Change is a natural part of military life, but that doesn’t always mean it’s easy. Whether you’re making a permanent change of station (PCS), taking on more responsibility with a promotion, or returning home from a deployment, every situation brings different physical and emotional changes. Drinking patterns often change in times of stress, but there are healthier ways to conquer the situation and maintain readiness.
Five tips to assist in tackling change like a champ:
- Take care of your psychological health. Maintaining a positive mindset can be challenging (really challenging!), but there are techniques to help when you’re going through change. Listen to your favorite music or meditate to help clear your mind. Also, remember that drinking less can help improve your mood and maintain positivity.
- Focus on what you can control. There may be things out of your control, including the change itself, but it helps to focus on what you can control. For instance, if you’re facing a Permanent Change of Station (PCS), try the Plan My Move tool to help ease the stress of moving. For a healthy distraction, spice up your workout with a new routine. And don’t forget, choosing to own your limit by not drinking too much helps you make better decisions.
- Handle stress with healthy strategies. Drinking alcohol during stressful times can actually increase stress. Instead, identify your stressors and handle them head-on. Use tools like Chill Drills and these relaxation techniques to find your inner calm. If getting organized is your thing, create to-do lists and check off tasks one at a time to keep moving forward.
- Communicate openly with your support system. Change is sometimes exciting but can be hard to talk about at first. Rather than reaching for a drink, talk openly and often with your family and buddies, and ask for help when you need it. They may have been through similar experiences and have helpful tips to share.
- Take advantage of Marine Corps Community Services resources. Check with your local support or family readiness center for family support resources (like transition and relocation support, financial management and family life education) to see what’s offered at your installation.
Change can be a challenging part of life, but there are ways to make every step a little easier. If you realize you’re leaning on alcohol more than usual, check your drinking habits and find additional resources that can help. Talk to someone at your Substance Abuse Counseling Center for more information. You are never alone during these times.