Home (or maybe not) for the Holidays
Q: My spouse will be staying at post during the holiday season. This is the first time we’ve been separated. What can I do to manage this stress and not feel so alone?
A: Holidays can be stressful in general and being separated from a loved one during this time can be especially difficult. Technology has made communicating easier, but it does not replace having your loved one physically with you during the holidays. There are lots of tips on the internet for ways to manage a separation during the holidays. Try using a search engine to enter phrases containing words like “single” or “separated” “holiday” (or enter a specific holiday you celebrate). Read through some articles on MHN’s website (visit www.members.mhn.com and use ‘unaccompaniedtour’ as the company code) on topics such as tips to control stress and staying connected to your family. Here are a few more tips:
- Spend time with friends and family
- Share holiday plans with your loved one and find out what he/she will be doing
- Find ways to retain traditions and important holiday experiences
- Host or help host an event
- Have friends and family record a holiday message and send the CD to your loved one
- Send a care package (make sure to allow plenty of time for delivery) before the holiday with things like festive decorations or cookies (but keep the eggnog out!)
- Budget accordingly
- Start shopping early for presents that you intend to mail
- Take pictures/videos or use a webcam to share your experiences
- Help others – volunteer at a soup kitchen or to serve Thanksgiving dinner at a shelter
- Remember, a holiday is only a date – who says you can’t celebrate Christmas in February?
- Take time for and take care of yourself – do something you enjoy, keep up with exercise, and make sure to get plenty of rest
- Know you’re limits and don’t try to take on too much
- Share your tips with others on the HomeFrontUS Yahoo group (join, if you’re not already on HomefrontUSfirstname.lastname@example.org)
- If you need help, seek it!