Resilient. According to the dictionary, resilient means "able to withstand or recover more quickly from difficult situations." Whether children, spouses, or service members, the military community is often described as resilient. The military community certainly endures difficult situations most people don't comprehend. But at what point do we reach our limit? How do we keep ourselves from burning out while calming the chaos of military life? Spouse SERVE has asked fellow army spouse Brittany Sutton for help.
Hello! My name is Brittany, and I am honored to be your guest blogger!
It's funny how when we are in the busier seasons of life, we crave the open-ended schedule of summer. To me, summer means endless possibilities, no set schedules, picking and choosing activities, sleeping in and staying up late, and just the embodiment of freedom.
All good things must come to an end, and before I know it, school is starting, schedules get booked, sports are back, extracurriculars are in full swing, my husband's field time schedule gets packed, and time needs to be managed again. While it hits like a ton of bricks when the busyness of Fall starts up, I find myself getting into a routine that makes sense and gives me a sense of calm in the chaos.
It takes a few weeks, but all of a sudden, usually mid-October for me, I find myself inexplicably exhausted. The simple question of "what do I make for dinner" seems like a mountain I just can't climb. This, my friends, is burnout.
Burnout: we have all heard of it, have all experienced it, so what do we do with it? At its base, it's a pretty simple concept: it is when you have run yourself ragged with schedules, increased demands on your time, and have put up no boundaries. The signs of burnout can look different for everyone, but generally, they fall into the category of exhaustion, lack of interest in your own hobbies, sleeplessness, and mood swings. Who wouldn't be cranky with all the craziness going on?
When these signs start becoming the new normal for you, it is good to stop and literally take a breath, breathe in and out. Ask yourself what you must get done, what is good to get done, and what would be nice to get done; for example, getting dinner on the table is a must get done; you must eat. However, going to a book club meeting is a nice to-get-done item. Once those categories are established, your to-do list becomes much more structured. If you do not get all the items on your "nice to get done" list, it is ok! Give yourself permission to not be a superhero every single day. Focus on what must get done, and when you regain your balance, you can start adding those items from the "good to get done" and "nice to get done" lists slowly.
I hope this helps with the chaos of the Fall schedule, and remember: you've got this!
Brittany is a third-year doctoral student earning her degree in Educational Leadership & Policy (Ed.D) from the University of Tennessee. She is a Special Education teacher and is fascinated by the world of resiliency and mindfulness techniques. As an educator and Army spouse, becoming resilient has been a critical component of her life. She is married to her Soldier and has two dogs she adores.
If you'd like to write a guest blog for the Spouse SERVE Blog, we would love to hear it! Please send us an email at SpouseSERVE@gmail.com.