Advice For Your First Deployment
My next guest post is by a friend of mine, Jess. She was the very first Army wife I met when we started this Army adventure. She was also my FRG leader. I asked her to write about advice she would give someone who was getting ready for their first deployment. Our first deployment was in 2006 and Jess was there to tell me a little bit of what to expect so I just knew this would be a great post! Thank you Jess 🙂
Stressed? Emotional? Perhaps even a bit stand-offish? Sounds like you’ve got a deployment coming up. The bad news is your Soldier is leaving. The good news is you aren’t alone!
There is no specific way to handle a deployment, especially your first deployment. Some people take it all in stride and seem to brush off the hardship. Others seem to physically break down the second their Soldier marches away. Still others seem to change entirely and don’t seem to return to normal until their Soldier is back in their arms again. No matter which category you find yourself falling into, remember this: You are STRONG. You are CAPABLE. You CAN do this!
Just as parenting a child has no actual guidebook, deployments don’t come with magic spouse field manuals. However, let’s not speak that phrase too loudly. I’ve seen some pretty crazy things put into FM’s before. The greatest way to make it through the hardships of a deployment are to simply listen to your heart, listen to other’s advice and pray. If you feel overwhelmed, talk to someone! Believe me, there are a lot of us out there who are willing to listen and lend a hand (or a shoulder) when necessary. Don’t be afraid to ask.
One of the greatest things you can do for yourself is to set personal goals.. You don’t have to get crazy with it; the point of a goal is to be able to accomplish it. Set mini-milestones throughout to ensure you stay focused and on-target. A big favorite that I’ve seen is weight-loss/healthier lifestyles. Say you set a goal to lose 25 pounds throughout the year. Remember to start off in small increments, and celebrate each 5 pounds you are able to lose. This is a great way to have something realistic to look forward to in a relatively short time! The greatest part is-IT’S ALL YOURS! It’s very easy to lose yourself in the constant stress during a deployment. Don’t forget that your Soldier still needs you just as much as you need him/her. Take care of yourself, even while supporting your deployed loved one.
If I could offer just one last bit of advice, it would be to stay busy and not forget that the world is still going round. It’s very common to feel bad about going out and having fun while your loved one is away, but remember, you need your personal time as well. It’s ok to go catch a movie with the girls, or secure a babysitter for a few hours of pampering at the salon every now and again. You are HouseHold 6. You keep the home fires burning. You can’t take care of anyone else unless you take care of yourself first. Make yourself a priority, especially while your loved one is away. Don’t lose yourself to the chaos and stress, and always reach out if you need help. You follow a long legacy of the Silent Ranks. You can do this!