Here are my tips for surviving deployments and separations:
Based on my experience with these issues over the years, here are the top tips from my journal for surviving deployments and separations.
- Volunteer! Helping others is good medicine for your soul and spirit. Call the Red Cross, ACS or the Installation Volunteer Coordinator for volunteer opportunities.
- Set a goal. Start the program or project you’ve been putting off. Begin a self-improvement program. Go back to school, learn a new skill or hobby.
- Don’t wait for the phone to ring. Plan an outing or a special dinner, then call several friends to join you.
- Travel. New scenery and change of pace, if only for a day or two, does wonders for the spirit.
- Go to work. A full or part-time job can provide extra income as well as opportunities for interaction.
- Take a break. Single parenting wears you down, so go to dinner or see a movie with friends once a week.
- Laugh. Don’t lose your sense of humor. Look for roses and take time to enjoy them.
- Don’t feel guilty about going out with friends and leaving your children with a sitter. That’s the cheapest form of sanity check available.
- Keep a journal of your thoughts and activities while your sponsor is away to help “catch up” when they return. Include snapshots of you and the children taken while he/she was away.
- Join a support group. Whether it is your Family Support Group, Waiting Spouses Support Group, your church or work, the support of friends makes the going easier.
- Don’t always call or run home to “mother” if the going gets rough. That, at best, is a temporary solution, and may become very expensive.
- If you and your spouse have some differences, try to work them out before he leaves. They’ll get bigger and bigger if you don’t.
- Find a “buddy”, another military spouse who is also alone temporarily. Time passes quicker with a friend.
- Little things can help a lot: Cook a special dish that you enjoy, but that your sponsor dislikes; start a small project; do some physical labor — it will help relieve “emotional stress”
- Don’t sit home on weekends thinking, “Oh, if only I weren’t alone”. Get a group of friends together and DO SOMETHING.