Deployments suck. No bones about it. But you are in control and can make it suck a LOT less. Here’s a few ideas to help!
A – Ask for help! We all need it sometimes. Also give help if you have it to give. Deployments are a group effort!
B – Be sad! Or mad. Or a little scared. All of these emotions are normal during deployment. Take a day and feel those things; just don’t let negative emotions get the best of you. If you think they are getting the best of you, reach out for help!
C – Count your blessings! If you’re feeling down, take a moment to count all the good things you have going for you. I have healthy kids, a husband who loves me, a nice house, a warm bed, and a full belly. I’m a very lucky girl! Some people even make lists of their blessings to look back on when they aren’t feeling so very lucky!
D – Don’t believe the rumors! If it doesn’t come directly from the Ombudsman, it likely isn’t true. Believing rumors can really set you up for disappointment.
E – Eat! Okay, eat healthy! Take this time to improve your diet. Or don’t eat healthy. Take a pizza and ice cream day. Sometimes a day of comfort food is just what’s in order.
F – FRG (Family Readiness Group) – Hanging out with a group who completely understands what you are going through can help you feel less alone! Plus sometimes there’s food … and cheap or free childcare … That’s enough to get me out of the house!
G – Go outside! Get some sunshine on your face! Breathe fresh air! Take a walk a around the block or a local park! Getting a little much needed Vitamin D can vastly improve your mood!
H – Have faith! Whether faith to you means relying on your church family or simply believing that this too shall pass and that you will make it through, it helps to believe in something!
I – I CAN DO IT! Confidence is key! Many have done it before you, and many more will do it after. Make it your purpose to rock this deployment!
J – Get a J-O-B! Working can keep you busy, will give you a place to be each day, and can help you set and reach goals (save up for a post-deployment vacay, perhaps?). Besides, the sense of satisfaction that working can give is the best! Nothing says “I can do it” like a working gal!
K – Knowledge is POWER! Educate yourself about the Cycle of Deployment, about what services are available to you, about budgeting, about relationships … Fleet and Family and Compass are two fantastic resources!
L – Lean on your support network! These days I could write a thesis on the importance of accepting help. If it wasn’t for a great group of gals driving me places, bringing me dinner, cheering for me, and just listening to me whine lately, I don’t know what I would have done!
M – Make friends! You don’t have to do this alone! Make friends who support you and know what you are going through! Deployment is not a one-man endeavor!
N – NAKED! (Just kidding! Just wanted to see if you were paying attention! lol) NEEDS! Make sure you are meeting not only your children’s or your pets needs, but also you own! Make sure you are eating right, getting sleep, and getting a little “me” time as necessary. This lifestyle isn’t the easiest, but you don’t have to be a martyr! Take care of yourself!
O – Oxygen … Okay, I’m reaching with this one, but what I mean by “oxygen” is just breathe! Sometimes we all need to step back from a situation, whether it’s scary or sad or frustrating, and just breathe. Give yourself that moment before you proceed.
P – Prepare! Prepare! Prepare! Be like Santa and make your lists and check them twice! Make sure home, finances, ID cards, powers of attorney, etc are all taken care of BEFORE your sailor leaves!
Q – Ask Questions! Chances are if you are wondering, someone else is, too. Your Ombudsman is a great resource! FRG meetings and Pre-Deployment Briefings are also great places to get answers!
R – Reach out! Don’t isolate yourself! Call, email, Skype, or visit family! Make friends! Join a play group! Take a class! You aren’t alone in this situation so there is no reason to be alone in your daily life! 🙂
S – Shhhh!!! Make sure you keep deployment specifics (dates, etc) quiet for our sailors’ safety and our own! No one needs to know that you are home alone, right? Safety first!
T – Talk about the other stuff! If you’re feeling sad, lonely, or scared, talk it out. Maybe you just need a shoulder to cry on, or maybe you need more professional help. It’s all there for you. (See letter A!:) )
U – Up! As in keep your chin UP! Sometimes simply choosing to keep your chin up, wear a smile, and have a good attitude is the perfect start to a good day. (Fake it till you make it, right?)
V – Volunteer! Helping others is a great way to lift your spirits!
W – WAH! Sometimes you just need a good old-fashioned ugly cry.
X – Exercise! It’s good for you! It releases endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. WIN!
Y – Yap … as in keep it shut! 🙂 Following safe OPSEC and PERSEC practices make ALL OUT LIVES safer.
Z – Zzzzzzzz …. Get plenty of sleep. We all know we work best when we are rested. Deployment is NO TIME to let yourself get depleted.
So there you have! Easy, right?!? NO! Deployment isn’t ever going to be EASY, but we can all take steps to make it better!
We have to survive, but we can all choose to THRIVE!
Do you have deployment advice to share or tips or tricks to add to the list? Let’s hear ’em!