Updated: Sep 14, 2022
When you’re a military kid, having your family member deployed can be heartbreaking. Not being able to see them as often and not hearing from them like you used to can be stressful and painful. Through the tough times that I’ve endured, I’ve curated a list of the best things you can do to alleviate your stress during a family member's deployment.
When you are a dependent, whether that be as a significant other, child, or sibling, you know for a fact that holidays or traditions can be painful during the times they are gone. However, following through with traditions can help you feel close to them while they are gone! An example is watching old television shows you’ve watched with them; when I miss my brother the most I watch shows he would play for me when he had babysat me. Just the little things like that could make you feel closer to the person you miss the most.
2. New Hobbies
If you aren’t keen on doing traditions without your deployed family member, picking up new hobbies can be crucial. It's not only good for you mentally to take your mind off of the stress of a close family member being gone, but it also adds to some fun new conversations! Some things you could do are trying new exercises to help release endorphins to make you feel happier, doing yoga to relax your mind, cross-stitching, or hiking. No matter what you choose, a new hobby will eat up your time and help you remain calmer during these rough periods.
3. Writing Letters
Now, while this may be old-fashioned, it not only makes you feel more refreshed to get what you need to tell them out, but it also makes the person you miss feel loved and appreciated. Some topics you could write about are things that happen at school, maybe some neighborhood drama, or a new food you tried. Whatever you write about, it will help you get out some of the stress of deployment and make you feel slightly closer to the person you miss.
4. Try Some New Music
Even though sometimes sad music sounds good, it's not what’s best for you at the moment. During deployments, I’ve found that listening to some of my brother's music can sometimes make me feel better, but trying some new bands or artists can not only broaden your musical horizon but can also uplift your spirit as well! Checking out a new playlist on Spotify or asking for recommendations from friends is a great way to find new songs.
5. Self Care is Your Bestie
You’ve probably been told this a million times, but it's true! It never hurts to relax in the most classic way with face masks, movies, water, and your favorite food. Sometimes, when you are in the worst mood, catching up on your favorite Netflix series while wearing a sheet mask can make your worries melt away. Letting yourself relax is something that can resolve the stress of deployment.
6. Read a New Book
Sometimes when the real world is too much, drifting off into a new book can be pretty helpful. Stopping by your local library or picking a book you might have in your house is just the fix. There are not only hundreds of books you might be able to relate to but also books that can help you clear your mind. Grab yourself a nice fiction, or maybe your favorite series (just don’t lose track of time during the reading; been there, done that).
7. Make a Gift
Even though your service member may be far away, you can always make them a gift for when they return or mail in a care package. It's not only nice for them but nice for you. You can hit a convenience store and grab them snacks or you can make something homemade! A card or a craft, maybe paint them something or a printed photo of your pet. It could help you feel better by distracting yourself, but make them feel less homesick as well!
8. Connect With Someone Who's Been in Your Shoes
Sometimes talking about what’s bothering you can make you feel more peaceful. During deployments, sometimes it helps to ease your stress by talking to a friend or family member who’s been in your place before. It feels nice to know that you aren’t alone. Getting your negative feelings out can fill you with positive ones!
9. Explore Nature
On a nice day, going out to breathe in the air feels so relaxing. Why not make a checklist of things to find, such as flowers, or trees with red leaves? Enjoying a nice scavenger hunt can make you forget about some of the stresses of your world. It gives you time to enjoy the weather and gives you something fun to distract yourself with! Get out there and enjoy some quality time with Mother Nature!
And Lastly, 10. Reading Bloom Articles!
Bloom is full of articles from other military teens that can help you feel seen and things you can relate to! There are tons of examples of things to do on the bloom website, such as quizzes, or memes. It's a great way to feel connected to a larger community during tough times, but also pick up on new information and have an overall fun time!
I hope my list can help you feel calmer and collected during tough times, and hopefully, you found something in here that’ll make you feel better.