I have a little story to tell you about a very seasoned Navy wife whose first patrol after shore duty was a complete and total disaster. This Navy wife, living at a duty station she’d quickly grown to hate, made the subconscious decision to sit in her family room forever with nothing but the internet and trashy reality TV to keep her company. She stopped leaving the house except to buy groceries and pick up the occasional Big Mac.
She had three children. The two oldest went out to school each day and then came home again to sit in the family room with her. The third was quite young, and she simply crawled and then toddled and then walked around and around the family room, confined to the space to which her mother had confined herself.
You might think that this life filled with nothing was not very conducive to finding friends, making memories, or even living, and you would be correct. It wasn’t a life, and she wasn’t happy leading it. In fact she was quite sad. She missed her friends “back home” and wished everyday that she had a reason to get dressed, somewhere to go, and someone to see when she arrived.
Luckily, the very seasoned Navy wife accidentally found an out, Mother Nature provided some much needed sunshine, and her self-imposed confinement came to an end. Summertime, a class called Compass, and her children’s cries to GET OUT saved her, but she vowed never to forget the feelings of sadness and isolation of those first months and her own later bewilderment at how even a seasoned spouse like herself could get sucked into such a painful cycle.
Today she writes this blog called Back on Land, and she hopes that if you are reading this and you identify with her self-confinement, that you will see the error of her ways and get out of your house. She knows it seems easier said than done. She knows the not leaving may seem much easier than heading out into a world you feeling like you’re saving yourself from. She also knows how much happier she is now in the outside world, and she wants to share a few tips for finding your own happy in the outside world.
- Take a shower and get dressed … right now. Yoga pants won’t cut it. Real clothes are necessary in the real world.
- Get the kids up and ready, too, if you have them.
- Get in your car and go.
It can be that simple.* Get. out. of. your. house. There are a million places in the world better for you than the prison your house can become. Find a playground for your kids to play at and play with them. Explore a local park and walk a trail or two. Go to a lake or a beach, and walk along the waterline. Look for an outdoor market. Walk the sidewalks of your city and window shop. Pack a picnic basket and a big blanket and find a shady spot to lunch. Bring a book, find a tree, read and repeat.The gist here is GET OUTSIDE and MOVE. Fresh air, sunshine, and a little exercise can be a great jump-start to your dead battery, and sometimes a little jump-start is exactly what you need to get your engine going!
This very seasoned Navy wife I know. I’ve been there, and I hope to see you outside again very soon.
*This seasoned Navy wife also recognizes that for some people this self-confinement is more than just a case of being sad. Depression is real and certainly requires more than her “get some sunshine and take a walk” approach. There are many resources for military spouses who are affected by despression, but for now I’ll throw out one that is available and accessible to all military spouses: Military OneSource