Last week, we honored our past and present soldiers on Veteran’s Day. Being a soldier is one of the bravest decisions a person can make; when a soldier signs up for the military, so does their family and when a loved one is deployed, it can be difficult for those left behind.

Here are a few ways to help yourself and your family while your loved one is deployed:

Find a support system. Find someone you can talk to, whether it be a family member, a close friend, or a therapist. You might find a group of other military wives/husbands who know firsthand the daily struggles that you face.

Communication. Before your loved one is deployed, come up with a plan for communication. Granted, your plan may have to change once your partner is overseas, but it’s important to have a basic plan. Communication plays a crucial role when your partner is physically absent. Maintaining an emotional connection is essential for the both of you.

Find your role. Whether this is your partner’s first deployment or if the both of you have been through this before, it’s important to find your role. It might change from deployment to deployment. Don’t force your loved one to talk about their experiences, but be open to listening if they do feel the desire to talk. If there is a shift in their demeanor or you are concerned about their wellbeing, encourage your partner to seek help.

Be the sender of care packages. Don’t think you are limited to your partner’s favorite food or drink items. Send them artwork from your children, strips from their favorite newspaper comics, a book from their favorite author, or a new magazine. You can find some helpful tips here.

When children are involved. Your family’s routine will be disrupted, but it’s important to try and set up a new routine quickly. It will be difficult, but try to prepare your children for changes before your loved one deploys. Let your children ask questions to both of you. As always, communication is key. There are some excellent tips on helping your children through deployment here.

Take time for yourself. A majority of your focus will go to your partner and your children during this time. And that’s okay. However, you do need to take time for yourself. If you like to run or do yoga, make sure you find time during the week to do that. If you enjoy painting or scrapbooking, do that. It’s important to keep yourself healthy, both your mind and your body.

A deployment is difficult whether it is your partner’s first or fifth tour. It might get easier or harder with each one, depending on a lot of different factors. If you would like to talk with Reka about any problems you are facing with your loved one’s deployment, don’t hesitate to contact her by phone at 402-881-8125, by email at, or via Twitter or Facebook.

photo credit: jcolman via photopin cc