Living life as a military family, with 8 moves in 18 years, priorities in my life has scattered in many different directions and are constantly changing. Getting orders can be an exciting, excruciating, and/or exhilaratingly emotional time for you and your family and the feelings can shift from one moment to the next. There is always going to be the bitterness of saying goodbye and the nervousness of saying hello to friends, neighbors and communities.
In this unpredictable world that the military has created for us, I have always strived to find and hold on to my constant. I have cherished the relationship with my spouse and children, and hold them close in the time of moving turmoil, but this last move I created a new constant for myself. I wanted the nine day cross-country road trip to be fun, exciting and enjoyable instead of the usual exhausting, annoying and never-ending. The outcome was completely dependent on the way I felt from day to day.
I set out to make my health a priority this time, so I can actually feel better and take in what is around me. Mind you, there was plenty else going on with that to-do list (which included buying a house, transporting cars, kids and pets over 3,000 miles, and relying on the graciousness of friends and family to let us crash and have home-cooked meals.)
I made some easy-to-follow rules for myself that truly did change my experience this time. You can take these and apply them in all situations for relocation.
- Drink plenty of water. I know road trips are notorious for easy convenience foods and drinks, but skipping the over-caffeination by coffee and sugary sodas absolutely made the difference in how I felt throughout the day. If you have stop and go to the bathroom anyway, it might as well be to naturally detox your system and fill up your water bottle.
- Skip the extra "fast food" sides. If you stop for burgers, skip the fries. You don't need to over-do it on the caloric intake, every single time you stop at a Burger King. Even though they aren't amazingly palatable, I order a side salad with my sandwich, so at least I am getting some fresh veggies in my system to help with the digestion of the other not-so-healthy choices. (Plus, who says you can't sneak a few fries off your kids plates?). This allows you to participate and enjoy the meal, but not leave you with the stuff, bloated and blah-feeling afterwards.
- Sleep when you can. If you are settled into a hotel or a friends house for the evening, value your rest time. Your body needs to recharge and recover for the next day. Staying up late, watching TV or playing around on your phone can lead to poor sleep quality and exhaustion. Once your family is settled for the night, get into your pj's and start winding down.
- If you have access to a kitchen- use it. On our last PCS, we asked for a family suite with a kitchenette so we could make quick easy meals in our room. Not only did it save money, but I got to control the ingredients of the food we were eating. You can always stop at a local market for seasonal vegetables and put together easy-to-make meals, like Spaghetti and Meat Sauce, Chef Salads, Tuna Sandwiches, Deli Meats, and Eggs and Bacon.
- On HouseHold Goods Arrival Day- pull out that crock pot and make something healthy for your family. I made a turkey chili on our first day of move-in, and it was a big success. We were missing our home cooked meals and there was very little work and expense involved. Creating a healthy option rather than ordering a pizza will give your bodies the nutrition it needs to support your long days of unpacking.
Moving season can be a stressful and uncontrollable time in our lives. There are some things you can control, and the way you feed, nourish and protect your body is one of them. By taking time to prepare and think about how to make healthier decisions, you will boost your energy, maintain your weight and build up your immunity.
Taking control of the situation instead of letting it control you will drastically change your outlook on the move. Find the time for taking care of yourself and make it a priority. I support women from all over the world find their confidence and encourage their healthy lifestyles in order to thrive the way they deserve. If you are interested in reading more about making better choices for you and your family, please visit my blog at: www.besimplehealthywell.com/mystories and join my Facebook community at Holistic Health from the Military Wife.