By Barbara Logan
Resiliency. We use that word a lot in the military. When we think about resiliency, we often associate resiliency with one’s ability to adapt. However, even though we can adapt to our situations doesn’t always mean we are resilient to what we are facing emotionally or mentally.
Redefining resiliency is moving beyond just adapting but taking the time to be aware of how we are processing our ability to adapt and know our own individuality.
Stress comes in different variations. For me, it’s learning how to parent children with special needs in the military lifestyle where nothing is consistent and anything can change at the drop of a dime. I have a son with Autism and a teen daughter with Bipolar 1, and rearing children with special needs can be overwhelming at times. With family being over 1000 miles away, it may feel as if no one understands the struggle.
Did you know it’s possible to be an extrovert on the outside but operate as an introvert within?
In the beginning, I choose the best defense mechanism at that time in how I knew how to survive, freeze, isolate, not open up to anyone with what I was dealing with at home. I quickly learned that my defense mechanism was a sure way to burnout central. Yes, my children were getting the help they needed, but what about me? In my mind, I immediately thought I was selfish asking that question. What about you??? But I knew if I didn’t take time to do what I needed to do for myself, I wouldn’t be able to continue to do for my family.
Many times as mothers, we tend to put ourselves on the back burner. We say, I will get to myself later, and later becomes a week and a week becomes months where you soon begin to forget, and the question arises, “When is the last time you did something for yourself?”
I love the analogy of the flight attendant’s directions on how to secure the safety of individuals when the plane experiences the drop of altitudes as the reasoning behind the need for self-care. The attendant will explain, “ Should the cabin lose pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead area. Please place the mask over your own mouth and nose before assisting others.”
How can we take care of others if we don’t take the time to take care of ourselves first?
My self-care was finding a safe place where I could be vulnerable and express my feelings and frustrations, seeking out how I truly process change in my life and be transparent about my struggle. As I began to open up and talk about it, I found I wasn’t alone, and more women also began to speak up about their struggles. I noticed that in those actions, we were moving in a direction that was redefining resiliency.
Ladies, we cannot afford to lose ourselves…
In the midst of being mothers and wives to our service members, it’s essential to know your own individuality as a woman and seek out what your self-care looks like; this is how we will redefine resiliency.
Let’s not place self-care on the back-burner of life any longer but use it as a tool to restore and regenerate the fuel you need to be the mother, wife, daughter, and friend that you are called to be.
Remember, self-care looks different for everyone. It could be as simple as sitting in silence with a book and a hot beverage, getting a manicure/pedicure, or even seeking out therapy. Take that opportunity and put that woman first. What does your self-care look like?