Preparing for a loved one’s deployment is key to lessening the emotional, financial, social, and day-to-day impact. The following suggestions will help you prepare for a loved one’s departure.
- List your monthly bills and other important expenses so that you are aware of your financial obligations (this is especially important if your spouse or partner does most of the household’s bookkeeping). Remember to include:
- Rent or mortgage
- Living expenses
- Payments or loans
- Savings plans
- Banking issues
- Do a home security check. Check the locks, smoke alarms, and outside lights. Make sure you keep spare keys in secure but accessible locations.
- Create a pre-departure checklist that ensures you have what you need to manage:
- Vehicle paperwork and car repairs
- Legal issues, such as guardianship, wills, and access to important documents
- Home repairs
- Medical needs
- Child, elder, and pet care needs
Fear, sadness, anxiety, and loneliness are common when a loved one is away. These suggestions will help you maintain resilience:
- Be patient with yourself and your loved ones. Let the small stuff go.
- Share time with and accept support from family and friends.
- Engage in a stress management practice, such as mindful meditation.
- Volunteer, spend time on a hobby, or take a class.
- Join a support group for people who have loved ones on active duty. Talking with people who are in similar circumstances may help.
- Stick to your normal routine. Eat regular meals and maintain your usual sleep schedule.
- Take a walk or engage in some physical activity every day.
- If you are struggling, talk to your doctor or a counselor.
In addition, you can support your loved one by:
- Talking on the phone or by video conference when you can
- Taking pictures and recording events that you can share with your loved one
- Sending mail and care packages
- Plan a party or reunion (with your loved one’s permission) for after they are back