By Julie Provost
“Don’t watch the news!” It’s advice you’ve probably heard plenty of times during your time as a military spouse. When your spouse is overseas fighting in a war, the last thing you want to do is watch people talking about that on the news, right?
Yes. . . and no
One of the biggest reasons why milspouses are told not to look at the news is because it can be emotionally taxing and can make the deployment harder. Getting sucked into the 24/7 news cycle can raise anxieties and worries about your spouse, what their mission is, and when you will get to see them again. We can spend way too much time trying to figure out if our spouse was involved in the bomb we heard about on television or if they are in the same place that was mentioned by the journalist.
We can’t bury our heads in the sand
As hard as it sometimes is, watching the news, being aware of what is going on in the world, and being knowledgeable is important. Military spouses are also voters, and we need to be paying attention to what is going on. We can’t just ignore life and say there is nothing we can do about the current situations. Maybe there is nothing we can do, but there is always something we can do in the future. If we don’t like where the leadership is going or what the leadership is doing, we can let our voice be heard in the voting booth.
By watching and paying attention to the news, we can see what is happening in the military and our country. We track how certain choices are playing out and how they will affect us. Being more knowledge is a good thing and it’s important for milspouses pay attention.
You know what you can handle. Just like some people can enjoy horror movies and others can’t, some milspouses can watch the news while others should be more careful. If you know that watching the news will be too much for you to handle during a deployment, scale back. For some, watching is going to be what they need to stay grounded during the deployment.
Be cautious with the news you watch
Be choosy with the news that you are watching. Stay away from biased channels and be aware of their point of view. Find good resources to use to fact-check what you hear. Try not to share anything sensational, false, or fake news. When you read or watch something troubling, try to put what you see in perspective. If you hear about bombings in certain parts of the world, find out what that means for our military and foreign policy.
Find spouses to talk to
If you are worried about what you hear on the news, talk with others who are willing to do so. Not everyone will, but discussions with knowledgeable folks will help you process information and come to a conclusion about what that means for your life.
Julie Provost is an associate editor at Military One Click and a National Guard spouse. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.