By Julie Provost
Photo credit: DVIDS, CPT David Chace
If you have been a part of a military family for any amount of time you should know that staying healthy is a must. Both in mind and in body. Being able to stay active, be able to do what you need to do each day and to be able to help your kids in the ways they need you to is important. Not getting out and being active, eating too many unhealthy foods and not having a place to recharge can make life more stressful than life needs to be. During deployments, pcsing or any other part of military life, military families need to make health a priority.
The good news is that we don’t have to do this alone. There are organizations that want to help, that have made it their goal to help military families stay healthy. Through the following organizations you can gain ideas, support and other help through the programs they offer military families, both children and spouses. Take a look at what these five organizations offer and visit their websites for more information.
InDependent’s mission is to connect military spouses to local health and wellness resources, as well as offer virtual and in-person programs in support of their wellness journeys. This organization was started in 2013 by five military spouses. They wanted to make a positive impact on the lives of other military spouses. InDependent serves spouses from all military branches. They provide a wellness blog, communities, virtual programs, resources such as health and nutrition coaches as well as personal trainers. They also provide an e-newsletter with weekly inspiration and perks.
Military OneSource offers helpful advice to educational services to mental and physical help resources. They have a lot to offer, including a great health and wellness section on their website. Here you can find tips on healthy living as well as managing stress. They also have a free health and wellness coaching program. Your coach will help with weight management, fitness and nutrition, living well with a health condition, stress management, and life transitions. You can also find resources on non-medical counseling both in-person and online which are helpful for any military family.
The YMCA has a mission to help military families by providing programs and services to all five military branches, with a particular focus on junior-enlisted families. Their programs are all either no-cost or low-cost and do not require membership dues or fees. Some of these programs include:
Operation Here: An on-site after-school program that focuses on character development and skill-building.
Operation Outdoors: Providing family, youth and teen camps that encourage healthy living as a part of their core mission of making military life easier.
Teddy’s Child Watch: Have a medical appointment and can’t (or don’t want to) bring your child to the doctor’s office? This program offers low- or no-cost drop-in childcare specifically for medical appointments.
Developed by a UCLA-Harvard team, this program teaches military families about emotions, how to communicate more clearly, how to solve problems, and how to set and achieve their goals. FOCUS also provides resiliency training for deployments. They offer on-site services at select military bases and posts as well as online through a program called FOCUS World.
From free workout videos to health calculators to nutrition advice, Guard Your Health offers a huge library of digital resources, specifically tailored to National Guard and Reserves members and their families. (But of course, that doesn’t mean that active duty or veteran families can’t use it too!)
There are many different ways for people and organizations to help military families stay healthy. Whether the needs are physical or emotional. Check and see if there are any of these programs in your area and make sure to look into their online options as well. Being a healthy military family will be good for everyone and will allow you to live a better military life.
Julie is a 30-something-year-old Blogging & WAHM with 3 boys. She and her National Guard husband have been married for 14 years and call Tennessee home for now. You can find her at at Soldier’s Wife, Crazy Life, on Facebook, and on Twitter.