Dealing with Deployment Stress: 5 Tips for Military Spouses
As a military spouse, you’ve taken on a great challenge by joining the U.S. military community. Deployment is one of the toughest experiences a spouse and family can go through. You may have made sacrifices to get to this point; moving away from friends and family, shifting career goals and committing to the military lifestyle. Dramatic changes in our lives cause stress, and it’s important to understand how to manage and reduce the anxiety so we can embrace day-to-day life.
When times get tough, get creative! Here are a few tips to raise your spirits:
Whether you’re new to the military spouse community or you’re already established within the lifestyle, you probably already know that deployment is hard; especially if you can’t join your spouse abroad for one reason or another.
Reach out and connect with other spouses who are going through the same or similar experiences. A sense of community is one of the most therapeutic ways to adapt to these feelings. Most bases have some sort of resource such as a Military Family Resource Center which is there to help. As you meet spouses who understand what you’re going through, they will be able to offer resources and advice to help you cope. Friendship and companionship are some of the most important resources you can have while your spouse is away.
2. Take care of yourself
If you’re going to work each day or taking care of your family as a single parent while your spouse is away, be sure to set some time aside for yourself. Pamper yourself with a weekly facial or manicure. Go out to dinner with friends. Take some time out of your daily routine to do something for yourself. You-time will help you digest daily thoughts and feelings.
3. Switch up your routine
If you’re a stay-at-home-parent, there are many benefits to starting a small childcare business from home. Your kids are able to improve social skills by interacting with other children. You can bring in some extra money for your family, and you’re helping other military families by providing a childcare option that’s less expensive than other daycare providers.
4. Stay in touch
Make Skype dates! This will give you both something to look forward to; hope and optimism are very important when your family is separated.
5. Consider the kids
Keep your spouse in the daily lives and routines of your kids. Encourage them to talk to their deployed parent each day. Develop crafts such as the Kisses Jar or Special Moments Box to encourage the bond between your children and deployed spouse. Just because they are gone doesn’t mean they have to disappear.
What helps you get through your spouse’s deployment?
Find more information about military life mental health issues on SpouseLink.