Service members are integral to the armed forces. However, they’re important people in your family too. When they’re away, it’s challenging to cope with their absence. Here are some tips for coping with a deployed family member.
Keep Lines of Communication Open
Even though you can’t see your family member in person, that doesn’t mean they’re not here for you. Maintaining communication with your service member helps you cope with their deployment. Talking on the phone, sending letters, and audio messaging are great communication outlets.
It’s also important to think about your service member’s feelings. Most likely, they’re homesick and want to connect with you. Consider sending care packages with special things. After all, sentimental items like pictures, handwritten notes, and drawings are things soldiers deployed overseas want in a care package.
Engage With the Community
Coping with a deployed family member is easier when you engage with the community of other armed forces families. For example, there are military support groups for spouses of service members. These groups allow people to connect with each other and bond over shared feelings.
Involvement also includes volunteering, joining religious institutions, and attending local events. It’s all about cultivating relationships with people around you. Empathetic people can offer additional support and a fresh perspective on deployment.
Maintain a Routine
It’s easy to feel stuck when a family member is away. However, routines build consistency in your life and can make deployment less stressful. Stick to daily tasks like going to work, running errands, exercising, and engaging in hobbies. This way, you maintain independence and a stable lifestyle. Feel free to add communication into the routine too. For example, you may talk to your service member once a week or message them frequently.
Don’t Hide Your Feelings
Feeling sad, lonely, or restless when you have a deployed family member is normal. It’s OK to express emotions and share your feelings about the situation. Hiding your feelings can lead to physical stress, which can manifest as issues such as fatigue, panic attacks, and body aches.
Remember—you’re not the only person dealing with deployment. Other family members probably share similar feelings with you. Talk to someone about your emotions. It might also help to look forward to things. For example, express how happy you’ll be when your service member returns home.