In his 18 years of life, this is undeniably the most stressful time of our lives together.
As I prepare to see my 18-year old son off to military boot camp for 13 weeks, I stand by and watch in awe and amazement of the young man I see him become.
The emotional rollercoaster began in his senior year of high school when the talks with military recruiters began taking place. He made his choice quickly and without hesitation. As his mother, I support him in all that he chooses to do. Including serving this great nation.
In our journey together, I’ve quickly realized the high degree of stress such a decision brings with it to both my son and our family. The fear of the unknown; the impending dangers he faces; leaving home for the first time; the reality of not hearing his voice or seeing his face for 13 weeks. After all, I’ve been with him every day for the past 18 years.
As his mother, I’ve raised him all these years in anticipation of this moment. I have to let go. And he has to know that I will be OK.
Meantime, the emotional and physical stress builds.
So, how does one relieve undeniable stress in situations such as these? Unhealthy choices might include a spoon and a pint of ice cream while parked in front of a television set watching Netflix.
But, I didn’t see him through to this point in his life and not intend to be sitting, front row and center, in the stands at his boot camp graduation. So, I’m pretty sure a healthy diet, long walks and my iPod will help see me through.
According to one article, other ways to relax the mind include:
- Hobbies – Do something you enjoy like gardening or volunteer work.
- Home improvements – Choose one room in your home and renovate. Even if that includes something as simple as a fresh coat of paint.
- Write it down – I know for sure I will be writing my son positive letters while he is away. You might also choose to keep a journal and share it later.
- Let your feelings out – Talking with family and friends can be a tremendous comfort. Laugh, cry, and share memories together.
- Exercise – Take a Yoga class, join the gym or just take frequent walks around the neighborhood.
I know I plan to engage in at least one of the above suggestions to help relax my body and mind in the months ahead. I will welcome, and need, the distraction.
Wish me luck. Letting go is so hard.