Category: Relationships

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.

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.

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.

A Military Spouse’s Guide for Getting Through a Deployment

Stay Strong and Stay Connected with Our Military Care Package Subscription Box

It seems like time slows down during deployments, when you’re responsible for “holding down the fort” at home. Maybe you have children and pets. Maybe you’re working full time or juggling multiple part-time jobs to keep things running. We get it: you’re busy, emotional, and tired. There’s nothing quite like being a military spouse, and getting advice from other people without that experience feels useless.

Instead, take a cue from someone who’s been there with My Hero Crate’s tips from other military spouses about how to get through deployment with your sanity.

Use On-Base Benefits

Especially if you live on-base, you’ll find that these close-to-home resources are invaluable. Do all your shopping on base when you can and take advantage of on-base babysitting at the Child Development Center when you work and when you need a break.

Most base CDCs have an hourly child care option, so you can schedule a couple days per month to enjoy time to yourself to decompress, destress, or problem-solve without children interrupting your train of thought.

And if you’re already living on base or at least near to base, you won’t need to travel very far to drop off and pick up your kids, making it the most convenient option available to you without relying on family members or friends.

Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

Getting a good night’s sleep is key to feeling your best and being healthy. Being well rested is the foundation for good days. When you’re tired, your body handles stress and emotions differently. Just like when your kids get fussy, you know it’s time for a nap, do the same for yourself. Hit the hay at a reasonable hour and wake up every day at roughly the same time.

Try not to watch TV in bed, or leave lights on all night. Cozy up in your dark bedroom and focus on resting and falling asleep.

Healthy sleep habits help you keep your energy up throughout the day and prevent that run-down feeling.

Exercise at Home or at the Gym

Exercise releases endorphins that can help improve your mood and increase your energy. Take advantage of free gym access or fitness classes on base when you can, or look up at-home workout videos online and work up a sweat in your living room.

According to the Mayo Clinic, you should get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise every week, spread out over all seven days. You don’t have to exercise because you’re trying to lose weight; it’s just good for your body, physically and mentally. And even if you don’t care about all that – it will at least help you pass the time and perhaps meet new friends who are dealing with deployment, too.

Talk

Your military spouse friends know what you’re going through, so if you’re having a tough time during deployment, make a few phone calls and plan a get-together to help take your mind off of your emotions or process them.

As a military spouse, you also have access to free non-medical counseling sessions through Military One Source. Attending counseling sessions does not mean that you’re weak. It means that you’re strong enough to acknowledge that you need help managing stress and life while your spouse is away.

Participate in Activities

Whether you frequent on-base activities for spouses dealing with deployment or you make your own, keeping busy with something fun is ideal! 

You can plan a day trip with your friends or children, take up a new hobby, learn new skills via online courses, or anything else you can think of. Not only will these help you pass the time, but you might gain valuable knowledge you can apply in your career or use to start a small side business to help you bring in some extra money each month.

Stay Connected by Sending Military Care Packages During Deployment

Your hero may be deployed, but that doesn’t mean they don’t realize how hard you have it at home. They hope that you’re doing well, thinking of them, and feeling happiness at every opportunity.

Remind them of your love by sending our monthly subscription box for deployed military members in the Air Force, Navy, Army, or Marine Corps. For just $39.99 a month, for as many months as you’d like, we’ll send your hero a military-approved care package full of sweet and salty snacks, quick meals, personal care items, and premium gifts like sunglasses, headphones, and activity kits. And shipping is always free to any APO, FPO, or DPO addresses.

Each time they receive one of our military care packages in our signature olive-drab box, they’ll be thankful for everything you do while they’re away – while you’re thankful for everything they do, too.

Subscribe to our military care package service today.

Facing Valentines Day During a Deployment

Send a Gift for Deployed Soldiers to Help Them Celebrate

The uncertainty of deployment, coupled with missing yet another holiday together, is heartbreaking. For many couples, Valentine’s Day is about togetherness and showing each other how much you care. Distance, especially long ones across oceans, can make celebrating difficult. But this year, My Hero Crate has ideas for how you can make the most of your Valentine’s Day celebration. 

Enjoy Valentine’s Day with Friends

If you can’t spend the holiday with the one you love, then why not spend it with friends who are going through the same thing? If it’s safe to meet up in person, plan a small dinner party or dessert night. Otherwise, plan a gathering via video conference, where you can play games, chat, and do the same activities. Use apps like Zoom, Discord, Google Hangouts, or Facebook Messenger to arrange your virtual meet-up. When you spend Valentine’s Day with people who are enduring the same thing you are, you find lots of common ground and can comfort each other.

Do Absolutely Nothing

Sometimes treating a holiday like Valentine’s Day like any other day makes passing the day much easier. While you’ll definitely have to deal with hearing about other peoples’ plans, you can revel in the fact that you can spend the day doing whatever you want – including taking a nap on the sofa, eating junk food for dinner, going for a run, or meal-planning for the rest of the week, for example.

Plan a Spa Day

Use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to practice some serious self care. Indulge yourself in luxurious and relaxing spa treatments – even if they’re DIY ones – and simply enjoy the rejuvenation process. You can get everything you need for your DIY spa treatments in our Women’s Relaxation Gift Box. Treat yourself!

Spend Time with Your Family

If you and your military hero have started a family together, devote February 14 to your children (even if they’re fur kids!). Plan fun activities for them, like a special dinner and movie night. Get creative with it. For example, if your kids are very small, create a drive-in movie experience by creating “cars” out of cardboard boxes and lining them with a blanket. They can enjoy their movie from the inside of their new rides while you stretch out on the sofa.

Head for the Great Outdoors

Reconnect with nature and practice mindfulness as you go on a hike on a nature trail. Take in the sights; breathe in the crisp, fresh air; and enjoy moving your body and using your muscles. Many people find peace in nature. Perhaps you will, too.

Shop ‘Til You Drop (Within Reason)

Sometimes retail therapy is all it takes to get your mind off of your sorrows, like missing Valentine’s Day with the one you love. Save up all your shopping, including grocery shopping, for Valentine’s Day, and knock it all out in one day. There’s something soothing about the process, even if you’re just shopping for necessities.

Send a Military Care Package to Your Deployed Hero

Even if you may only get a letter or card in return, you can make your hero feel special and loved on February 14, by sending him or her one of our military gift boxes full of snacks and treats, or with items meant to inspire relaxation. We’re also pleased to offer a Valentine’s Day gift for military members this year. It’s a special gift box full of V-Day-themed items and sweet and savory treats. 

Five Reasons to Send a Monthly Military Subscription Box

My Hero Crate Makes Care Packages Easy!

One-time snack boxes are a wonderful gift – but what if you’re looking to send a present every single month? If you’ve ever wrestled with the complexity of sending a package to an APO address, then you know it’s not something you look forward to. But My Hero Crate is making the military care package game as simple as can be, and taking care of all the complicated work for you.

We’ve come up with five very important reasons you should send your hero a monthly military subscription box – but we’re sure once your hero receives it, they can come up with a few more!

You’ll save time shopping for care package items and organizing shipping.

Shopping for individual snacks, hygiene items, and fun surprises can be quite time-consuming. Rather than scurry from store-to-store looking for something unique to include, you could dedicate that time to doing something vital to running your household – and there’s always something to do, right?

My Hero Crate’s care package experts source gift items and assemble each box with great care. And because all our items are sourced from American distributors, we’re keeping our business right here in the U.S.A.! 

Your hero will have something to look forward to each month.

A monthly subscription box from My Hero Crate means your loved one in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, or National Guard will receive a new gift box every month, without fail, for as long as you’d like.

Soon, your loved one will know when to start counting down the days to their next gift. When they receive it and open it, they’ll be reminded of how much they’re loved and valued. It’s like sending them a big hug from home!

Our care packages are affordable.

For the cost of just 10 lattes, one tank of gas, or 40 lottery tickets, you can send a military care package anywhere in the world, with free shipping for APO, DPO, and FPO addresses.

And our care packages are a good value! Each gift box is completely filled before being sealed and shipped, so you know you’re getting your money’s worth.

Unique premium gift items are included each month.

Your hero won’t receive the same items month after month. Variety is the spice of life, and subscription boxes are meant to be varied, too.

Each military subscription box includes items like:

  • -Salty snacks: potato chips, beef sticks, pretzels, and more
  • -On-the-go snacks: granola bars, beef jerky, and more
  • -Quick meals: ramen noodles, mac ‘n’ cheese, breakfast oatmeal packets, and more
  • -Candy: America’s favorite fruity and chocolatey treats like Hershey’s bars, Starburst, and Skittles
  • -Personal care items: disposable face masks, cotton swabs, antibacterial wipes, tissues, and more
  • -Healthy snacks, like nuts, fruit snacks, protein bars, and more
  • -Premium gifts, such as a phone battery power bank, sunglasses, headphones, water bottle, and more

We donate to non-profit, veteran-backed organizations every month.

For every care package we sell, we donate a portion of our proceeds to a non-profit organization that’s doing great work for American veterans. Check out our website to see which organization we’re supporting this month.

Our donation is just one way we’re giving back to America’s heroes. Assembling meaningful gift boxes and shipping them to your hero is another.

Purchase a monthly gift box subscription online.

Valentine Ideas for Your Hero

Send a Traditional Valentine and a Military Care Package to Say “I Love You”

Every holiday spent apart is difficult, and Valentine’s Day is no different. Your partner or sweetheart misses you just as much as you miss them. One of the most thoughtful ways to show it is by sending them a greeting card. Go the extra mile this year by making your own card to send, and by ordering one of our awesome military care packages from My Hero Crate. We offer free shipping to APO, FPO, and DPO addresses all over the world, no matter where your hero is stationed.

Construction Paper Crafting

Create a greeting card design using construction paper in a variety of colors. Cut out hearts and other shapes, then glue them onto a piece of cardstock or another piece of construction paper. Paper doilies and tissue paper also look great. Write your own greeting inside. This greeting card project is ideal for kids who want to send a Valentine to their parents or siblings stationed away from home.

Collage Cards

A more artful idea for decorating a Valentine is creating a collage to adorn the front. Gather up old magazines, scissors, and glue. You’ll want to start with a background image large enough to cover the full front of your card. Look for nature scenes, cityscapes, colorful patterns, or other meaningful images. Then, choose images for the foreground: people, animals, plants, and other pictures to create a kind of storyline. Write your message on the inside and send it off in an envelope.

Buy a Blank Card and Customize It

If you aren’t confident in your art skills, start with a premade greeting card that is blank inside. Choose one that you can add your own decorations to on the front, like a photo cutout of you and your loved one. Write your own custom message inside.

Write a Heartfelt Letter

If you’re skilled in crafting poems and prose, purchase fine stationery from an online or local store, and draft a romantic letter to your hero. Make it even more special by learning some simple calligraphy techniques from YouTube to make your letter look fancy.

Photo Album Valentine

Small brag-book-style photo albums that hold 4×6” photos are inexpensive at your local dollar store. Purchase one and fill it with your favorite prints and memories, and include messages throughout it to your enlisted loved one. It’s like a multi-page Valentine they’ll love looking at over and over again, and it won’t take up too much room in their personal belongings.

Don’t Forget the Care Package

An ideal gift, our military care packages are full of snacks or self-care items. Receiving one is like getting a hug from home, even when home is an overseas flight away. And while you have many options for premade Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps care packages, we are confident that ours are the best. Why? All our snacks are sourced from American distributors, and we’re an American company, based in Ohio. We also donate a portion of our proceeds to a veteran-backed organization in the United States. 

 

Choose a care package to send to your military hero today.

How to Talk About Suicide

Ways You Can Help Your Hero in Need

My Hero Crate has made it our mission to improve the lives of veterans. Our method is to build military care packages for every branch of the armed forces and to ship them anywhere in the world, wherever your hero is living. We also support nonprofit, veteran-focused organizations because we put our money where our mouth is.

We are not experts in mental health or military suicides. We aren’t trained psychiatrists with an in-depth knowledge of how the brain works. But we do care a whole lot. And that’s why this month, National Suicide Prevention Month, we wanted to share with you some of the research we found about helping military veterans access the care they need, should they ever experience suicidal ideation. If this blog post helps even one veteran and the people that care about them get through a difficult time, then writing it will have been worth it. 

A Long History of Veteran Suicide

It is more than unfortunate that United States military veteran suicide has been a phenomenon for decades; the very first suicide prevention center opened in 1958 because of the prolific number of veteran suicides. In the years since, the U.S. and Veterans Affairs have taken steps to reduce rates of suicide by establishing additional mental health resources and legislation. It is difficult, however, to fix the root cause of the problem.

According to a report published by the VA in 2016, an average of 20 veterans die from suicide each day. Further analysis of the VA study shows that the rate varies by age group. Sixty-nine percent of suicides involved veterans 50 and older, whereas 31 percent involved younger veterans. Ninety-seven percent of victims were male.

The cause? It’s not precise, but the majority of veterans who commit suicide reportedly struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and combat-related guilt. Transitioning back to civilian life can also be quite difficult, especially after years in the military. 

Risk Factors for Veteran Suicide

The National Center for Veterans Studies at the University of Utah and the VA both say there are risk factors that increase the likelihood of military veterans experiencing suicidal ideation:

  • -Feelings of depression or hopelessness
  • -PTSD and/or a history of trauma
  • -Access to firearms
  • -Combat experience and combat-related guilt (although combat doesn’t always play a primary role in suicidal ideation); severe combat conditions
  • -Lengthy or frequent deployments, or longer times at war
  • -Location of deployment
  • -Branch of military
  • -Lower level of education
  • -Divorce soon after the end of deployment
  • -Sustaining life-altering injuries
  • -Brain/head trauma
  • -Witnessing traumatic events, such as their fellow soldiers being killed 
  • -Military structure and re-acclimating to civilian life

Suicide Warning Signs to Watch For

It’s difficult to predict when someone may be considering suicide, especially if they tend to hide their emotions. However, there is a set of common warning signs you can watch for as you interact with your hero at home, over the phone, or via mail.

  • -They make statements about suicide, such as “I wish I were dead,” or, more specifically, “I’m going to kill myself.” 
  • -They withdraw from social contact, including their friends and other family members.
  • -They seem preoccupied with death and dying, or violence.
  • -Their personalities may change, or they may have severe mood swings.
  • -They participate in risky behaviors, including using drugs, abusing alcohol, or driving recklessly.
  • -They express that they feel trapped or hopeless.
  • -They say goodbye to people as though they’ll never see them again.
  • -They change their normal routine, including when and how often they eat or sleep.
  • -They give away their belongings or “get their affairs in order.”
  • -They have acquired means to commit suicide, including purchasing a gun, accessing pills, etc. 

How to Start the Conversation with Your Hero

Don’t worry that if you ask your hero about suicidal thoughts or feelings, you push them into actually doing it. Giving them a chance to express their feelings can actually reduce their risk of acting on them. To do so, you can start your one-on-one conversation by asking some sensitive questions, like:

  • -How are you coping with what has happened in your life?
  • -How are you feeling about everything that has happened with you?

You should also ask some direct questions, like:

  • -Are you thinking about hurting yourself? 
  • -Are you thinking about suicide?
  • -Are you thinking about dying?

Your questions can continue to delve into more detail, like:

  • -Have you ever thought about suicide before?
  • -Have you ever tried to hurt yourself before?
  • -Have you thought about how or when you’d do it?
  • -Do you have access to weapons, or other things you could use to hurt yourself?

What Not to Say

Most suicidologists agree that committing suicide isn’t a decision. In an essay by Gerben Meynen, a professor of forensic psychiatry at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, he argues that “having a mental disorder takes away a person’s ability to choose alternatives.”

In fact, until the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), “loss of freedom” was listed as a component of mental illness. This description has now been updated to an “impairment in one or more important areas of functioning,” which is said to include “one or more losses of freedom.” 

It makes sense, then, that talking about suicide in a way that insinuates it is your hero’s choice would not be productive, and would instead shame them for their struggle. Never refer to committing suicide as selfish, stupid, cowardly or weak, a choice, or a sin, regardless of your personal beliefs.

You should also avoid “making it about you.” It is likely your hero has already thought about the repercussions of suicide and how it may affect their loved ones, but still views it as the only escape from their feelings.

What You Should Do

If your hero is considering suicide, you can help them get the resources they need. You can encourage them to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, and offer to sit with them as they make the call. To access responders with experience helping veterans, your hero should press “1” at the prompt. If they prefer to text with a responder at the Lifeline, they can send a message to 838255.

Help them locate the phone number for their doctor at the VA to get access to the VA Mental Health program and VA Suicide Prevention program. There are so many non-profit organizations dedicated to veterans’ mental health — just like the ones we donate to with the proceeds from each of our military care packages. You can learn more about them at veteranscrisisline.net. 

Be supportive. Express your love for them, and your concern. 

A Heartfelt Sign-Off from Your Favorite Military Care Package Experts

Your personal military hero is also ours. It is our sincere hope that you and your veteran will learn to stave off the thoughts of suicide while living your best possible lives together.

What is Patriot Day?

Join My Hero Crate’s Military Care Package Experts in Solemnly Acknowledging This Holiday

Most people remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they learned that both towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon were attacked by terrorists using hijacked commercial airlines, and when United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania, a foiled attack that killed everyone aboard.

The news was devastating and played 24/7 for weeks as the American people reeled in shock, and New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania began clean-up efforts and the search for survivors; there weren’t many.

Unlike other tragic events like this one, we remember it all by the date: September 11, 2001.

How the Day of Mourning Came to Be

After the terrible attacks on civilians in our country, heroes assembled at the plane crash sites to try to find survivors among the wreckage, including firefighters, police officers, and members of our armed forces.

Just over a month later, on October 25, 2001, the United States House of Representatives passed a bill to make September 11 a national day of mourning. The Senate unanimously voted in favor. As a result, President George W. Bush declared the first Patriot Day in 2002.

How to Observe Patriot Day

Although Patriot Day is not a federal holiday, so schools and businesses remain open, people still take steps to observe the day of mourning. 

 

-Some people hold a moment of silence at the same time the jet hit the first tower of the World Trade Center: 8:46 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time.


-Americans are encouraged to display flags outside their homes to express their love of the country.

 

-Some New Yorkers spend the day quietly and without flair, especially those who experienced the aftermath or lost loved ones in the attacks.

 

-The United States flag is flown at half-mast throughout the world.

 

-Memorial events are held in honor of the 2,977 victims who perished and those who lost their lives during search and rescue efforts.

 

-Non-profit organizations assemble volunteer opportunities for special projects across the country.

 

How You Can Observe this Day

If you’re looking for a unique way to memorialize Patriot Day, consider doing small things close to home to impact the lives of those around you.


Send a thank-you letter or snack box.

You can thank your local firefighters for their everyday bravery in the face of danger as they rescue people from burning buildings. You can thank your local National Guard unit for their willingness to sacrifice their time to serve regionally and sometimes overseas. You can say thanks to the troops stationed at one of America’s many military bases. If you know of a hero from the September 11 attacks, say thank you to them, too. Receiving a note or snack box will make their day.

Do something kind for someone else.
Spend your day performing good deeds and requesting nothing in return. Gather a few extra shopping carts and put them in the cart return at the grocery store. Pick up litter in your local park. Offer to mow an elderly neighbor’s lawn for free. 

Display a flag.
Fly an American flag in your yard to display your patriotism for all to see. Be sure to follow Flag Code and be respectful as you observe the day.

Take your own moment of silence.
At 8:46 a.m. eastern time, sit quietly, with the TV off and your phone on vibrate and reflect on why you’re thankful for living in the U.S. as you remember those who perished in 2001.

Donate to an organization with a mission important to you. Research a nonprofit or charity group that you think is doing amazing work for the American people, and make a monetary donation to them to contribute to their projects. At My Hero Crate, we pledge to donate a portion of our proceeds to a veteran-focused nonprofit for every military care package we sell. If you’re able to make a regular donation, rather than an annual one, consider doing it.

Let Us Know Your Plans for Patriot Day

Are you doing something special in observance of this important day? Tag us on Instagram @myherocrate to show us how you’re paying tribute.

Why Human Connection is Important

A Care Package from My Hero Crate Can Help Provide It

Humans are social creatures. Sociologists and archaeologists have uncovered proof that even ancient humans lived together, hunted together, and enjoyed social activities. These preferences for socialization are thoroughly ingrained in our daily lives. They provide us with parts of our identity and teach us skills to lead successful lives. Having human connection is so vitally important, and for many reasons.

Joining the military can feel isolating, especially as deployments put unimaginable physical distance between soldiers and their families and other loved ones. Thankfully, part of being in the American armed forces is the camaraderie and team spirit among military branches and units. Discharging from the military, then, can be quite difficult, as veterans are forced back into the civilian world among people who don’t fully understand their experiences. 

So, how can armed services members and veterans still get the valuable human connections and understanding they need when faced with a sense of isolation? And what does human connection look like? This month, My Hero Crate explores this important topic.

Perception of Human Connection

Depending on the environment you grew up in, your personal preferences, and your mental state, human connection may look different to you than it does to others. Data from university research shows that simply having access to a supportive person is sufficient to help someone adapt to stress — including stress of a new lifestyle. 

In this case, there is no physical, ongoing human connection, but just the knowledge that it is available. Sometimes, people who are particularly independent need only this to feel connected. However, other people require more intensive interaction to feel a sense of belonging and safety. Human connection looks different to everyone.

The Benefits of Belonging

Having a support system and feeling a sense of belonging is not only necessary to human development, but it also helps our health.

The lack of human connection has been shown to be more harmful to your health than obesity, smoking, and high blood pressure individually. Connections also can relieve feelings of anxiety and depression and help us regulate emotions. When we feel a sense of belonging or that people care about us, we tend to have higher self-esteem. People who feel they have strong support systems, including friends and family, tend to have stronger immune systems, too!

Human connection can also help you live longer. A review of 148 separate scientific studies with more than 300,000 participants shows that those with stronger social relationships had a 50 percent increased likelihood of lengthier survival times. These results remained true across a number of factors, including age, initial health status, and cause of death.

Social connectivity and a sense of belonging also decrease the risk of suicide. Although quite a few factors lower the risk of suicide, one of these is connectedness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, connectedness is, “the degree to which a person or group is socially close, interrelated or shares resources with other persons or groups.”

Healthy relationships, friendships, and close family ties are proven to reduce the risk of suicide. This connection, then, is especially important for a demographic like military veterans, of whom 22 die of suicide per day and up to 30 percent suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Getting the Connection

So how can military veterans or current personnel get the most from their opportunities for human connection? Here are a few ways you may find appealing:

-Support groups for veterans

-Volunteer opportunities for a cause you support

-Living near or with a family member or other loved one

-Weekly family dinners if you live separately

-Participating in therapy with a counselor or in a group session

-Joining a club or enrolling in a continuing education class

-Working a job with supportive coworkers and bosses

-Choosing a hobby that requires interaction with others

Show Your Support and Caring with a Military Snack Box

For family members who are far away from their loved ones in the military, showing your support can help remind your favorite soldier that you’re there for them. My Hero Crate’s military care packages can help you do that. Select a care package of your choice, and we’ll send it to your hero, no matter where they’re stationed.

Order a care package today to stay connected to your hero.

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