I would often see the marines I counseled in the weight room, climbing gym, or at the library, some of them even laughed when they saw me attempting to skateboard at the base park. I was glad to see them out doing fun things too. Marines proudly introduced me to their wives at the pool and would tell me how well they were doing thanks to counseling.
Getting out and playing is something that people naturally do when they feel good about how their life is going. However, sometimes getting out and playing is a therapeutic way to start feeling good about life. The endorphins alone can make you feel better, and if you can find time to play with your spouse and kids then you will also be improving your relationship and creating memories to recall later while on deployment.
As a counselor, I made sure to take advantage of all the resources available to me on base and was constantly learning and participating in new activities in between a busy schedule of work and being a Boy Scout Master. I even taught my children to play tennis during lunch breaks. The looks we got from other service member families was usually of envy that we were having so much fun together. My wife and I took turns attending the free yoga classes that were offered on base, and encouraged service members and their families to do the same because of how it helps relieve stress and alleviate symptoms of PTSD. There is a lot of pressure to perform in the military and to use every minute to further the mission, but if you can find time to play and act like a child in learning a new skill, then don’t hesitate. Families who play together, stay together!