During times of uncertainty, it can feel impossible to keep it all together.
The past two years have been hard. Disruption of routines and extended periods of ambiguity have left many parents mentally fatigued. And, just when things seem to be returning closer to “normal,” political tensions abroad may further threaten life as we’ve known it.
In these times, many of us find energy and resilience from a reserve capacity we have stored up from pre-pandemic domestic life. However, military families who have seen a parent service member deploy during either of our protracted wars in Iraq (OIF)and Afghanistan (OEF) are at increased risk of already depleting this reserve through more frequent or upcoming deployments. Military families are more likely to have single-parent households, and unpredictability in combat deployments has a disproportionate impact compared to scheduled routine deployments on the children of these service members.
Think of the oxygen mask
As the parent or caregiver, it’s crucial to prioritize your mental wellbeing. We know the flight attendant’s safety speech: If the oxygen masks drop, put your mask on first before helping others. Why? Because you can’t help others put their mask on if you don’t have oxygen. This seems so profound because it sounds counterintuitive. You love your kids, so you want to take care of them first — but it doesn’t work that way. This principle is true in all areas of our life. If we’re short on “oxygen,” we can’t be our best selves. Even simple tasks become overwhelming, and our actions are ineffective. The pressure can seem too much at times.
Being a mom doesn’t mean you don’t need care
‘Self-care’ isn’t just a buzzword; it’s important and necessary. Of the 43% of adults in the US who are unpaid caregivers to children or aging relatives, 70% have adverse mental health symptoms, such as depression or anxiety. As we navigate what’s to come, we encourage you to take time for yourself by scheduling time for activities that reduce your stress levels. This may mean regular exercise, meditation, talking with a friend, going for a daily walk around the block, or preparing a healthy meal. Much of our physical and mental health starts with our diet; try incorporating more heart-healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, leafy greens and whole grains to help your body from the inside out.
Help is available — and affordable
At Doctor On Demand, we understand that caring for children or aging parents is difficult, especially in these uncertain times. As a member of the military or Department of Defense family, you have access 24/7 to Doctor On Demand’s board-certified doctors, psychiatrists, and therapists at no cost to you, from wherever you are. Choose from various therapists with different backgrounds and specialties to find the right fit for you. From talk therapy to medication management, we’re here to support your complete mental wellbeing.