75 Tips for Surviving Deployment
Deployment. Deployment. Deployment. That word is enough to turn a good day into a bad one. As military spouses, we know that deployments are a part of military life.
Surviving deployment is a must, even on those most difficult days. Whether your spouse deploys every few months or you go through a 9 or 12-month deployment every other year, you will need to figure out what works for you and how to get through.
Deployments are going to be a difficult part of your marriage, but that doesn’t mean they have to break you. That doesn’t mean they have to bring you down. With enough help and encouragement, you can get through your deployment, even if it is one day at a time.
Here are 75 tips for surviving deployment:
1. Make goals
Make a list of everything you want to while your spouse is deployed. Start on this list right after you say goodbye. Having goals will allow you to focus on something besides the fact that they are gone.
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2. Read some good books
Reading can be pretty therapeutic. Getting lost in a book will help you through those long deployment nights.
3. Try not to get jealous
Jealousy can be an issue during a deployment. You can get jealous of a friend who talks to their spouse more than you talk to yours or a friend whose husband is not deployed. Try not to compare your situation to others.
4. Find a routine
Routines are good. Even simple ones. Find a routine that works for you. Find one for your kids.
5. Take photos and make albums
Take lots of pictures, make albums, and then send them to your deployed spouse.
6. Learn OPSEC
OPSEC is so important! Learn what OPSEC means and make sure you don’t post what you shouldn’t on social media.
7. Call your Mother-in-law
She is the other person that misses your spouse as much as you do, even though it is in a different way.
8. Get organized
Organize your life. Having an organized home can help with your mood.
9. Be careful about the news
Some people can handle watching the news during a deployment; others can’t. Figure out which one you are and stick to it.
10. Pace yourself
Don’t try to do everything on day one. Pace yourself. You have a lot of days to get through.
11. Use technology for your advantage
We live in a time where technology allows us to video chat with a spouse deployed overseas. Remember how lucky we are.
12. Stay loyal
Don’t cheat. I know, do I even have to say that? But just don’t. Stay faithful. If you don’t want to be married anymore, you can talk about that with your spouse but don’t cheat on a deployed service member.
13. Start a countdown
Not everyone likes to countdown, but I do. It helps me celebrate the days I have been through and puts the deployment in perspective.
14. Know it’s okay if you don’t talk every day
Know that it is okay if you don’t talk to your spouse every day. Sometimes there will be missions that will take them away from the phones. Don’t freak out if you have to wait a few days. Remember, no news is good news.
15. Re-arrange your living room
Find a fresh look to your home. Move furniture around and have fun with it.
16. Go to church
If you are religious, go to church. Sundays are hard anyway. Being able to spend time at church part of the day is good for the soul.
Pray and use your faith to help ground you during the deployment.
18. Ask people to pray for you
Asking others to pray for you can help as well. If nothing else, you will know other people are thinking about you.
19. Pay off debt
Deployment is the perfect time to pay off debt. Get rid of extra bills and work towards your future.
20. Binge Watch
Deployment and Netflix go hand and hand. You can also have Hulu, Amazon, or any of the other streaming services.
21. Plan a Space-A trip
If your spouse is deployed, you get a higher priority when you Space-A. Take some time to look into how to Space-A and plan a trip.
22. Find a support group
Find a group you can depend on. It can be an actual support group or a more informal one. You can even start a deployment support group yourself.
23. Go to playgroups with your kids
Playgroups are the best. Time for your kids to play with other kids and you to talk with other moms.
24. Be open with your partner
During a deployment, it is important to be open with your partner. You are still married and being able to talk while they are away is important. Sometimes this might just mean writing letters and other times it will be phone calls and video chats.
25. Make new friends
Deployments can be a good time to make new friends. Find people who get you and what a deployment is like.
26. Explore your city
Take the time to get out and explore your city and community. It will be good for your soul.
27. Join a gym
Work on yourself during a deployment and join a gym. Hopefully one with childcare.
Drink the wine. But not too much.
You know you need coffee. Invest in a nice coffee maker and have your daily cup.
30. Find a sitter
Find a good babysitter. She can watch your child when you head to the Commissary or just for a night out with friends.
31. Start a business
Have you ever wanted your own business? Maybe now is the time to start. Doing so will keep you busy.
32. Start a deployment garden
Gardening gives you a chance to focus on something else and is good for you.
33. Listen to podcasts
Podcast are fantastic. There are so many awesome podcasts out there, on so many different topics.
34. Develop an easier nightly routine
When you have kids, bedtime is all up to you. Figure out if you can change your current routine to make the night a little easier for yourself.
35. Find me time
You are going to need to figure out a way to have me time during a deployment. Get creative if you have to and use the resources available in your community.
36. Let others know what you need
Don’t be afraid to let others know what you need. Friends want to help one another out.
37. Find something new to do
Find something new to try that you have never done before. Be adventurous.
38. Use the CDC
The CDC on your military post or base will probably have a CDC. Use it. Look into hourly care. It will save you.
39. Buy deployment books for your child
There are quite a few books on deployment that can help your child. Check them out.
40. Buy deployment books for yourself
There are deployment books for spouses too.
41. Send cute care packages
Get creative and send cute care packages. Holiday care packages are always a hit.
42. Buy cute stationery
During one of our deployments, I found stationery from where we went on our honeymoon. It was nice to write love letters on those and send them off to my husband.
43. Find your people
Finding your military spouse tribe is a must. Make plans with the people who can be there for you.
44. Go to an FRG meeting
I know FRG meetings get a bad rap, but they can be a very good thing. You will be walking into a room filled with other spouses going through the exact same thing you are.
Find a place to volunteer. This can help with boredom, help you develop friendships, and allow you to give back.
46. Trade babysitting with a friend
Find a good friend that you trust. Trade babysitting. This will save you money and still allow you to find that me time.
47. Ask for help
Sometimes we have to ask for help. We simply can’t do it all, all of the time.
48. Go on a mini-vacation
Spend the week in another city, visit a friend, or explore somewhere you have always wanted to go.
49. Visit home
Take a longer trip to visit home. See your parents, friends, and other family members. It will be good for your soul.
50. Work on your hobbies
Have you been putting off your favorite hobby? Deployment is a good time to get back into them.
51. Paint your house
Is there a room that needs a refreshing? Want to change the color? Start a painting project. Invite friends to help.
52. Join Facebook support groups
I have one for my blog. Reach out and help other people at the same time.
53. Follow Facebook pages
There are quite a few military support Facebook pages you can follow. Here is mine.
54. Get up and moving
Get up, shower, get dressed, and go somewhere. Every day. Even if you just take a walk around the neighborhood.
55. Assign chores
If you have kids, assign them some chores to help you out. If they are old enough, this can be such a good way to teach them responsibility and to give you a little bit of a break.
56. Write in a journal
Journals are amazing. You can write out whatever you feel like and no one can judge you for it.
57. Remember, this is temporary
Deployments don’t last forever. They eventually end. Remind yourself of that.
58. Drop the haters
You don’t need to be around people who are going to bring you down. Drop the haters and move on.
59. Check out activities on post
From MWR to the YMCA, see what is going on. There are always events you can go to, many of them are free.
60. Check out activities off post
Look into your local community to see what is going on.
61. Learn to cook something new
Try new recipes, look into learning something new. Get together with friends to share what you like to make.
62. Cry when you need to
Having a bad deployment day? Let it all out. Then pull yourself together to go on to the next day.
63. Seek extra help
Sometimes we need extra help. Don’t be afraid to start going to a counselor. They can help you more than you release.
64. Call your mom
Call your mom when you need to. Let it out. She can comfort you.
65. Find a new job
Find a new job, do something different, move up in your career.
66. Plan a post-deployment vacation
Talk to your spouse about what they want to do when they get home from the deployment. Plan the trip. That can be a fun distraction.
67. Start a blog
You have something to say about your experience. Start a blog and write about your situation.
68. Follow blogs
There are many military spouse blogs out there. Follow them. Learn from what they have to say.
69. Let things go
Sometimes we have to take a step back and let things go.
70. Know that you will have good days and bad days
Some deployment days will be good; some will be bad. That tends to be how things go.
71. Don’t worry about the next one
For many of us, there will be another deployment. Try not to worry about that during this deployment. You don’t know what the future will hold.
72. Text your friends
Texting can be a good way to connect with your best friends throughout the day. And can be helpful during a deployment.
It’s okay to laugh. Smile. Have fun. It’s okay to do so during a deployment.
74. You be you
How you do deployment could be different than how your neighbor does, that’s okay. You do you.
75. Remember you got this. You are strong enough and brave enough to get through a deployment.