Balancing work and one’s life (social, family, health, etc.) is difficult enough. Employers require consistency and loyalty from their employees, as do our families. Add to that being a military spouse who often has to relocate and care for their child/ren or a Veteran trying to become accustomed to civilian life again and you get a high possibility of becoming burnt out. In this article, Robert E. Lee Goodwin III explains how to balance work and life in the military.
“Military spouses often have to balance out working, caring for the kid(s), and supporting their active duty spouse. Yet, they often forget to take time out for themselves. Spouses that are reentering the workforce after years of staying home to care for children or going through a deployment find balancing out everything to be especially hard.” Robert E. Lee Goodwin Stated.
Veterans, especially those who’ve made careers out of the military, find it difficult to transition back into civilian and everyday family life. Work is often hard to come by after leaving the military and when a job does come along, some Veterans find the “9-5” hard to adjust to. These stresses can often times increase conflict in family life.
Robert E. Lee Goodwin outlines some suggestions to help reduce stress and balance out one’s work and life activities include:
- Always make time for one’s self and use your time wisely. This can be achieved in various ways and should not be neglected on a regular basis. Treat yourself to a spa day, a movie, or whatever you find to be entertaining and relaxing where you can forget about the daily stresses that come with life. Also be sure to keep your health intact, exercise regularly and keep annual doctor/dentist appointments.
- Take time to bond with your significant other. This includes date nights, weekend “vacations”, etc. If your active duty spouse is on a deployment, utilize all means of communication to stay in contact with them if possible and understand that some quarreling is normal; additionally, plan ahead before he/she gets deployed. Make the most of local couple seminars at your base if they offer them; they often address topics like communicating effectively and maintaining meaningful relationships.
- Network and join support groups. Military bases often have spousal or similar kinds of groups you can join and meet new friends and participate in monthly activities. Such groups are especially helpful for military families with no connections or family in their assigned area. Veterans can inquire into tailored services at their local Department of Veteran’s Affairs or their online website.
- If you’re currently working, inquire with your employer as to whether they offer any kinds of work/life and health programs. Many employers now offer such programs to their employees free of charge or at a discounted rate and include various programs that target specific issues like smoking cessation, exercise classes, or access to services concerning nutrition and marriage counseling.
- Use the Internet to identify additional local resources as well as tips in maintaining a meaningful and healthy work/life balance.
Robert E. Lee Goodwin has had an extensive career in the military and various leadership roles. Professor Goodwin’s military leadership education includes completion of the U.S. Army General Officer Installation Commander Course, and PME courses at National Defense University, Army War College, Army Management Staff College, Marine Corps Command and Staff College, Inter-American Defense College, and the United Nations Institute.