Category: Deployment

How Does Mindfulness Meditation Work?

Try It Out the Next Time You Receive an Armed Forces Gift Box

Mindfulness is rooted in a Buddhist concept from about 2,600 years ago and has only recently found popularity in today’s psychotherapy world. While very few studies strongly support the benefits of mindfulness, those who practice it say it has helped their tolerance, concentration, mental clarity, and kindness toward oneself.

Proponents of mindfulness say that its related meditation technique can help former military members cope with the emotional and mental health ramifications of enlistment, deployment, and war. It’s easy to practice, with no requirements for equipment. You truly need only your mind.

What is Mindfulness?

The American Psychological Association defines mindfulness as “a psychological state of awareness,” but more specifically, “a moment-to-moment awareness of one’s experience without judgment.”

In simplest terms, when you practice mindfulness, you simply focus your awareness on what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpreting or judging. During mindfulness, you can practice relaxing breathing techniques or use guided imagery. Researchers believe that mindfulness meditation can help practitioners decrease rumination — dwelling on negative thoughts or ideas — help regulate emotions, and reduce stress. 

How Can I Practice Mindfulness?

Mindfulness practitioners use a variety of methods, the easiest of which you can do during normal daily activities!

Start by simply paying attention. Slow down and notice things with all five of your senses. Focusing on your breathing also can help you process negative thoughts and relax.

Try practicing mindfulness while eating a snack from your military care package from My Hero Crate. Open your favorite treat, and take your first bite. Hold the bite in your mouth and pay attention first to how it tastes. Focus all your attention on it.

Then, start to notice the texture. Move your tongue over it.

Bite into it. How does the crunch or other sensation feel against your teeth? Notice whether the texture changes. Feel the temperature of the food.

Return to focusing on the flavor. Don’t try to identify what the flavor is; simply notice it.

Repeat the process with each bite, for as long as you’d like.

How Often Should I Practice Mindfulness?

You can practice mindfulness any time, anywhere you wish, especially simple types of meditation like mindfully eating.

The more often you practice mindfulness, the more naturally it will come to you. Set aside time every day. It’s a valid form of self care that takes little resources, so it’s a great addition to your mental health care program. 

Try Mindfulness Techniques As You Open Your Monthly Military Gift Box Subscription

Now that you know how to practice mindful eating, you can apply mindfulness techniques to other activities. As you open your monthly military care package subscription, find ways to practice mindfulness with each item.

Over time, you just might notice a change in how you feel — hopefully for the better.

Learn more about our monthly care package subscription, and be sure to thank your loved one who sends you these military gifts!

How to Celebrate July 4th While Deployed

Start Dropping Hints to Your Family to Send a Military Care Package from My Hero Crate

Independence Day is the penultimate American holiday and celebration of our freedoms. But when you’re deployed over July 4th, you and your buddies have to find unique ways to celebrate outside the United States.

If your station doesn’t have something planned for you, like a USO show, or special meal, make it your personal mission to turn what would be an average day into an exciting one, full of all-American treats and pastimes.

Consider these ideas to kick off your brainstorm.

Make a Playlist of Patriotic Songs

You have the technology, so put it to work. Create a playlist full of classic American favorites and let them play on shuffle on July 4. Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA,” the iconic “Stars and Stripes Forever” march, and “America the Beautiful” are three tunes that come to mind.

Not sure which songs to include? Gather a few buddies to build out the playlist. Their input could help you put together the soundtrack to a memorable Independence Day.

Play a Pick-up Game of Your Favorite American Sport

There’s nothing more American than football or baseball. Pay tribute to the United States with an exciting game of two-hand touch football or go six innings of baseball with your unit.

Pick team captains to select their teams, map out your playing field, and recruit someone to serve as the umpire or referee. Assemble a trophy out of odds and ends and present it to the winning team during an elaborate ceremony at the end of the game.

Host a Patriotic Open Mic Night

While you might not have a microphone on hand, gather your unit and ask people to share their favorite song or poem, or put together skits to celebrate July 4.

Recite the preamble to the Constitution. Play acoustic guitar and have everyone sing along to American music hits. When everyone is involved, no one ends up in the spotlight, and you can all share a beautiful holiday together.

Reminisce

If you are unable to help put together an activity to celebrate Independence Day while deployed, take a moment during down time to ask your buddies about their favorite July 4th memories. Maybe they used to attend a fireworks show with their family, or the aunt always brought a tasty potato salad to the cookout.

Sharing these memories can help you feel closer to your loved ones when they’re so far away.

Write a Letter

If you’re going to be away from your loved ones over July 4th, sit down to write a letter to them and mail it in advance of the holiday. In your letter, describe your plans for the day, or talk about times you’ll always remember from past Independence Day celebrations.

If you have kids, send them a drawing for once. Sketch out your family spending time together for the holiday, complete with fireworks, BBQ, and hugs. Your artwork will become something they treasure until they get to see you again.

Share Your Military Care Package

Did your family send you an armed forces monthly care package for July? Share your spoils with a few friends to make the day special. Sit down for a board game, munch on tasty snacks together, and generally spread joy. 

We Deliver Monthly Military Care Packages Around the World!

If you’re a lucky military member who gets hero care packages from My Hero Crate, or if you’re the thoughtful family member who sends them, then take the opportunity to spread the word about us to other families with soldiers and other military members who are deployed around the world.

Standard shipping is always free to APO, DPO, and FPO mailing addresses, and we make sure our monthly subscription boxes contain new and unique items to help pass the time and enrich the days. It’s like sending your love in our signature green box. 

Share this link with other loved ones in the military to help them spread joy with conveniently pre-packaged gift boxes for their heroes.

Five Reasons Our New Spicy Snack Box is the Perfect Father’s Day Gift

Salute Your Military Dad with One of Our Gift Ideas for Service Members

Our newest snack box is forged in fire and will make your dad sweat bullets this Father’s Day! Spice up gift-giving for your Army, Navy, or Air Force dad with our Spicy Snack Box, now available at My Hero Crate!

All of dad’s favorite snacks are in this fire-breathing military care package, including Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, Taki’s Fuego, Lay’s Flamin’ Hot, Spicy Doritos, Planter’s Heat Peanuts, two bottles of Pepper Nectar Hot Sauce, and more. A total of 17 items will set your dad’s mouth ablaze — while My Hero Crate makes Father’s Day gift ideas no sweat! 

Here are five really great reasons our new Spicy Snack Box is the perfect Father’s Day gift!

The price of our Spicy Snack Box includes shipping.

Have you ever put tons of items in your cart on a small-business website only to realize that you’re being asked to pay a prohibitively-expensive shipping fee? That’s not the case at My Hero Crate. The prices of each of our military gift boxes include standard shipping, even to FPO, DPO, and APO addresses worldwide.

When you add our Spicy Snack Box to your cart, you know exactly how much your dad’s gift will cost you — and really, he’s worth it! 

The flavors in our new snack box are WILD!

You could give a bland gift this Father’s Day, like yet another tie or a #1 Dad coffee mug. Or, you could give a gift with some flavor and pizzazz. Our Spicy Snack Box has both, and comes packaged in our signature camo gift box, which is perfect on its own, or you can add your own wrapping paper. 

It’s a Father’s Day gift like none other.

We’re betting your dad has never received a box of impossibly spicy snacks as a Father’s Day gift before. In fact, we’d wager that he doesn’t know any other dads in his military unit who have received such a gift, either!

My Hero Crate specializes in unique gift ideas and simple gift-giving for military members, and our new Spicy Snack Box is no exception. Dad not into spicy stuff? Choose from our selection of other great Father’s Day gift ideas instead, like our Men’s R&R Gift Box or our Movie Night Snack Box

Our military snack boxes are useful and usable.

Sure, you could send Dad a gift during deployment that he has to haul around or set aside for safekeeping among his personal effects. Here’s hoping he has room! Or, you could send your dad a consumable gift that he’ll love and can share with his colleagues at his duty station. Our snack boxes, especially our Spicy Snack Box, are like that!

Your military dad’s gift is fully edible, meaning there’s nothing left to carry home at the end of deployment, and he can use it to make friends and bolster his meals, too.

Our snack boxes also are perfect for the dad who has everything. You’re never sure what to get him because he definitely already owns anything you’ve ever thought of to get him as a gift. Well, he may have eaten spicy snacks before, but no one can say no to more taste-bud blazin’ treats!

For every Spicy Snack Box you buy for your dad, we’ll donate to a veteran-backed non-profit organization.

Part of our mission at My Hero Crate is to make people smile and feel loved and happy. One way we do that is by donating a portion of the proceeds for every military care package we sell to a veteran organization. It’s our way of giving back to important people who protect our freedoms.

Send a Father’s Day Gift from My Hero Crate

Show dad how much you love him, whether he’s at home or deployed, by sending him our Spicy Snack Box. It’s easy to place your order. Just tell us where to send it — anywhere in the world — and we’ll make sure he gets it by Father’s Day. 

May is Military Spouse Appreciation Month

Thank Them For Their Strength and Ability to Overcome Challenges with a Care Package from My Hero Crate

Military spouses are heroes in their own right. They hold down the household and take care of the children and pets while their military member loved ones are away. They move from location-to-location each time duty stations change, readjusting to life and meeting new friends out of necessity. And they endlessly support their enlisted spouses.

So it makes sense that the U.S. would dedicate a month to appreciating military spouses – affectionately called MilSpouses. How will you thank yours for all that they do? Here are a few ideas for celebrating!

A Day of Pampering

Anybody, and we mean anybody, would love a day at the spa to get a massage and pedicure. A massage will help your milspouse relax, but it also is really good for helping to heal body aches and pains. A pedicure doesn’t have to include colorful nail polish. It can be a rejuvenating experience and an opportunity to remove dry, callous build up and get a professional toenail trim. 

 

If a visit to the spa isn’t in the cards, order them a Women’s Relaxation Gift Set or Men’s R&R Gift Box from My Hero Crate.

 

Household Chore Takeover

If your MilSpouse spends their spare time keeping your home in top shape, give them a few days off from it by taking over the cleaning routine. Sweep, mop, dust, and scrub your heart out, while they put their feet up and enjoy their favorite television show. Or, save up spare change throughout the year to spring for a maid service for one month!

A break from keeping house provides the perfect time to enjoy a Mom’s Luxury Gift Set from My Hero Crate.

Chef for a Night

Don your “Kiss the Cook” apron and cook a special meal for your MilSpouse. Don’t forget to include an appetizer – perhaps a small charcuterie board to share – and a tasty dessert for later in the evening.

Supplement your charcuterie board or cheese board with some delicious crackers found in one of our signature military snack boxes. If you’ve received one as a gift, then you already have it in your house, ready for building out the perfect antipasto! 

Military Care Packages for Military Spouses

Sending your love goes both ways! If your spouse sent you care packages while you were deployed or temporarily away from your duty station, then you know how meaningful it was to receive such a gift that you could share with your friends and use as a reminder that someone back home loves you very much.

Return the favor by sending a gift box from My Hero Crate to your MilSpouse – even if you’re together at home. Receiving an unexpected gift in the mail will render them speechless and so, so thankful for how thoughtful you are.

Browse our full selection of military snack boxes or care package gift sets.

Put Your Best Foot Forward with These Foot Care Tips

Our Military Care Packages Help Your Loved One Keep Going

At My Hero Crate, we’re big believers in efforts that promote overall health and wellness. And because our feet are the foundation of our bodies — quite literally — we think it’s important to help your loved ones in the military take care of theirs.

Make sure they have the tools to take care of their feet by sending them one of our care packages with foot care necessities inside and encourage them to seek help with foot care while they’re deployed, on base, and away from home.

Here’s our not-so-comprehensive but important, basic advice on taking care of your feet. It’s easy, and doesn’t really require any special tools.

Basic Foot Care

For general foot care, follow these tips to help prevent injury, infection, pain, or skin issues. Of course, ask your doctor about your feet if you need medical advice.

-Rucks and other physical activity can leave your feet with cuts, sores, swelling, or even infected toenails. Check your feet every day for signs of injury or infection, especially after performing activities that stress them.

-Clean and moisturize your feet. You don’t need to soak your feet or apply moisturizer between your toes, however, which will dry them out or cause an infection, respectively. Lotion, cream, or even petroleum jelly are all acceptable moisturizers for your feet.

-Keep your toenails trimmed. As your toenails grow, your shoes can apply pressure on them, which makes your feet sore. Trim your nails straight across using a nail clipper. Then, file the corners to prevent ingrowns or pressure on your skin.

-Make sure your boots fit properly. Tight-fitting or even too-loose boots can cause problems, like blisters or chafing.

-Avoid wearing unsupportive shoes, like flip-flops, during your down time. They don’t provide the arch support or stability, and you could risk a strain or other injury. 

Dealing with Corns or Calluses

Corns and calluses are common problems, but they can make walking, marching, and running painful. These hard, thick patches of skin can be caused by your shoes rubbing, pressure from ill-fitting shoes, or from being on your feet for a long period of time. Military members, of course, are prone to these thanks to the nature of their work.

Corns usually form on the top of the foot or on a toe, while calluses are usually on the bottom of your foot. Mild ones don’t require treatment and may heal on their own, especially if you file them gently with a pumice stone while you bathe, apply salicylic acid or corn pads to help dissolve them, and wear thick socks to protect your feet.

If corns or calluses become painful and affect your gait and performance, you should see a physician for treatment. 

Preventing Athlete’s Foot

This condition’s name is a bit of a misnomer, because you don't have to be an athlete to develop it. Athlete’s foot is actually a fungus that loves warm, dark, humid environments, like shared locker room areas. Your feet come in contact with the fungus, and it causes dry skin, itching and burning, inflammation, cracking, scaling, and even blisters. It’s easily spread, and can move to other areas of your body after you scratch your feet, or even via your bedding.

To treat athlete’s foot, you can soak your feet in Epsom salts, or use an over-the-counter anti-fungal cream or powder. Your physician can even prescribe antifungal pills to nip a more stubborn case in the bud.

Because athlete’s foot is so easily spread, you should do your due diligence to prevent yourself from getting it in the first place. Not only should you be washing your feet with soap and water every day, but you should also be certain the areas between your toes are dry before you put on socks and shoes. Never walk barefoot in public places, and choose socks that wick moisture away from the skin. 

Send Your Hero a Pre-Made Military Care Package to Help Them Take Care of Themselves

When your loved one enlisted in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, or National Guard, you probably thought about the types of mail and gifts you would send to them while they were away from home after boot camp. 

Most families soon realize that putting together a really high-quality care package for military members can be tiring, as you tend to have to go from store-to-store to find the items they request or would like. 

My Hero Crate makes it easy with our military-approved care packages that you can order straight from us, with free shipping to your loved one anywhere in the world, including overseas at FPO, DPO, and APO addresses. And you won’t want to miss our monthly care package subscription service, which sends your military hero an all-new care package every month. 

Your gifts help them prioritize self care and remind them of all the people who love them back home. Learn more about our care package subscription service for the military, and place your order today. 

Handling Military-Related Homesickness

Send an Armed Forces Care Package to Help Cure Your Hero

Military members, their spouses, and their children all end up dealing with feelings of homesickness at some point. Moving from duty station to duty station, traveling for deployment, or simply being assigned to a base far from home or loved ones sparks this sense of loss and distance.

After you’ve been tied to the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps after a while, you learn how to keep homesickness and its related emotions at bay, until they go away. How you cope with homesickness is dependent upon who you are and your situation — and everyone is different. The feeling is totally normal, and your strategy for dealing with it should be creative and a perfect fit for you. Here are a few methods you can use to help quell the homesick blues.

Meet New People Near You

Building friendships and a support system — even a small one — where you live can help you feel less homesick. This includes if you’re a military spouse, in basic training, or are a deployed military member. Bonding with your unit or other military spouses means you will eventually have plenty of activities to take your mind off the distance between you and where you’re from.

You can meet new friends by attending social events for military members and their families, for starters. Base facilities like the gym can also be a great place to meet people. If you have children and you take them to play on the playground, you may even find like-minded parents looking for friends, too. 

Just remember: you aren’t the only one far from home. Others will be looking to make friends with you, so half the work is already done for you! 

Take Leave If You Can

Enlisted military personnel can take leave, if permissible, to visit family members and enjoy a break from work. You can take a short vacation with your family, or spend time at home doing absolutely nothing.

If you take leave to see your family back home, be sure to let everyone know when you’re coming, so you can plan your visits accordingly. You don’t want to use up your leave time only to find out that beloved family members were out of town when you came to see them.

Call, Write, and Send Military Care Packages

While meeting new people can distract you from your feelings of homesickness, it’s OK to think about who’s back home waiting for you. That’s why it’s important to stay connected with those folks who are far away.

Writing letters and making phone calls when possible are two easy ways you can stay in touch with friends and family members you left in your hometown, or back in the States while you’re deployed. You don’t have to have anything specific to talk about; just have a conversation and enjoy hearing each other’s voices.

Writing letters also gives you and your loved ones something to hold onto to get through bouts of homesickness. You can always reread letters when you’re missing your spouse, children, parents, or friends. It’s much harder to replay a phone call.

If your enlisted loved one is sent far from home, sending a care package is a wonderful way not only to show that you care, but also to make sure your hero has everything they need or want. Simple care packages full of snacks or a monthly military subscription box can mean the difference between having a crummy day and having the best day while enlisted so far. My Hero Crate makes it easy to send armed forces care packages; shipping is always free to DPO, FPO, and APO mailing addresses, too. 

Find a New Hobby

Filling your time with something that interests you is a prime way to deal with homesickness. If you’re having fun doing a new activity, you won’t be distracted by how homesick you feel. Eventually, that gnawing feeling will ease up or go away.

If you aren’t sure what hobbies interest you, do a quick internet search for ideas, or talk to people you know about what they like to do in their spare time. Painting, knitting, running, woodworking, or board games all help you pass the time and keep you feeling happy.

We’re More than Military Care Package Experts

At My Hero Crate, we know a thing or two about curating, assembling, and shipping really awesome care packages that you can send to your loved ones. But we also think we give really great advice! For more ideas for issues you face while living on base, while your loved one is deployed, and more, be sure to check out the rest of our blog.

And when you need to send the perfect gift for someone in the military, we’ve got your back!  Browse our full selection of Marine Corps, Army, Navy, or Air Force care packages on our website.

Self Care Ideas for Military Spouses

Reduce Stress and Refresh Your Mind, Body, and Spirit with These Ideas

It can be hard to focus on yourself when your life gets crazy. Perhaps your spouse is deployed, and you’re shouldering the responsibility of working, taking care of the home, raising children, and dealing with all the household issues as they arise.

But even though you’re busy, it’s important that you stop and take some time to practice self care. It will help keep your spirits up, keep you feeling positive, and give you a burst of energy you definitely need as you face down the next big thing you have to handle. 

Try these ideas for self care, and take time out for yourself.

-“Borrow” your child’s coloring books and color a few pages. You’d be surprised how relaxing it is!

-Choose healthier snack options, and encourage your family to make better food choices, too. You can help your service member make good snack choices by sending our April self-care themed subscription box from My Hero Crate.

-Take an extra-long shower and use your favorite and best soaps and scrubs. You deserve it.

-If the weather is nice, take a walk. Bring along a friend or your kids to burn off a little extra energy.

-Visit a state park and go hiking.

-Have a dance party in your living room. Pick out only your favorite songs and get moving.

-Take a yoga class or meditation class on base, or watch an instructional video on YouTube to learn how.

-Go to bed early or on time every night. You’ll be surprised at how much more well-rested you’ll feel.

-Watch your favorite movie or TV show, alone, with no interruptions.

-Utilize on-base hourly child care and spend an afternoon of “you time” doing whatever you want.

-Read a book for fun.

-Get a salon haircut and blow dry.

-Go shopping and pick out something for yourself.

-Volunteer for a cause you support.

-Drink water throughout the day instead of tea or soda. Invest in a nice water bottle that you can carry around with you.

-Try aromatherapy, using your favorite lotions scented with essential oils, like the one in our April military subscription box.

-Pay yourself a compliment every time you have a negative thought about yourself.

-Hug a stuffed animal.

-Take your lunch break outside.

-Clean your bedroom.

-Ban smartphones for an afternoon. Put yours in a drawer and ignore it!

-Spend quality time with your pet.

-Watch a favorite cartoon from your childhood. You can probably find some episodes for free on your favorite streaming service!

-Write your military hero a letter and drop it in the mail.

-Take time off from cooking and order a pizza for dinner one night this week.

-Refresh a room in your home with small upgrades, like a new bath mat in the bathroom, a new set of curtains in the bedroom, and a scented candle for the living room.

-Do some arts and crafts! Try your hand at junk journaling, scrapbooking, painting, knitting, embroidery, and more.

Spread Self Care to Your Loved on in the Armed Forces

Just as self care is important to you, while you’re at home, it’s also important for your military member, wherever they are in the world.

That’s why My Hero Crate is pleased to announce that our April military gift box is full of items that make self care accessible and easy. Your hero will feel their stress melt away, even for a moment, as they enjoy the gift you sent them! And shipping is always free to APO, DPO, and FPO addresses.

Send a monthly care package to your military hero.

The Human Connection: How an Army Vet Provides Support to Today’s Service Members (and How You Can, Too)

Start with an Military Care Package from My Hero Crate

Ellyse Corbeil is an expert at helping people.

During her seven-year stint in the Navy, during which she was deployed three times on the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan and at Guantanamo Bay, she served as a religious program specialist. She was tasked with helping Navy sailors and officers navigate through big emotions and obstacles related to life — work-related or not.

“I helped people on a human level,” Ellyse explained. “If you were struggling with your career, we could coach you or help you find a better fit.”

She also recalled a time she and her team helped a very young sailor find connections – his peers where he was stationed, dealing with the same things —  to help him feel better and see he wasn’t alone.

“We didn’t always want to give a solution,” she said. “We wanted them to figure it out, with our nudging and guidance.”

Advice for Everyone Enduring Military Life

The most important piece of advice for anyone traversing difficulties while deployed, changing duty stations, or dealing with any other issue, Ellyse said, is to find healthy connections.

These connections include family and friends back home who you should re-establish regular contact with and new people around you, who you share things in common with. 

Healthy connections help you see how others have dealt with similar issues, give you a sounding board for advice, and relieve the pangs of homesickness or loneliness. 

How to Help Your Hero Away from Home

You don’t have to be a skilled counselor or mental health expert to make your military hero feel better about being away from home or missing their family.

“Do the best of your ability to provide support,” Ellyse advises. “And do what you can to not stress out service members while they’re deployed.”

Her top recommendation for spreading good cheer to deployed service members? Sending care packages and mail.

“They make people happy,” she said. “When they receive their packages, they share their treats. A care package is never wasted.”

Ellyse recalls the happiness that comes from receiving an armed forces care package in the mail, which is why she still sends them regularly —  and lots of them —  to her friends who are still enlisted.

“I love the My Hero Crate concept, because it makes sending a care package so easy,” she said. “Especially if you aren’t sure what your loved one wants, or if they aren’t the kind of person to openly ask for items.”

Send a monthly military care package to your service member through the subscription program from My Hero Crate, so your loved one feels connected to home.

Using Military Resources

The Navy isn’t the only branch of the military with a religious program specialist. In fact, the same role exists in the Marine Corps, and in the Air Force and Army, it’s called chaplain assistant, although Ellyse acknowledges being religious had nothing at all to do with her role.

If your service member needs to talk to someone, Ellyse said it was easy to reach out. They could call, email, or show up in the office at any time.

Fleet and Family Support Programs are another option for service members and their immediate family members living on base. Counseling and helping with family issues is their specialty, along with helping people transition to their new duty station and to life in the Navy in general.

Feel At Home in Your Rental with These Decorating Tips

Make Your Current Duty Station Home Feel Cozy!

Moving from duty station to duty station gets old quickly, and settling into another temporary home is no longer novel or interesting. And it’s hard to make something feel like home when you don’t have much control over the finishes inside your new home. Such is the nature of renting or living in base housing.

Thankfully, there are creative ways you can make your new living space feel more like home, and you don’t have to spend a ton of money to do it!

Your favorite service member care package experts have a few tips for customizing your rental home. Check them out – and show us if you brought one to life in your space, by tagging us on social media @myherocrate. 

Apply Removable Wallpaper

It’s possible your landlord or military housing restrictions won’t let you paint the walls of your home. It’s really unfortunate, because sometimes a pop of color on a wall can be the difference between a cold, uninviting space to one that feels like you belong.

Instead of paint, consider applying removable wallpaper to an accent wall in your bedroom or living room. Unlike years past, there are so many awesome and beautiful designs to choose from! Removable wallpaper is usually a simple peel-and-stick product that doesn’t require any additional adhesive. 

The Low-Down on Washi Tape

Washi tape is a removable paper tape that comes on small rolls. It’s usually brightly colored or patterned, and it comes in just as many options – if not more – as that removable wallpaper we talked about earlier.

You can use strips of washi tape to create patterns on your walls, or to add stripes to plain, builder-grade kitchen cabinets. And because washi tape peels right off, there isn’t an issue with your customization!

Get Stainless Steel Appliances

No, you don’t have to purchase thousands of dollars in kitchen appliances for a rental home! But you can purchase an inexpensive roll of stainless steel contact paper and apply it to your dishwasher and other appliances to transform your kitchen.

Contact paper is designed to be durable, and it’s easily cleaned. You’ll be shocked at how big of a change you can get in your most-used room of your house with just a $5 product.

Go Green

Live plants add warmth and coziness to a room, and they can be an inexpensive way to decorate your apartment or house without doing any alterations at all.

Visit the local plant nursery and talk to an expert about the kinds of plants that might thrive in your living space. Then, purchase a few decorative pots to plant your new greenery in, and distribute them around your home.

If you have to move and can’t take them with you, give them to a friend living near the duty station, so they can enjoy some living decor, too.

Shower Head Swap

If you hate your rental home’s bathroom, you might be able to change how you feel about it simply by swapping out the shower head! This easy fix can cost as little as $12 and will make your showers feel more luxurious. Just be sure to swap back to the original one before you move out.

Use Room Dividers to Your Advantage

You obviously can’t build a floor-to-ceiling temporary wall in a rental home, so what do you do if you need to carve out a bit of space for a specific purpose? A room divider holds your answer.

Divide a bedroom in two to give privacy to siblings sharing a bedroom, or separate a section of the living room to create a small home office. Not enough closet space? Use a divider to conceal a rolling clothes rack or other unattractive clothing storage solution in a corner of the bedroom.

Fill Your Pantry

Keep your pantry stocked with snack favorites that make your new place feel more like home. It’s easy when you order a military care package from My Hero Crate.

When your beloved service member returns home from work for the day, they can settle in with a quick snack before dinner, and when your kids want an after-school treat, you’ll have one on hand without having to look for everyone’s favorites at your new grocery store. Order your military care package

On Your Team: How an Army Spouse Helps People Improve their Wellbeing

Celebrate Accomplishments with a Military Care Package from My Hero Crate

Louise Valentine has been bucking tradition for years. Before completing her undergraduate degree, she started her own business — the first one. She never stops learning, as evidenced by the alphabet soup behind her name — five major credentials she’s earned over the years to stay at the top of her field. And she’s mastered the art of living without separating work and play.

Oh, she’s also an Army wife, currently stationed in Maryland with her husband and two children, after moving nine times in 11 years, enjoying a full-time career and side gig dedicated to helping people live healthful lives, physically and mentally. The latest way she’s done that is by writing and self-publishing a book on a wildly abbreviated timeline.

You might find yourself feeling exhausted thinking about accomplishing all of that in a single lifetime. But Louise isn’t. She focuses on the driving force behind everything she does, and sticks with it.

My purpose is to help others find realistic ways to live a vibrant, healthy life,” she explained.

Building a Foundation

Louise, a military wifeConsidered a wellness expert, Louise started her career as a sports and medical massage therapist for the NFL when she lived in Ohio. However, after marrying her combat aviator active duty husband, she moved to New York state to join him at his duty station.

After years of re-engineering her career at each new duty station, Louise was awarded a research fellowship with the Army, where she could utilize her health expertise. During her two-hour daily commute, she planned Team Valentine Project, an online comprehensive health resource, at www.TeamValentineProject.com.

As she drove, she’d dictate notes into her phone and transfer the information to a later blog post. The platform shares tips, tricks, and tools for leading a healthful life, with Louise’s experience as a military spouse sprinkled throughout.

Unbeknownst to Louise, the health tool she created in her spare time would go on to help her land a leadership role at a healthcare technology company, Vheda Health, where she works as the Director of Client Services. It’s a position that allows her to help Medicaid, Medicare, and employer group high-risk populations find ways to navigate chronic disease and improve their overall wellness.

And that’s a task that Louise is no stranger to, herself.

Overcoming Obstacles

In a short span of time, Louise received major medical diagnoses that would change how she approached her work: osteoporosis, and a pre-cancer diagnosis mid-pandemic last summer. And then her dad received his own cancer diagnosis.

Louise had already been writing about how to break down challenges and researching how to do it. But her dad’s health was the motivation she needed to turn her thoughts into a concise book that she wanted published as soon as possible, that her dad could hold in his hands, and see that he had been a success at instilling his values in her.

She also saw an opportunity to help people suffering during the global COVID-19 pandemic. So, she got to work in June. She was finished by October, just as her dad completed his month-long ICU stay because of coronavirus.

“When we’re motivated to help others and see the impact we have on them, it’s powerful and energizes you,” she said.

Her book, now available on Amazon, is called The Art of Breaking Through: Five Simple Steps to Take on Any Challenge & Tackle Self-Doubt. While writing, she channeled how she navigated out of her own dark moments in life to overcome obstacles and come out on the other side better than ever.

“We are all perfectly capable of overcoming obstacles,” Louise said. “The more we recognize that, the more we can do and take on.”

Although the final version of her book is quite short, Louise explained that it was intentional, so that her readers could quickly begin to take charge of their wellbeing rather than devoting too much time to grappling with overly-complicated concepts. Her goal was to empower others to change their lives, and she is confident her short book accomplishes that within its 68 pages.

Tips You Can Follow, Starting Today

Making small changes with great intentions can help you navigate out of a difficult place. Louise says these starting points can help you change the things in your life that aren’t working for you.

-Take a stress inventory. Think about the responsibilities you’re juggling and what you actually need to accomplish in the moment to begin feeling better. Choose what really matters, and start there.

-Recognize that you may need to re-engineer your goals. What you might’ve been able to accomplish under other circumstances could be different because of your current situation.

-Find what works for you by looking to those who are successful as your inspiration. Use their techniques to optimize your time and energy, but don’t restrict yourself to assuming their way is the only way to do things. Ask for help when you need it; find a support system.

-Honor the struggle. Anticipate that obstacles and challenges will appear. When you acknowledge that, you’re less stressed when they arise.

Know that changes take time and won’t happen instantaneously.

“It’s taken me years to get to this place, and it’s a good place to be. That [good place] looks different for everyone,” Louise shared. “Find what works for you, and fill your bucket.”

A Care Package from Home Can Help Motivate Your Hero

military subscription boxSometimes motivation comes from things you’d least expect.

You would expect your military hero to find motivation from their work, their squadron, and their leadership. But sometimes it’s the smaller things — the things that don’t necessarily affect careers — that are the biggest factors in getting through the day and getting things done. One of those things just might be a deployment care package.

A gift of sweet and savory treats and games or activities to pass the time helps your hero’s mind stay sharp and focused when it’s time to work, because the fun and relaxation our military care packages provide reminds them of everyone who loves them back home.

Send a monthly military care package to your hero today.

© 2020 MY HERO CRATE