Even though we recognize their strength, resilience and sacrifice every day, each November our Armed Forces make a special point to celebrate and honor military families with Military Family Month. Military families, especially military children and spouses, experience many of the same transitions as their service member and must also navigate the associated stress. Separation during deployments, PCS moves and reintegration are some of the many transitions that can impact each member of a military family. With the “most wonderful time of year” right around the corner, family resilience is especially important to help reduce the negative effects of stress, promote psychological well-being and keep the happy in the holidays.
Remembering and applying the 5 Principles of Resilience (Predictability, Controllability, Relationships, Trust and Meaning) can help families shore up their family resilience and thrive during periods of transition and stress. Use these quick tips to help your family stay mission ready:
- Connect with your community (Relationships, Meaning). This time of year is a great time to get involved with your local community. Not only does volunteering at a local shelter, soup kitchen, food bank, toy drive or food drive speak to the meaning of Thanksgiving and the holidays, but lending a helping hand to the community also provides a way for families to get involved in an activity together.
- Build new family traditions (Meaning). In the spirit of the phrase “make new friends, but keep the old,” creating new or reshaping old family traditions brings families closer together. Whether miles apart or under the same roof, taking time to craft new family traditions that everyone can participate in is a great way for military families to stay connected any time of year.
- Share your feelings (Predictability, Controllability, Trust). Navigating the stress that comes with military transitions whether they be deployments, PCS moves or reintegration can be difficult. Open communication is an essential component of the stress navigation process. Taking the time to sit down as a family to discuss changes and expectations can promote a sense of control and build trust within the family unit. November is the perfect time to sit down as a family to ask and explore what everyone is thankful for this year!
Stay tuned for more resources, tips and tricks to help you and your military family navigate stress throughout the holiday season. We salute you, military families!