What to Expect from the First Week of Deployment

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!

Milsos and milspouses, here's how you are going to get through the first week of deployment! #ThisisDeployment

What to expect from the first week of deployment:

Mental and emotional exhaustion during the first week of deployment

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 during the first week of deployment. 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!)

You can find support for encouragement and every step of your military journey in my book, “Open When: Letters of Encouragement for Military Spouses.” Order it on Amazon, directly from the publisher, or request an autographed copy here.

Open When: Letters of Encouragement for Military Spouses book

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.

Use these tips to save money during the first week of deployment! Click To Tweet

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. And often, this will happen during the first week of deployment. #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.

Here's how every #milspouse can cope with the first week of #deployment: Click To Tweet

Make social plans for the first week of deployment

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 the first week of deployment

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.

4 Things to Expect from the First Week of Deployment

Get your freezer prepared for deployment! (Amazon affiliate link)

Pace yourself during the first week of deployment

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.

Find ways to relax throughout deployment

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:

These military spouses share their deployment tips in videos during the Deployment Masterclass


  1. Laney

    Thank you for sharing! All such great ideas! I also like to plan ahead for what themed care packages I will be sending each month! It gives me something to do each month and I get to look forward to him opening them! I also like to plan at least one “big” trip for while he is gone.

    • Lizann

      Those are great milestones. That will inspire you to stay motivated! In my Ultimate Deployment Guide, I have a care package worksheet to help you plan out themes. Plus there is another page of deployment Bucket List plans, so you can set goals and make them happen during the deployment.

  2. Helen

    Thanks for sharing! Most challenges in life become easier with repetition. But when it comes to saying goodbye to my husband as he deploys to combat, I find that it’s never easy!

    • Lizann

      Absolutely true! It never gets “easy” but you do get to know yourself and develop coping strategies after a while.


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