The problem: You are facing a military deployment. Why you should read this: It will tell you what to expect and how to cope with the first week of deployment (whether this is your 1st or your 10th)!
Military deployments are never easy. Whether or not you have been through one before, each deployment has its own challenges. We recently began deployment #7 for my husband. Each deployment, I find myself going through the same emotions and routines at the beginning. It takes a little while to get back on your feet, but here’s how to do it!
What to expect from the first week of deployment:
Mental and emotional exhaustion. The time leading up to a deployment is stressful for everyone. Even when you’ve had months to prepare, it is an emotional roller coaster. Add in the disruption to your schedule, the house being torn apart to pack, and last-minute errands that you rush around to complete… at some point your body and mind just need to crash. The day your spouse leaves is full of tears and heartache. Once they are gone, you may feel overwhelmed and exhausted. This is normal, and it will pass.
“You may feel overwhelmed and exhausted. This is normal, and it will pass.” ~The Seasoned Spouse
Cleaning up all. the. things. Does your service member pack the way mine does? Step 1: get out all the gear and spread it everywhere. Step 2: put the things he needs into his bags. Step 3: leave everything else all over the floor. Please tell me I’m not alone here! Once he leaves, it takes me a few days to get the house back in order. But there is also something therapeutic about cleaning up and organizing. I actually look forward to it, and it helps me see some small positives to him being gone. (Hey, I won’t have to do his laundry for a few months!)
All these tips and more are in my Ultimate Deployment Guide to help you handle it Like a Boss! It’s a 28-page download that you can print out and make into your go-to deployment resource. It’s full of checklists, tips, and free resources for military families. GET YOUR DEPLOYMENT GUIDE HERE.
Cancelling plans and adjusting bills: This is an important thing to do during the first week of deployment. Using a service member’s deployment orders, you can suspend or cancel many subscription plans without penalty. Make sure you have your spouse’s permission first! I always remove him from our driver’s insurance, adjust our phone data plan, and review the credit card for automatic monthly subscriptions that we no longer need. You can save a lot of money unsubscribing to things that your spouse won’t need while they are deployed! Remember to adjust these things back again at the end of deployment.
Things will go wrong: Unfortunately, this can’t be avoided. The deployment curse, also known as Murphy’s Law for deployments, will find you. Someone is going to get sick, or there will be trouble with the car, or something will break at home. #ThisisDeployment Try not to stress too much about these things. Just handle one thing at a time. If you have an emergency plan in place, these challenges are easier to handle.
Ways to cope with the first week of deployment:
Even though I know that deployment is a huge challenge, I also know that you are going to get through it! Everyone eventually gets into a routine and finds a way. Here’s how to jump start that so you can get through the part where you are crying each night.
Make social plans: It’s great to have a friend on call for the first day or the first weekend that you are alone. It doesn’t matter if it is another military spouse or a high school friend back home. You need someone who will get you out of the house and keep you company, even if you just get coffee together. Try to think about this before deployment starts–who will be your go-to person when you’re having a bad day?
“Who will be your go-to person when you’re having a bad day?” ~The Seasoned Spouse
Stock your fridge: Before he deploys, my husband likes to visit all his favorite restaurants. This can play havoc with my weight and my overall health. Then when he leaves, I have no motivation to cook. Pizza delivery, anyone? Too much fast food can mess with your sleep, your emotions, and your well-being. So plan ahead to stock your fridge and freezer with easy, healthy food. I’m not saying you need to eat kale salad everyday! But if you have some frozen meals you can microwave or some pre-cooked chicken breasts to throw in a wrap, then you are more likely to eat healthy food at home.
Pace yourself: Deployment is a marathon, not a sprint. You probably have some personal goals for this deployment and maybe a bucket list of things you want to do. That’s great! Just don’t try to do it all in the first month. If you sign up for too much or get overwhelmed, you may just give up and end up doing nothing at all. Try to tackle one thing at a time, slow and steady.
Relax: Take a breath. This will be hard, but it’s not impossible. You need to have some go-to things that make you happy and calm you down when you’re having a bad day. Whether that is wine and Netflix, going shopping, or just a hot bath, plan to take care of yourself so you have the strength to get through this!
The Deployment Masterclass gives you all the tools you need to feel prepared for deployment challenges! Learn more and sign up here: