6 things for military spouses to do when worrying about the news

Photo of events at the 2012 Military Spouse of the Year awards at the Marine Corps Barracks in Washington May 10, 2012. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley)

Life as a military spouse can quickly turn into feeling like a yo-yo subject to the status of world events. It can be exhausting and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! Here are 6 things military spouses can do when they start to worry about what’s on the news.

1. Don’t watch the news

Just turn it off. Unfollow the news outlets you have on social media. It can be especially helpful if you remember that all the “experts” brought onto news shows are just speculating. Those “experts” have a knowledge and experience base, but there are only a handful of people in the White House and Pentagon who make the decisions, and those people are not on the news.

If you do want to stay informed and understand the situation, stay away from sources that speculate on what things mean for American service members. Read all you want about the history of that country or conflict, get nerdy on government definitions and learn what things like “sanctions” and “NATO” really mean, but only if it brings knowledge and peace instead of stress and confusion. If you service member is deployed and you want to know the status of things,  then please stay in touch with your service member’s command.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Naoto Anazawa)

2. Answer your brain

The unknown can quickly freak out the most seasoned military spouse. A million possibilities and questions can pop up and bog you down. A quick solution is to answer every question. If you shudder in fear and wonder “what would I do if my spouse was deployed?” Answer the question without doubting yourself. You know what to do so don’t let any heaviness of a situation bring you down. It doesn’t have to be the final answer, but answering your brain can help you realize that the situation doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

3. Feel the feels

True, there is an overwhelming stigma in the military community that service members and their loved ones should stay “strong” and put on a “brave face.” After all, this is what we signed up to do. However, science has repeatedly proven that this behavior is not healthy. It is far better for the health of an individual and family unit to allow feelings and emotions to happen, process and then let the emotions pass through. 

(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley)

4. Do things that bring peace

This may require some intentionality and changing your plan, but choose to do things that ground and calm you. This can be anything from writing notes to loved ones, reading books with your kids or getting your hands dirty in the garden. It might seem unproductive, but rest and peace are a necessity, not a luxury. 

5. Focus on the people directly involved instead of what “could happen”

This will help you focus on sympathy instead of worry and may even motivate you to act and serve those in need. Service and sympathy can keep things into perspective. This is especially helpful if you feel helpless. Truly seeing what is happening in the world can lead to seeing the need and acting on solutions. 

(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Warrant Officer John Edwards)

6. Set boundaries for anyone you associate with

It’s important to remember that just because someone else wants to discuss world events, doesn’t mean you have to talk. You are allowed to let your service member know that you don’t want to hear speculation about what could happen. You can change the subject when the other spouses start to freak out and worry. Even better, share this article! You can even ignore all the texts asking if your service member will deploy. Just because they want to talk about something doesn’t mean it is healthy for you.