Fill your days!
Don’t stay at home!
Have you heard this deployment advice before? It’s good advice. If you are always at home, not doing anything, the deployment is going to be a lot harder for you. You need to stay busy, find things to do, so that time passes instead of standing still.
Can you be too busy?
What if you have taken on too much?
Can you survive without any downtime?
I know I can’t. I need time at home to recharge. I need to relax. I can’t be busy all of the time.
During deployments, I find myself trying to find the perfect balance. I want to stay busy, but I still want some downtime. I don’t want to get bored, but also want to be able to breathe a bit sometimes. And finding this perfect balance can be so difficult.
So what can you do to find that balance? How can you stay busy without being too busy? Here are some tips to help:
Say yes to the best
When filling out your calendar, you might be presented with so many different activities and events. Only say yes to the ones you really want to go to. What types of things do you really enjoy doing? What works best for your kids, and your budget?
By only saying yes to the best things, you can avoid feeling burned out by activities that really aren’t your style. While you want to be open to new experiences, if you know that taking your kids to a certain play-place always ends in tears, it might be best not to make plans to go there for the time being.
Know your kids
This goes along with what you say yes to. You know your own kids. You know what works well for them and what doesn’t. You know how much they can handle on a given day.
I have a son that needs a lot of downtime at home to recharge, especially after a long school day. This can be a big challenge when trying to stay busy. I always had to figure out the best way to balance our time keeping that in mind.
Stay busy at home
There are things you can do to stay busy when you are at home. You can start a DIY project, start on a new book series, or even sign up to take classes online.
You don’t always have to fill your calendar with big events or activities far from home. There is a lot you can do to stay busy at home, which can be helpful when you have small kids.
The key is having some type of plan. Invite a friend over for playdates, put down the dates you will be repainting your kitchen on your calendar, or make time to go for a walk to break up the day.
It’s okay to say no
It’s okay to say no. It is. Running a household when you are the only parent around means you have to either do everything or delicate everything so it gets done. You might be the only one cooking, the only one cleaning, the only one making sure the kids get to where they need to go.
Because of this, you can get burned out pretty easily. During this stage, you might find people asking you to do things. You might find yourself feeling like you always have to say yes.
But you know what? You don’t always have to say yes. You can say no sometimes. The world will not fall apart I promise.
If you are feeling pretty overwhelmed with your busy schedule, see what you can say no to. It might even be saying no to something that week, knowing you need the rest. It might even be saying no to something good, but deep down you know you need a chill day more than you need to be busy.
Plan days to relax
Put days on the calendar just to relax. This can look different to different people.
Some would want to just chill at home, others would book a spa day or go browse around a bookstore.
If you have kids, check into your local CDC to see if they have any Super Saturday events going on, or if they offer extra free childcare hours. You can take these days for yourself during a deployment, and create some peace during a busy time.
Don’t compare yourself to others
Some people like to be busier than others. I know for myself, I need to have my downtime, deployment or not. I like to get out and do things but if I don’t have that downtime, I can really feel it.
Sometimes I see what some of my friends do each weekend and I feel like I could never do that much on a regular basis. And I think that is okay. We all have different personalities.
During a deployment, you might see friends, even ones with a deployed husband, doing what you feel would be too much for you. Don’t worry about that. They are doing what is best for them, you do what is best for you. Don’t feel like you have to keep up with them if that doesn’t work for you and your family.
There is something nice about finding that perfect balance, and you might not always totally get there. You might go through months at a time where everything is flowing and then will have to redo your schedule and make some changes. Burn out is so very real during a deployment but you can do things to help stay more balanced.
Whatever you do, however you choose to stay busy, know that it is okay to take a down day, or not schedule so much. Figure out a good balance and remember that how you choose to spend the time might look different than how other people do. Find things you enjoy, and don’t be afraid to say no sometimes.
Make sure to check out my other deployment posts to help you through and enjoy these blog post from other military spouse bloggers on self-care and staying busy: