Wendy Poling
Frequent Contributor

Sometimes staying positive during a deployment or long separation can be tough, especially when the (insert your Service Branch here) isn't stepping along to our master plan.


I have learned the hard way that when I'm stressed out, so is my family. It is true there are many things we cannot control when it comes to military life, however we can make a big difference in the atmosphere and attitude of our little families.


This is not a master list, but just a few ideas that I hope will help when you are having a particularly tough day.


Here are some ways to de-stress:


Take a Deep Breath - I do this a lot. Believe it or not, it actually does work. I do have to say; I don't feel the benefits until I've done at least 5 deep breaths (in a row) when I'm particularly stressed.


Read something funny - I love Julie Negron and her military spouse themed cartoon series, Jenny Spouse. You can find her comic strips at JennySpouse.com and in the Stars and Stripes newspaper. Julie provides a much-needed chuckle and insight into the unique stresses of the everyday military spouse.


Get enough sleep - I understand sometimes getting a full 8 hours of sleep is easier said than done. I'm more of a night person, it's the time of day I'm most creative. I can find myself writing well into the night when I should be sleeping. However, if I don't get at least 6 hours of sleep I've learned through the years I'm irritable, cranky and short tempered. I work to make getting enough sleep a priority.


Experience some fresh air - Taking a break to get outside for a short walk can make a huge impact. Studies show just 10 minutes of movement can give us a mental boost! Lace up and head out, even if it's only around the block!


Spending time with your pets - Research shows petting an animal actually has a calming affect. This article on WebMD highlights "27 Ways Pets Can Improve Your Health". When I snuggle or pet my Chihuahua or Beagle, I can actually feel the stress of the day melt away. Take the time to cuddle with your pet, or even your neighbor's pet if you don't have one.


Question: How do you de-stress?