Fake it till you make it! Yes, as a military wife we have all heard this saying, especially during times of deployment. But just exactly how do we fake it when we are so desperately missing a loved one? I thought back to how I have “faked it” during deployments to get to the other side and came up with this simple list.
1. Count Your Blessings. Its true. Counting one thing to be thankful for everyday can make the worst of days a little lighter. My family even made a “count your blessings” jar where each day we dropped a glass bead inside. It made a year of separation add up to a year of “blessings”.
2. Deck the Halls. You may not feel like it, but getting the decorations out and up might help lift your spirits. I actually went to an extreme while my spouse was gone and was “that” person with the crazy lights on the block. All the lights made me feel cheerier and I knew that I was bringing joy to others through beautiful decorations.
3. Care Packages. Get them out! Shower your spouse with goodies and gifts from home. Have the kids make art projects and have fun with it. You’ll have a connection with your spouse when he/she can taste all the goodies you’ve made them. This leads into:
4. Bake It Till You Make It! Try out new and fun recipes. You may have more time with your spouse being gone, time that they would have been there to help play with the kids. Instead try involving the kids into making recipes. Photograph and share them, you never know what new favorites you’ll find.
5. Travel, or have others come to you! As most military spouses know, nothing breaks up a deployment like a good visit with friends and family. If this isn’t possible, think of day trips to places you haven’t gone to yet that you and the kids might enjoy.
6. Schedules. It’s a balance! Make a weekly schedule and try to fit in some fun time like play dates or social outings for you. Take advantage of “give parent’s a break” programs or parent’s mornings out. Time will go by more quickly if you’re busy… but not “too” busy!
7. Be good to YOU. This can’t be emphasized enough. If you’re not happy, no body is happy. Take time for positive outlets like exercising, massages, or a special treat. Go easy on yourself, set realistic expectations and don’t forget to do some pampering while you take care of everyone else!
8. Easy does it. If life get’s too stressful, don’t be afraid to cut something out! Maybe you can’t bake 10 dozen cookies this year for the cookie drive, cut it back to 2 dozen. Take short cuts when needed and give yourself permission to do something like eat out on occasion.
9. Ring a friend. Is there someone you haven’t been able to connect with while your spouse is there? Deployments are a great time to catch up with friends or family members. Having someone to talk to might help fight away those blues.
10. Start something new. Is there a class you’ve been wanting to take? Something new you’d like to try? A group you’d like to join? Go for it! As long as it doesn’t overwhelm you, starting a new group, volunteering for something or trying a new skill are great distractions while a loved one is gone.