The Ultimate Guide to Staying Busy During a Deployment

The Ultimate Guide to Staying Busy During a Deployment

Military life comes with its unique challenges, one of them being the time that we spend away from our loved ones if it's a TDY, Underway, Deployment, and the list goes on and on. We understand how it can be difficult, but we came up with a list of ideas and resources to keep you busy while your loved one is away. 

  1. Community Resources and Support: Military bases and local communities often offer resources and support for spouses during deployments. Some of our favorite things include coffee shop talks with other spouses, connecting with the commands Facebook page to see when events are happening, or even connecting with your local fleet and family center. Sometimes branching out can be a little scary, especially if you don't know anyone or you are brand new to the duty station, but this is a great way to break out of your box and connect with others. 

  2. Online Courses and Tutorials: The internet has opened up a world of opportunities for learning new skills. You can explore online courses and tutorials to pick up hobbies of interest or even go in person to a class. When my spouse was deployed, I found that working out and taking fitness classes was a great way for me to connect with other people and get out of the "deployment" slump I was in by finding something I enjoyed doing. 

  3. Connect with Other Spouses: Connecting with other military spouses who share similar interests or want to explore new hobbies was the best thing I did while my spouse was away. Engage in online forums, social media groups, or local coffee shop discussions. And the best part about that? You can find comfort in relating to others who are experiencing the same challenges as you and make new lifelong friends. 

  4. Creating a Hobby Box: Prepare a hobby box filled with materials for a chosen hobby. Whether it's painting, knitting, or gardening, having a dedicated space with all the necessary tools can make it easier to start a new hobby. Especially if you have children, this would be a great way to share memories with you and your child and make paintings or crochet little pieces to send in a care package to your loved one while they are away. 

  5. Utilize Deployment Time Wisely: Instead of focusing solely on the challenges of separation, view deployment as an opportunity to invest time in personal development. Establish a routine that includes dedicated hours for exploring and practicing a new hobby. In the "online courses and tutorial" section, I spoke about how I attended the gym and went to fitness classes to help meet new friends and stay healthy and active during the deployment period. This was a great way to keep me on a schedule and it gave me something to look forward to every day. 

  6. Take Advantage of Military Discounts: I know, I know, why use military discounts? Many businesses offer military discounts, including those providing hobby-related supplies. These discounts are there for you to use, and if saving a little money on something is wrong, we don't want to be right. 

  7. Document the Journey: Consider documenting the journey of learning a new hobby. Start a blog, create a social media account, or keep a personal journal to track progress, share experiences, and connect with others on a similar path. I came across a spouse who had a deployment journal with their husband while they were away. They would send the book back and forth to each other and write things that happened in their daily lives. 

Even though, deployments, TDY's, and underway present challenges, they also can provide opportunities for personal growth. Seeking out new hobbies, making new friends, and even creating a weekly or monthly schedule to give us something to look forward to, can build a sense of accomplishment and show us that there is something to look forward to. But it is also okay to feel all the things while they are away. But remember, there is always light at the end of the tunnel—you've got this.

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