More Tips for Military Families – #157


Waiting – Not Waiting Around – Tip #157

When you have a family member absent or deployed, there is a temptation to put things on hold until they are back, wait for calls, check your email obsessively, listen for any media or news reports about the deployment and generally forget/ignore that there is a whole world out there.  Your absent family member is such a large part of your world and when they are gone, it can feel like there is a part of you missing too.  We could spend our whole lives waiting – in line for groceries, tickets, bathrooms, gas, to get in or out of something, etc.  When it comes to military life and waiting for a loved one to return, make sure you are just waiting and not waiting around.  There is a difference and you need to grow, learn, change and experience life too – because while they have been away, that is what they have been doing.  Your waiting doesn’t have to involve drastic changes or grand gestures just try to shake it up a little every day and I truly believe that the waiting will be a little easier.

Suggestions:

* Make a list of things you have always wanted to do

* Check your list each week and try to do one or two things

* Try cooking new or different types of food/recipes

* Drive different ways to work

* Go to different exercise, dance or yoga class each week

* Rent movies that you know your absent family member wouldn’t want to see anyway

* Make a list of people that you haven’t connected with in a while and then get in touch

* Read a book or magazine cover to cover that you have never read before but always wanted to

* Make a care package for yourself and then save it for a day when you really need to feel pampered

* Learn about support services in your area BEFORE they get home – you may never need them but it will be comforting to know they are there

* Get a base or community map and mark of the places you haven’t been but thought might be interesting and then go to them

* Visit your local MFRC, Readiness Centre or support centre and find out what other families are doing and what activities they have for you too – you will be amazed

For more information about our tips, resources or books, go to: http://www.whileyouwereaway.org

To submit a tip of your own, write to: Megan@whileyouwereaway.org

Tips For Military Families – When They’re Back #18


Ask Questions – Tip #18

One of the things that we are all worried about doing is overwhelming our returning friend or family member with a lot of questions.  While I don’t think it is a great idea to ask 100’s of quesitons all in a row and insist on immediate responses, it will be important that you ask questions to open up the lines of communication, let the person know what you are thinking and wondering about and to hear a little about what their thoughts and opinions are.

Soldiers returning from deployments, training, courses or exercises are coming back with BATTLEMIND – they have been trained to take action, think little about things other than their safety and those in their unit, squash emotions, live in the moment and do their job everything else comes second or not at all.  Your family member will need time to change his/her mindset to live within a non-combat like home.  Asking questions and encouraging them to express their thoughts, ideas, feelings and emotions will help them to ease back into lives at home and do some re-thinking.

Examples of  Suggested Questions:

* What do you want to do today/tomorrow?

* What do you think about ________________?

* What did you think about the movie/TV show?

* What would you do if you were ____________?

* What things do you find have changed the most?

* What are you finding it hardest to deal with?

* What do you think would be fun to do together?

* What would you like to avoid doing?

* How will I know that you feel like talking?


For more information about our books, blogs, resources and tips, go to: http://www.whileyouwereaway.org

To submit a tip of your own, write to: Megan@whileyouwereaway.org

Send Us Your Tips


Share Your Own Tips -

You might say to your self, I came here to get tips from someone else!  But this is also a suggestion/tip, tell others about what you did well, what you continue to do that works, something that you struggle with and what you are doing to cope, the best advice that you were ever given, some strategy your parents used that you now do, etc.  By sharing your success you will also be reminding yourself that you have some!  It is easy to look at what isn’t going right and fall into the trap of thinking that everything else is wrong too.  By sharing your successes you are also helping others.

Write to us with the best things you think you did during an absence, a deployment, a daily habit or routine, re-integration/re-union strategy, etc.  Each week we will be choosing a tip from someone else to post.   If we use your tip, we will send you one of our books (of your choice) for free!  We will contact you if your tip is selected.

Remember that many of our successes come from the little things that we do well!  The tip in all of this is to make sure you notice the things that are working in your life and not just the things that aren’t.

Send your email to: megan@whileyouwereaway.org

For more information about our tips, books or resources, go to: http://www.whileyouwereaway.org


More Tips for Military Families – #150


Postive Thinking Reminders – Tip #150

Make posters or even sheets of paper that could be for your fridge , bathroom door, kitchen, beside your bed or any place that you will see each morning before your day really gets into action.  The idea of the signs/poster is to get your family or yourself thinking positively and re-affirming yourselves to feel stronger and more positive before starting your day.  Each family member could have their own sign with their own list of daily sayings, postive quotes, things that they have or want to accomplish, etc.  All of the tasks on the short list (5 max.) should take only a few  minutes to complete.

Everyday tasks, While You’re Away

Compliment someone

Tell 5 people in my live that I love them

Say something I like about myself

Do something for someone else for free

Take a picture a day

Find something to laugh about

Set a goal for myself to do today

Name 5 things that I am grateful for

If you do it with your whole family, each do a list that is personalized to each family member.  The list should uplift, encourage and inspire you.  It should have positive things to think about and strive for everyday.  It can become another way of learning about each other and talking about things that you might otherwise never have talked about.

Do this whether your family is about to experience an absence or deployment or if they have come back from one.  It is never too late to start!

For more information about our books, blogs, and resources, go to: http://www.whileyouwereaway.org

To submit a tip of your own, write to: Megan@whileyouwereaway.org

More Tips for Military Families #31


Talk – Tip #31

“Talk” is such a small word for something so important.  I am sure that there is a lot of talking that goes on in your family but I want you to re-evaluate your conversations and find out how much of it is important and how much has become just routine responses to routine questions within your family.  Living in a military family means that you are going to experience a lot of change (within yourselves, your surroundings, your experiences, etc.) and it is important that you talk about it in a meaningful way.

Tips:

* Don’t ask questions that are going to get you a yes or no response

* Take the time to talk to each other about the things that matter every day (not the same things but things that are really important to you)

* When you are talking together get rid of all distractions – put your cell phone away, turn off the TV or computer, sit somewhere quiet and comfortable, etc.

* Avoid asking complicated or important questions when you are in a hurry

* Use conversation starter cards at meals or as an after dinner game (see our website for conversation starter cards)

* Don’t interupt someone when they are talking or spend the time you should be listening thinking about all the things that you want to say

* If you don’t understand what they are trying to tell you, ask further questions to get a better understanding

* Put time to talk into your schedule and make it a top priority

For more information about our tips, blogs, books or resources go to: http://www.whileyouwereaway.org

To submit a tip of your own or ask a question, write to: Megan@whileyouwereaway.org

More Tips for Military Families – #149


People at Your Place – Tip #149

When hosting a gathering there are some things to consider that will save you time and reduce your stress levels.  Whether your family member is away or just back people are going to want to visit and you are going to want to see them but not at the expense of your sanity!  It is important to get together with friends or family but it is hard to want to when you know it is going to add even more to your workload.

Tips:

* Set arrival and departure times right in the invitation so that people are aware that there is a time you need them to leave by

* Ask people to bring a dessert, salad or appetizer OR let them know that you are ordering in to make life easier

* If the weather is co-operating, have a picnic at the park park for everyone and then you don’t end up having a house that is a complete disaster zone that you have to spend hours cleaning up later

* Assign everyone in your family a job, well in advance of everyone arriving, so that your family members can’t say they didn’t know what was expected of them or try to get out of by saying they had other plans

* Designate some rooms as “No Go” areas so you don’t have to clean the entire house when everyone has left

* Think about what committments you have the next day and chose a time for people to come over that isn’t going to wear you out in the days to come

* Use paper plates that can be recycled (guilt free)

* Ask a friend to come over and help you out in the kitchen with the offer that you’ll do the same for her/him for one of their events

* Make it buffet style so that you aren’t running around and serving everyone

For more information about our books, tips or resources go to: http://www.whileyouwereaway.org

To submit a tip write to: Megan@whileyouwereaway.org

More Tips for Military Families – # 145


Time Capsule – Tip #145

Create a time capsule before your family member is deployed.  Put in it pictures, notes, report cards, awards, videos, etc. that will all capture where your family is right before he/she leaves.  You can each add a note about your predictions for the next year (A year from now we will…, I will have…, by the time I am reading this again I will have…, etc.).  Have a special evening or dinner when they come home to open it up and go over all of the things that are in there and the changes that have occured during the deployment.

Tips:

* Decide as a family when you open it again

* Make sure everyone contributes and puts things into the capsules

* Put it in a cool, dry place that will ensure it doesn’t get ruined

* Label it carefully so it doesn’t get moved or thrown out

* Let other friends and family know you are doing it and ask if they have anything to contribute

For more information about our blogs, books and resources, go to:  http://www.whileyouwereaway.org

To submit a tip of your own, write to: Megan@whileyouwereaway.org

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