How to Cope with Sudden Deployments


Getting the call that your spouse or family member will be deploying suddenly, whether it's for two weeks or two days, can leave you emotionally drained. As military family members, we always know it's possible, but when the time comes, that doesn't make it any easier.

Everyone deals with deployments differently, and every deployment is different. Some are easier than others, but no two ever seem to run the same course. If you feel you need an extra boost, these coping strategies can help get you though the weeks ahead.

Set Goals:

What would you like to accomplish before your servicemember returns? Decide on something meaningful to you, such as completing a college course or an exercise program, or putting extra money into your savings account. It will raise your spirits and give you something to work toward.

Keep a Schedule:

Stay busy -- this can make the time fly by. Keep as close as possible to the same routine you followed before the deployment. This may be challenging at first, but can be the best way to keep you and your children in sync. If you have moved back with family or have just relocated, set a new schedule that you can manage without overdoing it.

Cyndi Betts, a Navy spouse, found that keeping busy with planned outings for her children has worked wonders: "When they tell me that they miss their Daddy, I remind them of all the fun things they'll be able to show him when he comes home."

Treat Yourself:

You deserve it. Reward yourself with simple pleasures when you've passed a one-month milestone in the deployment - an afternoon break from childcare (), a salon haircut, or an evening out with a good friend. It's a way of reminding yourself: "I've done great!"

Reach Out to Others:

Military families know there's always someone in our extended family who can relate to what we're going through. Attending a family support group or squadron family day, or enroll in a free online deployment class. Ask your Navy Ombudsman or Marine Corps Key Volunteer if they know of another family member looking for support. Form a buddy system with someone you trust and can confide in. Listening to someone else's experiences can provide reassurance that you're not alone.

Leah Gianinni, a Marine Corps spouse, explains how reaching out to others has been a wonderful outlet during the tough times: "They helped me see beyond the sad feelings when it was difficult for me. By confiding in others, I found many positive things that I never realized."

Planning for the Blues?

Yes, realizing that you're human can be half the battle. It's normal to have days when you feel energetic and ready to tackle anything. Then there'll be others when crawling under the covers seems like the best bet. Understand that those days will happen -- sometimes when you least expect it -- but that they will pass.

Stick to the Truth:

Gossip and rumors can hurt. Rely only on official word from the command, ombudsmen, or key volunteers. The military is ever changing, and a situation that applies to one person may not be true for another. Remember -- if you hear something that you suspect is a rumor, don't pass it on. You might also consider limiting coverage of controversial news reports about the military if it tends to heighten your concerns.

Learn more at the Deployment Center.

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