As a military spouse, you endure many things to similar that of your beloved service member. It can be tough to endure long, lonely nights, or manage the stress of planning a way to attack the growing to-do list. When your spouse is deployed, it seems to complicate your struggles. You absorb more responsibilities along with the added emotional impact. To help you through the next few months or years that lie ahead, here is a list of ways to survive your partner’s deployment.
1. START A ROUTINE
The sooner you are able to get organized and establish structure, the more you feel in control of the days ahead.
2. PRIORITIZE YOUR DUTIES
Many military families have to navigate school schedules, careers, higher education pursuits, sports games, and so much more even when life is somewhat normal. When deployment occurs, narrow down your commitments to things that are most important. Leave time for spontaneous stress-relieving activities with your friends or children.
3. AVOID THE NEWS
You have enough emotional stress on your plate. Don’t complicate it with depressing or alarming news stories.
4. STOP THE COMPARISONS
Don’t look at the ways others are handling their deployment situations. Your journey and ability to cope or adapt will be unique. Stop comparing how you are doing to those around you. This can make you feel inadequate if you aren’t careful.
5. START A COUNTDOWN
Having a countdown calendar can help you keep a visual reminder of how far you have already come. Counting down by the days can get tedious and overwhelming, so it is often advised to just count down by the weeks.
6. STAY IN SHAPE
You might be tempted to mope around the house and eat ice cream all night, but this doesn’t help anyone (except maybe the makers over at Ben & Jerry’s). Get up, get dressed, and head to the gym for a workout. Exercise helps relieve stress and can combat depression.
7. PLAN SOME YOU TIME
Take a moment each month or week and choose to do something just for you. Having a timeline of things to look forward too helps make the time seem shorter, but it gives you something to talk about and share when your spouse returns home.
8. TAKE TIME TO BREATHE
Sit down and breathe deeply every now and then. Life can get overwhelming pretty quickly, and taking some time to pause help let the moment wash over you without weighing you down. No one said it would be easy, and it is okay to just sit. Take the time to reflect or make new goals for how you are going to address the rest of the time you have.
9. DON’T FORGET YOUR KIDS
If you have children, deployment can be just as tough for them as it is for you. Even though children can be resilient, spend time with them, and do things that help take their mind of the situation. Keeping them busy but focused is one way to channel any pent up anxiety they may be experiencing.
10. KEEP AN EMERGENCY FUND
When your spouse is away, things might break or malfunction that you need help fixing. Having an emergency fund relieves the stress of paying for a repairman or replacing a car part.
11. SEND CARE PACKAGES
Sending a package of goodies and supplies is one way to cheer both you and your spouse. Shopping for just the right treats or decorating the box are fun ways to express the love and care you feel even though you are separated.
12. STAY IN TOUCH
Communicate as often as you can with your spouse. Don’t just make small stuff, stay connected, and keep each other informed. You are going through this together.
13. HAVE A LADIES’ NIGHT OUT
If you have several military wives that are experiencing deployment blues, invite them for a drink or a movie night. Finding encouragement and support with others who understand what you are feeling is one way to keep from drowning in isolation. Be alone when you need to, but have a support system of awesome friends as well.
Even though you are incredibly proud of your spouse, it can be hard to watch them leave for months at a time. It is possible to survive deployment without losing your sanity or yourself.