As a Military Spouse, you’re aware that deployment is always a possibility on the horizon. It can be scary and overwhelming for both you and your partner, especially if this is your first time going through the trials and tribulations of deployment as a couple — but take comfort in knowing that you have a community around you to help you get through this difficult time. 

It’s also important to know that spending time with yourself isn’t a bad thing. You now have the opportunity to focus on you. Challenge yourself to try new things or comfort yourself with people and activities that feel safe and familiar. 

There is no right or wrong way to stay happy, healthy and active while your servicemember is absent. Here are some ideas to help you survive and thrive while on your own:

Join a program at your local rec center. 

Whether you enjoy painting, pottery or playing intramural sports, your local rec center likely offers a program for your interest. Not only does signing up for a rec center class give you an outlet to explore your interest, but it presents the opportunity to make new friends that share your passions. Having a place to go to and like-minded people to engage with each week gives you something to look forward to and helps you make the most of your alone time while your servicemember is on deployment. 

Visit family you haven’t seen in a while. 

Home is where the heart is. If you’re struggling to pass the time while your servicemember is on active duty, reach out to family you haven’t seen in a while and plan a visit. While it’s important to learn how to spend time with yourself, remember you’re not in this alone. Reconnecting with loved ones brings comfort and peace of mind when you’re facing a tough time.

Plan a girls trip.

Grab your besties and get out of town for the weekend. Your girlfriends are always there to lift you up when you’re feeling down.

Whether it’s a girls night out, a slumber party, a weekend getaway or a full-blown vacation, make memories that will last a lifetime with some of the people who matter most in your life. 

Start a YouTube channel. 

The world we live in today is highly digital and highly visual. Video is one of the best methods of storytelling and connecting with other people, which is why YouTube is such a popular platform. Starting a YouTube channel allows you to be creative, showcase your talents and get close to other creators that share your passions. Plus, it’s a great way to make a living while doing something you love.

Read: MilSpouse Moments: How to Turn Your Talent into a Trade

Enroll in an online or local degree program. 

School is back in session. Look at this alone time as an opportunity to pursue a new career or gain a new skill. Enrolling in an online or local course allows you to challenge yourself, meet interesting people and focus on your own personal growth, whether you’re looking to advance your career, seek new opportunities or simply enjoy learning more about the world around you. 

Get a pet. 

Add another member to the family. If you’re struggling with your spouse’s absence, bring another best friend into the picture. There are so many animals that need good homes and that want to love and be loved by you!

Pets can even reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, which are natural responses to your servicemember’s deployment. Check out your local animal shelters and rescue organizations to find a furry friend both you and your spouse will love for years to come. 

Make care packages. 

Bundle up a box of love for your servicemember. You’re not the only one adjusting to being alone. Your spouse is likely struggling with being apart as well, so it’s important to show them that you’re thinking about them and awaiting their safe return. Send your spouse their favorite snacks, pictures of your family — anything that reminds you of one another that shows your servicemember you’re missing them as much as they’re missing you. 

Read: MilSpouse Moments: The Best Things to Send in Military Care Packages

Redecorate a room in your home. 

Get creative with your living space. When was the last time you organized all of those boxes stowed away in the basement? Home improvement projects require a lot of planning and focus, so they’re a great way to pass time while your spouse is away. Take this opportunity to finally turn the spare bedroom into the home office of your dreams or remove the ugly wallpaper in the kitchen. 

Volunteer for a local organization. 

Devote your time to a worthy cause. If you have alone time on your hands, consider spending it helping those in need within your community. Whatever your passion is, there’s an organization out there working hard to help advance the cause — and they can always use more volunteers. 

Find a workout class you enjoy.

Keep your mind and body active. Let your frustrations and worries melt away through exercise. Finding a workout class you enjoy calms your mind, strengthens your body and gives you an activity to look forward to.

From aerial yoga to boxing to running clubs, there’s a workout for everyone — you just have to do some research to find what works best for you!

Watch your favorite movies and TV shows.  

Get your binge on. Spending time with yourself doesn’t mean you’re alone — not when you have your favorite characters by your side! Rewatch all the classic movies of your childhood or catch up on a new TV series you’ve been meaning to see. 

Join a book club.   

Experience life through someone else’s perspective. Joining a book club gives you the chance to tackle your ever-growing reading list and bond with a new group of friends. There are even online book clubs available if you can’t find a local club in your area!

While the initial thought of being apart from your spouse can be nerve-wracking, make the most of your alone time by finding activities that you enjoy, that fulfill you — that make you feel the most you. And know that your loved one is missing you, too, and that you’ll be together again soon. 

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