August 2, 2019

{Guest Post} 7 Fun Ways to Reconnect with Your Spouse After a Deployment

7 Fun Ways to Reconnect with Your Spouse After a Deployment
Being a military spouse is never easy. When the military deploys your spouse, you become a single parent who needs superpowers to run the household and take care of the children. It’s exhausting, and the thought of losing your husband or wife weighs heavy on your mind—not to mention the lack of emotional connection and the absence of your spouse’s physical presence.

When they come home from a tough deployment, they’re as eager as you to reconnect. We’ve put together a list of fun ways to reconnect with your spouse after they return from a long deployment. So, greet your spouse confidently as he or she walks through the door and drops their ditty bag and life-saving LAPG tactical gear because you’ll have entertaining ways to strengthen your relationship.

1. Honeymoon
A mini vacation is a favorite for many people because getting away brings back fond memories of other special times together. It allows you to focus on your relationship and the love you have for each other. Try to get away even if it’s just for a weekend.

Sometimes going on vacation after deployment is tricky, so, if you can’t, pretend you’re a tourist where you live. Have a romantic candle-light dinner at home or out at a restaurant and go on a long walk. Plan a picnic in the park. It’s critical to cherish each moment spent together because you never know which deployment will be your spouse’s last.

2.Reconnect with Memories
Use old photos to make a timeline of all your favorite memories as a couple. Talk about how you first met or your wedding day. Where was your first kiss? If you live close to the place where you first met or got married, take a trip to that location to bring those memories to life. 

You probably don’t live close to those locations but walk down memory lane the next time you go home for a visit. Couples with busy lives can grow apart over time. It takes effort to remain committed to each other. Reminiscing helps you see what attracted you to each other in the first place. Rekindle the romance and recommit to your life as a couple.
3.Take a Cooking Class
Relationship experts say that cooking together helps you reconnect because it allows you to work as a team. Calphalon sponsored a survey around 2016 that Lightspeed GMI conducted on how cooking influences a couple’s relationship. 

The survey asked approximately 1,000 adults aged 18 and older what they think about cooking and relationships. Eighty-seven percent of those people said it’s one of the best activities to strengthen a relationship. The study illustrated that couples highly value communication and cooking together fosters excellent communication.

No matter what stage of their relationship the respondents were in, they all agreed that cooking strengthens relationships via communication. Around 92 percent of those surveyed also said that preparing food for your significant other is an incredible way to show them that you love them.

In fact, eating separately from your husband or wife can damage your relationship. It sends a message that you aren’t a team, and it can cause conflict. So, take that cooking class or even cook a meal at home listening to your favorite music with your mate.

4.Have a Pajama Party
This activity comes from licensed family and marriage therapist, Robyn D’Angelo. She suggests that you put on your favorite music and get some of each other’s favorite food and treats. Most importantly, don’t talk about what type of pajamas you’ll wear to the pajama party. This activity would be a great one for when the kids stay at a friend’s or family member’s house. 

5.Create Mystery Dates
Take turns planning a mystery date. This activity requires you each to pay attention to one another’s ideas about exciting places and activities, and then incorporate those ideas into the mystery date. For example, maybe your soldier mentioned a mountain town that they’d like to discover. Find a unique place to have lunch there and plan some activities that he or she would love like hiking or zip lining.

Make sure that you take care of all the details, such as finding a babysitter or paying for attractions. Keep the date a secret but tell your partner what to wear. This activity engages your empathy muscles while you design and plan fun activities that you’ll enjoy as a couple.

6.Create a Jar of Activities
Another fun exercise to help you reconnect with your soldier is for each of you to create a jar filled with different seasonal activities that you would love to do, such as kayaking or tubing. Write each idea on a piece of paper, fold it up, and put it in the jar. Each time you want to do something together, take turns drawing an activity out of each jar.

Susan Lager, licensed psychotherapist and self-help author, created this activity to bring couples closer together. She said that you could also spice things up and use the same process for physical touch. With this exercise, it's critical to honor each other’s fantasy in a safe and exciting way.
7.Find a New Hobby to Do Together
Maybe he likes to hunt, and you’d rather do creative projects. Sit down and discuss your different favorite activities, and then find common ground between them. You can usually even find a connection between active and sedentary hobbies. Figure out an activity that factors in things that both of you like.

For instance, perhaps take up hiking or walking in the woods. He can look at animals through a sturdy pair of LAPG binoculars while you take pictures for a scrapbook or unique photo album.

Reconnecting Requires Effort from Both Sides
Reconnecting takes effort from you and your military spouse, whether it's staying in and cooking together or going on a new adventure in a new town. In today’s busy world, you may have to schedule times to reconnect in your hectic life. It's worth the time and effort to strengthen your relationship so that you can be a more successful couple, as well as better parents.

Meta Data: Reconnecting with your spouse after they return from deployment can be difficult and takes time. Here are some fun ideas to reconnect and grow stronger as a couple to enhance your relationship. There are even ideas for partners with diverse interests.

Thank you for this guest post: Mark Hedman, CEO of LA Police Gear, LA Police Gear lapolicegear.com

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July 30, 2019

{Guest Post} Seven Strategies to Prevent Nursing Fatigue

Stressed nurse sitting in hospital corridor
Seven Strategies to Prevent Nursing Fatigue
Nurses are incredibly resilient. Each day, they wake up, throw on a set of scrubs and head into work to perform a demanding 12-hour shift—all while striving to provide the best possible care to their patients. Then, they get home and fall asleep, only to begin the process all over again.
But as a nurse, you know that this barely touches the reality of the situation. In the United States, most hospitals and clinics are woefully understaffed, which often forces nurses to work longer shifts and manage far more patients than they can actually handle. The unfortunate result is nursing fatigue, a common condition which can make you feel both mentally and physically exhausted for days, weeks or even months. 
Almost all nurses have experienced nursing fatigue at some point in their careers, so don’t feel guilty over it. Instead, you can try these seven strategies to combat the effects of nursing fatigue.

1. Leave work at the door.
When you clock out from work, it’s important for you to clock out mentally as well. Leaving your work at the door is essential for avoiding compassion fatigue, a condition which results from repeated exposure to patient suffering while working in a high-stress environment.
In a 2017 study published in the European Journal of Oncology Nursing, researchers found that nurses were more likely to experience compassion fatigue when they were more self-judgmental. If you come home from work and feel guilty about all the things you could have done to make your patient’s life easier, you won’t give yourself time to recharge for the next shift.

2. Practice different forms of self-care.
Nurses go from patient-to-patient, checking their vital signs, administering medicine and assisting them with daily activities. As a result, it’s easy to get so caught up in caring for patients that you forget to take care of yourself.
Young athlete woman tying running shoes in the park outdoor, female runner ready for jogging on the road outside, asian Fitness walking and exercise on footpath in morning. wellness and sport concepts
To be on top of your game each day, it’s critical that you do things for yourself on a regular basis. Some self-care practices you can try include: going for a walk in nature, starting your day with meditation or signing up for a healthy subscription meal service. 
If you tend to feel guilty about treating yourself, make your forms of self-care double as a bonus for work. For example, do arm work every other day to help lift your patients or invest in the new pair of nursing shoes that you’ve been eyeing for months.

3. Use your vacation days.
You have vacation days, so remember to use them. Taking time off work is key to preventing burnout and will help you return to work feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. If your nursing unit schedules vacations at the start of each year, be sure to get your days in the books—even if you don’t have anywhere in particular to go. 
In fact, planning a “staycation” for yourself may be the perfect getaway. You can recharge your batteries by relaxing at home, catching up on things you’ve been neglecting and spending quality time with the family. 

4. Unload your brain after each day.
After a particularly tiring shift, sometimes you just need to declutter your mind and get all your thoughts out of your head. One way to do this is by writing them down on paper or typing them into a Google doc.
Female working with laptop at home woman's hands on notebook computer Writer blogger designer telework
Untangling your mind and getting the thoughts out of your head can lower your mental brain fog and allow you to relax after a shift. The process is simple: Just set a timer for 15 minutes and unload your thoughts. Once the time is up, delete your document or click out of it. Reading it over again will only put the words back into your head.

5. Change your work environment.
While it’s no secret that most hospitals and clinics stretch their nurses far too thin, some take it to another level by creating an environment that is downright dangerous. If your healthcare institution has a poor nurse-to-patient ratio and no system in place to provide help for nurses, it may be worth it to begin searching for a new job.
Though nursing is an in-demand field, finding the right fit can be trickier than it sounds. Don’t be afraid to explore different healthcare settings to find your ideal work environment. While you might take a pay cut in some instances, the change could be the key to preventing nurse fatigue.

6. Find a specialty you love.
It’s much easier to prevent nursing fatigue when you truly love what you do. If being a registered nurse just isn’t working for you, consider switching to a nursing specialty that makes you happy to stroll into work each day.
At the intensive care unit. Nurse standing near hospital bed with a baby preparing it for treatment. Press-tour to the Ukrainian Children’s Cardiac Center for mass-media. May 18, 2018. Kiev, Ukraine
While you could always take a nursing specialty quiz to help you nail down your career, one of the best ways to get a feel for a particular specialty is hands-on experience. Are you interested in a position as an emergency room nurse? Talk with the ER manager and let them know you’re ready to help. There are hundreds of nursing specialties, so be sure to explore all your options to find a job that truly ignites your passion.

7. Explore new hobbies.
Every nurse needs a hobby that allows them to decompress and wind down from work. Finding joy in a new hobby can combat nursing fatigue by giving you something to look forward to after a shift.
Some of the best hobbies for nurses often double as stress-relieving activities, such as painting, knitting, woodworking and jewelry-making. Be sure to explore hobbies that get your heartrate up. Getting involved in a pickup soccer game, going ziplining with friends and enrolling in a martial arts class can help keep your mind off work while improving your mood. 

Long shifts combined with understaffed nursing units are the perfect storm for nursing fatigue. While some healthcare facilities are working to address the problem, it’s important for you to be proactive about your health and happiness. With the help of these strategies, you can fight back against nursing fatigue and prevent it from affecting your personal and professional life.
Thank you to Deborah Swanson, Real Caregiver Program Coordinator, of allheart.com for writing this article.  If you missed her previous post click here: