In the era when work-life balance is becoming more and more important, one group of society is often forgotten about. It can be hard for those in the military to switch off their duty to the nation and take time for themselves. The fact of the matter is that due the rigorous training regimes, overseas military operations, and requirements of their jobs, those in the military have little to no work-life balance. Civilians can often rush home if their child is sick or work from home if they need some maintenance completed around the house. It’s a little harder to do that when you are station in an overseas military base and have a CO that doesn’t let anything slide.
Americans, in general, are overworked. In fact, the USA does not even appear in the top ten countries for best work-life balance. Most say that they work too much and don’t have a lot of free time. This leads to long term fatigue, increased stress, as well as decreased time for friends and family. This ultimately effects your health, both mental and physical and the strain of the constant day to day wears you down.
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With increased awareness on work-life balance, this article will provide some tips on how military personnel can make the most of their time off.
Make the most of any free time
This may sound obvious, but often isn’t put into action. While having relaxing time to yourself is important, it can be misused. Make sure that the time to yourself has a purpose, whether that be recovering from a busy work week, or to improve an aspect of your life. Planning is often the most effective way to achieve this, though this requires careful froethought.
Getting in touch with your friends and family is always a good investment of time, especially when it has been a while since you last saw them. Those close to you are your primary source of strength when dealing with difficult situations and often act as a driving factor in your life. Not everyone is lucky enough to have support networks as close as family, so make sure you value any time spent in communication.
Other ways to zone out from the stresses of work include finding a hobby, learning a new skill, or going for walks to see the finer aspects of your surroundings.
It’s not always easy to be positive about your work or living situation. The environment you create for yourself, whether it is positive or negative, is contagious. It is important to share your positive experiences, not just the major wins such as promotions, but the smaller wins such as acting competently in a successful training drill.
Awareness is the first step to creating a positive environment. Take note of the way your interactions effect your mood and behaviors. This will allow you to shape your experiences to help in fulfilling your purpose of working in the military.
Once you are in a positive frame of mind, you can enjoy others success just as much as your own, feeding back into your outlook on life.
Excel in communication
Unfortunately, life won’t always be idyllic. A life in the military often means there will be long periods of time when you are alone, down, and uncomfortable. Part of developing a healthy work-life balance is to solve the problems that face you, not all of which you can do alone. Therefore, it is important to speak about the issues that face you precisely. If you can recognise the cause of your problems, and the reasons for them, this will greatly ease confusion when you reach out to those supporting you. In turn creating more meaningful solutions, more efficiently.
These is no easy way to have an effective work-life balance, especially for military personnel. It takes constant work, dedication, and time. It all starts with you.