Find balance in your military life

  • Published
  • By Lieutenant Colonel Lisa Sheehan
  • 97th Medical Support Group
What a "roller coaster" ride we live as military members! Many times we struggle to find balance in our lives as we manage day-to-day mission requirements, high deployment operations, and the proverbial "doing more with less." These demands can be both physically and emotionally exhausting but we must still balance between work and spending quality time with our family and friends. When your work life and personal life are not balanced, stress and its harmful effects are usually the result.

Living a balanced life is about integrating those components of your life that you know must come first; duty, family, etc. In our military careers we often make sacrifices. We experience times when personal, family life and work collide. If you can find a balance between your military commitments and quality off time, you'll be happier and more productive at work and at home.

How do we find balance? For most people, juggling the demands of career and personal life is an ongoing challenge. It can often be difficult to find balance. The basic goal is to make time for activities that you and family and friends will enjoy and that will help rejuvenate you.

The military is always in a constant state of change and we must be ready to meet the challenges that come our way. Below are simple strategies to help maintain balance in your life:

Focus on your priorities. Concentrate your time and energy on your personal and professional priorities. Identify your values and align your life around what is truly most important to you.

Get organized. Plan ahead and anticipate your needs, i.e., shift change, upcoming deployment or TDY. Have a back-up plan to handle home emergencies and a support network so that you are prepared with a contingency plan should the need arise.

Be flexible. Accept that mission needs will pop up that will require you to readjust and perhaps alternate plans.

Take care of yourself. A body that is well taken care of is much more easily able to deal with the stresses of everyday life. Eat a nutritious and well-balanced diet, exercise regularly, and get the rest your body needs.

Plan activities with family and friends. When we allow our leisure time to decrease, we may see our relationships begin to suffer. Take time out to read with your child, cuddle with your baby, or watch a movie with your spouse or friends. Really be there for that moment. Show your significant others through one-on-one time just how important they are to you.

Maintaining balance in our busy and challenging lives is a continuous process, but it is certainly key in helping us to remain productive in our jobs, maintain personal happiness and sound relationships. It is important to find your balance.