7 Deployment Depression Coping Ideas for Military Spouses

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Deployment is a challenging phase for military spouses, often leading to feelings of loneliness, depression, and stress.

The absence of your partner, coupled with the inherent uncertainties of military life, can make coping difficult.

Drawing on various resources and expert advice, we'll explore ways to maintain your mental health, stay connected with your deployed spouse, manage stress effectively, and seek professional help when necessary.

Keep in mind, the key is to discover what suits you best and to rely on the supportive networks surrounding you. 



1. Stay Connected

One of the most effective ways to stay connected is by maintaining regular communication with your deployed spouse.

With advancements in technology, numerous platforms allow for real-time video chats, sending emails, or simply exchanging messages.

Even if the time zones are vastly different, try to establish a routine that works for both of you. Sharing the mundane details of everyday life can provide a sense of normalcy and closeness despite the physical distance.

Reach out to people who understand your situation, such as other military spouses who have gone through similar experiences.

Engaging in social activities can also help distract from the loneliness that often accompanies deployment.



2. Limit Media Exposure

In a world where we are constantly bombarded with news and information, limiting media exposure can be an effective strategy to manage stress levels.

It's important to stay informed, especially about matters that directly affect you or your spouse's deployment, but excessive exposure to negative news can heighten feelings of anxiety and stress.

Try setting boundaries for how much time you spend consuming news each day. Instead of continuously checking news updates, designate specific times to catch up on the day's events.

Simultaneously, make a conscious effort to engage more with positive content. This doesn't necessarily mean ignoring the realities of the world, but rather balancing it with uplifting and inspiring content.

Read books that motivate you, listen to podcasts that interest you, watch movies that make you laugh, or follow social media accounts that share positive stories and messages. 


3. Keep Busy

Engaging in activities that you love not only keeps your mind occupied but also brings joy and fulfillment.

If you have hobbies, now would be an excellent time to invest more time in them. Whether it's painting, gardening, reading, or running, these activities can provide a sense of accomplishment and purpose.

If you've been considering picking up a new hobby, this could be the perfect opportunity to do so.

Volunteering is another wonderful way to stay busy while also giving back to the community.

It allows you to focus on helping others, which can be a rewarding experience and can also foster feelings of connection and belonging.

Look for local charities or organizations where you can offer your time and skills.

Similarly, social events can also provide distraction and companionship. Join clubs, attend gatherings, or even organize events with your friends or family.


4. Reach Out for Support

You don't have to navigate this challenging time alone; friends and family can provide a comforting presence and an understanding ear.

Often, just vocalizing your feelings can provide a sense of relief. Don't hesitate to share your experiences and emotions with them.

They may not fully grasp the intricacies of your situation, but their support and understanding can still be immensely beneficial.

Moreover, consider joining support groups specifically designed for military spouses.

These groups consist of individuals who are going through or have gone through similar experiences, providing a unique understanding that others might not be able to offer.

Additionally, hearing others' experiences and coping strategies can provide new perspectives and practical ways to manage your own situation.



5. Professional Help

If feelings of depression persist despite your best efforts, it may be beneficial to seek professional help.

Therapists or counselors are trained to understand and navigate the complexities of mental health, and they can provide effective coping strategies tailored to your specific needs.

They offer a safe space to express your thoughts and feelings without judgment, helping you process your emotions in a healthy manner.

Professional help can take various forms, from individual therapy sessions to group therapy or even online counseling.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), for instance, is a common approach that helps you identify and challenge negative thought patterns, promoting healthier behaviors and coping mechanisms.

Alternatively, you might find relief through other therapeutic approaches such as mindfulness-based therapies or solution-focused therapy.

The key is to find what works best for you. Your mental health is important, and taking steps to improve it is a worthwhile endeavor.


6. Self-Care

Self-care involves more than just the basic acts of eating well and getting enough sleep, although these are important.

Self-care includes emotional well-being, too. It's vital to acknowledge your feelings and understand that it's okay to feel sad or lonely. These emotions are a normal part of the deployment process.

Being supportive of your service member is a given, but remember to extend the same kindness and understanding to yourself.

This could mean setting aside time each day for activities that bring you joy, such as reading, taking a walk, or practicing yoga.

By taking care of your own health and wellness, you're better equipped to provide support for your spouse during their deployment.


7. Delegate Stressful Tasks


If there are tasks or issues causing you stress, don't hesitate to delegate them to someone reliable.

This could be a family member, a close friend, or even a hired professional. It's important to remember that asking for help isn't a sign of weakness; it's a smart strategy to manage your stress levels and maintain your emotional well-being.

Having someone reliable to handle stressful tasks can significantly alleviate pressure.

Not only does this free up your time and energy for other important things, but it also provides peace of mind knowing that these matters are being handled competently.

Delegating stressful tasks is about embracing community support and prioritizing self-care, allowing you to navigate through the deployment period with less anxiety and more resilience. 


Conclusion

Coping with deployment depression as a military spouse can be challenging, but remember that you're not alone.

Reach out to friends, family, and support groups for comfort and understanding. If the feelings of depression persist, don't hesitate to seek professional help.

Therapists or counselors are equipped with effective coping strategies and can provide much-needed support.

Furthermore, delegate stressful tasks when possible to alleviate pressure and protect your mental health.

The journey may be tough, but with these strategies in place and a strong support system around you, you'll find the strength and resilience to navigate through this challenging period.

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July 18th, 2024

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