Rosemary Freitas Williams, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy
Holiday stress. Two words we just can’t seem to separate. The harder we try, the more we invite mini disasters of the most random variety. Like when the cat decides to climb the perfectly decorated tree, toppling the whole production on to the cookies, eggnog…and often an unsuspecting relative.
Successfully navigating the holidays often seems to require more expertise – and resilience – than we possess. We all have our weak spots. Someone who always seems to find just the right gift is hopeless about getting it wrapped. My advice: have someone else in the family wrap the gifts. We can’t do everything, and we can all use a little help from time to time.
That goes for life in general, but even more so for military families, especially this time of year. In addition to shopping, baking, and picking the perfect gift, there are the ever-present challenges of military life, from a service member preparing to deploy, a spouse restarting a career after yet another move, or a child preparing to enter a new school.
To help reduce the common, and perhaps not so common, stresses of military life, we offer Military OneSource to all service members and military families, whether they are active duty, National Guard or reserve, and regardless of activation status. Military OneSource is a one-stop shop for all programs and resources that address the challenges of military life, both large and small. No matter the problem or issue, one click on your keypad and help is on the way. Deployment, relocation, spouse employment and education assistance, parenting, relationship issues, elder care, finances, health and wellness, everyday issues.
Military OneSource is an active and dynamic site. We’re continually adding new articles, tools and resources. For example, we recently added a Holiday Stress Survival Toolkit. The toolkit provides tips on de-stressing and focusing on enjoying the holiday season with friends and family.
Military OneSource is much more than a website however. It offers confidential, non-medical counseling sessions at no cost to the service or family member. The sessions are in-person or over the phone or on-line. Service members and their families can call 800-342-9647 or go online to sign up.
The Military OneSource call center is available to assist every minute of every day – yes, even during the holidays. And, don’t expect to be put on endless hold with holiday music – 98 percent of calls are answered within 20 seconds. If English is your second language, no problem, the Military OneSource call center even offers simultaneous language translation. It’s a truly wonderful resource, and as a military spouse myself, I know that when holiday stress and military life collide at 2 a.m. (and we know that it certainly can), it really helps to know there is someone you can call for help.
In addition to confidential, non-medical counseling, Military OneSource offers confidential specialty consultations, including health and wellness coaching. This resource is available at no cost and gives service members and their families the chance to speak confidentially with a trained professional. Coaching can help address weight management, fitness and nutrition, health condition management, stress management, life transitions, and more. A health and wellness coach can provide information, support, encouragement and accountability; something to consider when you’re thinking up your New Year’s resolutions.
Confidential coaching is available over the phone, online and through self-directed programs. Service members and their families can call 800-342-9647 or go online to sign up. A Military OneSource consultant can help with registration and scheduling the first session. The self-directed Living series is an online suite of health and wellness courses that can also help individuals manage weight problems, develop strategies for reducing stress, or develop exercise routines that best fit overloaded schedules.
When the holidays are over and you have a moment to reflect, why not share your experiences with other military spouses? You can write for the Blog Brigade. This blog is for military spouses with posts by military spouses. What went right during your holidays? What went wrong? What did you learn that you want to pass along to other spouses? That’s what the Blog Brigade is all about. You don’t have to be a blogger or a writer; you just need to be a military spouse with ideas to share with other spouses. We have lots of timely advice to help you get started with your first post for the Blog Brigade.
To you, your family and the entire military family of almost three million people, I wish you a safe, healthy and happy holiday season. Take time to take care of yourself. Good health takes work, but support and advice is only a call or click away at Military OneSource.
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