Deployment Guide for Spouses
While sending a spouse off on a deployment is about as heart-wrenching as it comes, the real challenge may be surviving and thriving during the day to day life without them. Everything from juggling the kids’ schedules, to housework, to keeping your sanity is suddenly ten times harder when your sweetheart seems worlds away. Nevertheless, this time can be one of great personal growth and development, adventure, and a space for the two of you nurture your relationship – even from a distance. Keep reading and learn how to make the most of this deployment time, both for you and for your sweetheart.
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Physical and Emotional Health for Military Spouses
Between worry for your spouse, exhaustion from running the home by yourself, and missing your sweetie so much it hurts, you can take a real beating. That’s why it’s absolutely crucial for you to look after your own physical and emotional health during a spouse’s deployment. Though the tears may still come and that ache might never fully go away, engaging in the following activities and practices will greatly help ease the pain and allow you to build a full and positive life, even in your spouse’s absence.
- Stay Busy – If there is an activity or hobby you’ve been dying to try, now is the perfect time to do so. The act of staying busy will keep your mind from having a little too much detrimental downtime, while the challenge of learning something new will actually help to create new neural pathways, ultimately leading to brain growth (always a good thing!).
- Don’t Watch the News – One of the WORST ways to cope with a spouse’s deployment is to watch the news. Though you may feel it’s a good way to stay up to date with him or her, it’s actually a recipe for worry and unnecessary anxiety. Rest assured that you will most certainly be notified if something serious does happen, and go read an exciting book instead.
Are you in a long-distance relationship? Check out The Dating Divas Marriage Club for even MORE great ideas!
- Remain Positive – If you find yourself beginning a downward spiral, check in with yourself and choose to make a switch. Select a few mantras or affirmations to whip out at just such moments and change your focus by repeating them to yourself. This free set is a great place to start.
- Establish Routines – Though lying in bed until noon and bingeing your favorite Netflix episodes can be soothing and therapeutic, it shouldn’t be the norm – especially if children are in your care. Routines not only help keep things running smoothly, they also provide a type of structure and order that is crucial for emotional health. Decide which practices are the most helpful for your family and when you’re going to do them, and stick to it! Our weekly planning kit will help make these even easier.
- Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself – With a spouse on deployment, your priorities may shift slightly, and that is a-okay. If fast food or cereal is on the dinner menu tonight, don’t sweat it. You may have to let less important things slide as you adjust to your new role and the responsibilities that come with it.
- Exercise – We think the best way to banish a bad mood is with a little bit of movement. Endorphins, hormones produced through exercise, are proven mood-boosters PLUS you’ll be looking fit and fab when your sweetie returns. Don’t know where to start? Try giving our list of 101 of the Best YouTube Workouts a go.
- Meditation/Prayer – Equally as important, if not more so, than your physical health is your mental health. Being a military spouse requires a great deal of emotional grit, and the military life can be challenging, especially during a deployment. Whether you choose to engage in prayer, meditation, daily devotionals or a combination of the three, use them as a time to refocus and find peace.
- Connect With Others – Sending a spouse on deployment can be challenging in so many ways as you’re not only losing your greatest sounding board but also your greatest support system. Consider joining a military spouse support group, whether online or in person, or get involved with another group of like-minded individuals through your local church, community center, or school.
- Seek Professional Help When Necessary – If you find yourself unable to function normally or are experiencing anxiety that is having a direct negative result on yourself and your family, it may be time to get professional help. Reach out to a trained therapist or counselor, explaining your spouse’s deployment situation, and take the time to talk things through.
Keeping in Contact with a Military Spouse
Keeping the love and passion alive during your spouse’s deployment may seem nearly impossible, but we’ve got news – not only is it totally doable but it can actually be a really fun facet of the experience. Through letters, care packages, and all sorts of mail-able magic, you’ll not only keep your sweetie’s spirits high but also serve to strengthen the bond the two of you share. Take a look at a few of our most military-friendly ideas for keeping in contact and consider sending one of them soon. We guarantee they’ll be pleased.
- Gifts for Your Guy Kit – If you’re wanting to send a care package but don’t know where to begin, this is the kit for you. Complete with printable tags and box decor, this printable kit guides you step by step into selecting the perfect gifts for your spouse.
- Love Letter of the Month Club – What better way to express your love long distance, than with a monthly love letter that’s as cute as it is romantic?! Instead of giving updates on you and the fam, save these special notes for the mushy-gushy, uber-sweet sentiments that will remind your spouse of just how much you love them. They’ll be on cloud 9 in no time.
- Love Letter Kit 2.0 – For even more unique and creative love letters to add to your Love Letter of the Month repertoire, be sure and take a look at this expansion pack that will make wooing your deployed sweetie SO much fun!
- Sticky Notes Pack – Glam up an ordinary letter or care kit with our set of printable sticky notes – chock-full of lovin’ and so fun to use.
- Long Distance Relationship Kit – Packed with goodies and oh-so-adorable, this kit is the PERFECT way to send some long distance lovin’. Get the whole family involved by having them pick out treats and write a few sweet notes of their own. Be sure to check what specific items can and cannot be included for your spouse’s area.
- Open When Letters – The gift that keeps on giving, these “open when” letters provide your honey with ongoing home-sent love that will keep their spirits high and your relationship strong.
- Cheer Up Care Package Kit – Especially applicable for long deployments, or for the spouse who’s feeling a little low, this bright and bubbly kit will lift their spirits in no time at all.
Support Resources for Military Families
Despite our best efforts to stay positive, not worry, and tackle the day-to-day responsibilities on our own, we may find we’re in need of some extra help. The following resources include not only self-help options like books and websites but also lists of resources for professional counseling services. Remember, you’re not the only one who is affected by your own well-being – the rest of your family depends on it too.
- Military Spouse – One of many military Facebook groups, this page is geared towards military spouses and offers a place for like-minded individuals to connect and get support.
- Military SOS – Short for Significant Other Support, this site hosts an active deployment forum that allows the significant others of military members to communicate, offering a great deal of emotional support.
- InDependent.org – A virtual community for military spouses that seeks to inspire, inform, and connect, InDependent is a valuable resource for those seeking to improve their health and be part of a community.
- Mental Health Resource List – This online list from NMFA (National Military Family Association) provides a host of resources from preventative to crisis-level mental health issues – all covered by TRICARE – the military’s health care plan.
- Finding Joy: The Year Apart That Made Me a Better Wife – This sweet and faith-filled account of one military wife’s experience will help you find comfort and explains the role faith might play in your own deployment experience.
- Modern Military Spouse: The Ultimate Military Life Guide for New Spouses and Significant Others – This raw, real, and downright witty guide will help today’s military wives support their spouse’s roles while also building and capitalizing on their individual experiences and independence. Definitely a read for the modern gal.
- You Are Not Alone: Encouragement For the Heart of a Military Spouse – This faith-filled perspective on the life of a military spouse will guide you through the ups and downs that may accompany this lifestyle in a positive and uplifting way.
- Countdown Til Daddy Comes Home – This sweet story presents a fictionalized setting that will help families and kids identify unique rituals they can create while their military mom or dad is gone.
- My Dad’s Deployment Activity Book – This clever resource for kids will not only keep them engaged and occupied during their parent’s deployment, but also helps foster a sense of connection with them while infusing a sense of positivity regarding the entire experience.
- Night Catch – A sweet and soothing bedtime story, young children especially will love this tale of the nightly game that takes place between a deployed military soldier and his son. Consider incorporating it into your nightly routine to help calm children’s fears and keep them connected with Mom or Dad.
Rocking the time during your spouse’s deployment is no easy feat, but we’ve got your back. Implement these resources and practices and you will be well on your way to that homecoming day.