room. Options are even available for those with limited space. Try FitnessBlender or search for yoga videos on YouTube. Invest in a yoga mat or some free weights. Exercise doesn’t need to be overcomplicated. Think of exercise as a celebration of your ability and not as a chore or punishment.
2. Go for a walk, jog, or run
When you have kids in tow, a leisurely walk around the neighborhood or an invigorating, fast-paced jog or run can be out of the question. On your free day, you have a rare chance to take whatever stroll or jog you fancy at your pace and on your own map. Stop and chat with neighbors, or challenge yourself to see how far or fast you can run. See how long you can run without over-tiring. The only person you’re competing with is yourself. Enjoy the freedom.
3. Enjoy a spa day
Visit your local spa, and go all out! Purchase a package deal; get a facial, a massage, pop in the sauna, get your nails done, and any other services you’re interested in. Do it all. Get thoroughly pampered so you feel utterly relaxed and rejuvenated before you go home. If this is not an option for you, create your own spa-day box! Grab your favorite face mask, nail tools and polish, hair color, candles, music, foot bath, exfoliant, and moisturizer. Oh, and be sure to switch the cell phone to silent unless absolutely necessary.
4. Create a self-care kit
As a military spouse, days without your loved one are a given. Even if it’s not right now, you know what it’s like when life gets hard. Be pro-active and create a self-care kit for your lowest days. Find an old box and store special mementos and “feel-goods.” Pictures of you and your spouse, essential oils and diffusers, a journal and pen, memories from your first date, and anything else that will soothe and relax you without taking you out of the house are all good ideas. A bottle of bubble bath and some scented candles or a favorite music playlist can also be helpful.
With kids, chores, errands, and perhaps work on top, you’re no stranger to stress. There might even be days when you feel frantic, overwhelmed, or ready to throw in the towel. Take some time on this day to yourself to meditate. Use an app on your phone or simply find a quiet space to sit and close your eyes. Focus on your breathing – steady streams in and out. Note how good you feel after as little as ten or fifteen minutes of meditation. Don’t stress if you can’t clear your mind; most people can’t. Just have patience and grace with yourself as thoughts enter and leave your mind. This is a great chance to start something that you can do every day to feel better. Bring out the yoga mat and find a cozy spot in the sun, or curl up on your comfiest couch. The only rules for meditation are the ones that you set as long as you’re remaining quiet and mindful.
6. Spend the day with friends
It’s likely that some of your friends are military spouses, too. Try to get some of them together, and have a day on the town. Grab brunch or lunch (have a mimosa while you’re at it), do some window shopping, and catch up over coffee and sweets. Perhaps just grab one friend and head for the nearest body of water, if possible. If not, relaxing in a backyard in the sun can be just as enjoyable. Vitamin D from sunlight is an energy and mood booster and is essential for good health. Relax outdoors with one friend (or more) without keeping an eye on wandering kiddos.
7. See a movie
There’s probably at least one movie that’s not child-appropriate that you’ve been dying to see. Go see it by yourself. Grab lunch first, and enjoy a personal popcorn and soda during the movie – no compromising! Luxuriate in a nearly-empty theater if it’s during the week and enjoy watching a movie that you don’t have to miss part of or pause repeatedly because everyone needs a bathroom break or a drink. At home, break out one of your own favorites that you typically avoid during family time. Cuddle up under the best blanket and enjoy.
8. Lock yourself away
It’s clear you don’t need to leave home to fully enjoy a personal day. Why not close yourself away in your bedroom and master bath? Run a hot bubble bath, light some scented candles, turn on your favorite music, grab a book and sink into the soothing water. Let the bath relax you, add more hot water as needed and refresh the bubbles, and enjoy the time with no one banging on the door. Take cat naps here and there as you wish.
9. Binge watch your favorite TV show or a new one
Maybe you have an old favorite that’s guaranteed to make you laugh or cry. Maybe there’s a new show you’ve been wanting to check out, but it’s also not suitable for the kids, and by the time the kids are in bed, you’re too exhausted to stay awake and enjoy it. Now’s your opportunity. Settle in and binge watch as many episodes as you can while you snack on your favorite savory or sweet treats. Maybe polish off just a couple glasses of wine. No one’s looking!
10. Binge on books
Finding time to read a book can be difficult in the course of a normal day. Take this chance to brew a pot of your favorite tea, grab some chocolate or another favorite treat, and a stack of books you’ve been meaning to read. Settle in with a cozy blanket or under a swirling fan, and enter another world. If you feel like getting out, head to a nearby coffee shop or library. You can find suggestions on GoodReads or attack a stack that’s been collecting dust on your shelf. Reading is good for mental acuity and for an adventurous escape out of the routines of life.
It is too easy to get carried away spending your time worrying and caring for others. After all, responsibility is always calling. When you get a day to yourself, make it all about you. Enjoy the freedom to be selfish and focus on yourself, knowing that soon enough you’ll be back to the routine physical and emotional labor. Who knows when you’ll get the chance again?
Heather Lomax is a contributing writer and media relations specialist for Challenge Coins. She writes for a variety of military and lifestyle blogs and is especially interested in ensuring military families have all the tools they need to cope with the potential challenges that accompany the military lifestyle.
*Note from Shelbee: I hope you enjoyed Heather’s ideas as much as I have. And I also am hoping that she will become a periodic contributor here at Shelbee on the Edge providing lots of insight and helpful tools for my military readers. Thank you, Heather!
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