Lizann standing in front of the Marine Corps War Memorial

The Best Advice I Received from a Military OneSource Counselor

There are several key moments in my military life when I have turned to a Military OneSource counselor for advice and support. The network of professional counselors vetted through Military OneSource is a great resource for anyone who needs non-medical counseling. If you are stressed, frustrated or struggling in your relationships with your spouse or children, then Military OneSource is a great place to turn. Let me tell you about two moments when Military OneSource counselors made a huge difference in my life and my marriage.

Advice for a Tired Mom During Deployment

The first time I called Military OneSource and asked for a counselor was during my husband’s 6th deployment. I was raising our four young children by myself, on the other side of the country from any family members; I was feeling stressed about the situation. I had heard of Military OneSource years earlier and wanted to see if this resource could help.

Thankfully, I felt brave enough to reach out. I was impressed by how quickly they answered my call and connected me with an available counselor in my state. I received 12 free sessions to schedule whenever I needed them, and there were about 12 weeks left in the deployment, so I scheduled a phone call with the counselor once a week when my kids were sleeping.

During those sessions, I talked to the counselor about my stress level. I discussed the ways I was trying to deal with deployment and the daily tasks that exhausted me. One of my challenges was that we had a tight budget and there was no money for child care. I felt like I never got a break.

The counselor helped me brainstorm ways to build little moments of self-care into my life. I realized that self-care didn’t have to be about big, expensive events like a trip to a spa. It could be simple things like enjoying a cup of tea, making time for a workout, cleaning up a space in my house, or journaling.

There was one piece of advice from that counselor that truly made a difference: She encouraged me to get a robot vacuum! At the time, these were new and expensive, so I didn’t think I was at a place in life to “deserve” such a thing. She gently counseled me that my peace of mind was valuable too. So, when I saw one discounted on a Black Friday sale, I ordered it!

For the rest of the deployment, I would set up the vacuum, then go take a shower and revel in the fact that something was getting accomplished in the house while I was relaxing. It was a simple thing to do, but it lifted the weight off my shoulders. To this day, I view that robot as my mental health vacuum to help me when I’m feeling overwhelmed.

Advice for Transitioning Out of the Military

The second time I called Military OneSource and asked for a counselor was when my husband was retiring from the military. It was a huge transition for our family. We moved to a new home, then he retired, and we swapped roles: I found full-time employment, while he became the primary caregiver for our kids. Retiring from the military was something we had both looked forward to and prepared for, but it was still a difficult time.

I connected with a Military OneSource counselor a few months before he began terminal leave and continued for six months after his retirement date. This time, I only needed appointments once a month because I just wanted to get neutral feedback on some of the adjustments we were facing.

The counselor helped me on numerous occasions to see problems from fresh angles, to brainstorm solutions, and to understand more about why I was feeling so emotional during this stage. The best advice she gave me was about the different ways my husband and I approached tasks. I like to focus on one task at a time. My husband has numerous interests and goals and seems to work on them all at the same time. It means we work very differently and often disagree on timelines and priorities for projects.

The counselor talked to me about the difference between people who set parallel goals vs. focused goals. I am someone with focused goals. My husband works on parallel goals. Neither one of us was “wrong.” We just had different approaches. Understanding how to see things from his perspective dissolved a lot of the tension in our marriage during this time.

Using a Military OneSource counselor helped de-stress my marriage during two difficult seasons. I recommend their free, non-medical counseling to any service member or military spouse who needs someone to talk to during a challenging time.

Lizann Lightfoot
Written By Lizann Lightfoot
Marine Corps Spouse

Lizann is the Seasoned Spouse – a Marine Corps wife, mom of four and published author. She loves writing, exploring new duty stations and chocolate!

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  • It’s great to hear how much OneSource has helped you, especially during tough times like deployments and transitioning out of military life. Your story about the robot vacuum is a great reminder that self-care doesn’t have to be extravagant—it can be as simple as easing daily chores.

    Also, your insights into handling the transition with your husband highlight the value of understanding different approaches to tasks and goals. It seems like recognizing these differences really helped ease some tension.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences and highlighting the benefits of OneSource!

  • Social Media Admins says:

    Hi Kelly, thank you for your kind words!