Part 4 of 4
Six TDY Discussions
"Trust and Fidelity
Stress of Isolation"
I'm Already Home... Again
The Road Home
Pocket Flip Tips
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This is the final week of our topic "Six TDY Discussions to have with your family." This last article is a bit longer, but it's worth it because it talks about the vital issues of trust, fidelity, stress and isolation. These discussions could save your relationship! I think that's worth 970 words...don't you?
What about Trust and your Relationship?
Deployment can strain even the strongest marriage/relationship. Most couples are together because they love each other and enjoy each other's company and separations prove challenging. Before the service member leaves, take time to define and discuss the boundaries and rules of your relationship. Remember that each relationship has its own "rules" and others in your unit will be different. Set your own guidelines. Having this discussion ahead of time will help alleviate awkward situations and stress.
- Is this really worth it?: Before deployment remind yourself why you are in this relationship and why you love each other. If your relationship is already strained before departure, chances are the separation won't help it.
- Good communication: Open communication that is thoughtful but honest is critical to relationship success. Be tactful but don't withhold how you are feeling or what your needs are from your partner.
- Avoid temptation: During the deployment don't put yourself in situations that test your loyalty or limits. If you're pulled off track, think back on your relationship discussion and work to honor the agreement you've made. If you're tempted to do something that you wouldn't do if your spouse was looking over your shoulder then stop and think carefully before you proceed.
- Establish trust: Jealousy can be toxic to even the healthiest relationship. Trust until you have been given a reason not to. Keeping secrets can eat away at that trust. Keep communication open and don't jump to conclusions if you hear "rumors." Letting your partner know you trust them is a great way to show love.
- Don't break promises: If you make a promise of fidelity, work hard to honor that promise. Fidelity is the promise people worry most about breaking. Talk openly about this before you leave. If your marriage finds that it must face this issue, get help and don't make quick and irreversible decisions.
- Strong Bonds-PREP (Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program): This great relationship enrichment program may be offered by a chaplain near you. If possible, go through the training before deployment. In some cases, the classes are being offered both in home and in theater so both spouses and service members can attend during the deployment.
How will we Deal with Burnout, Stress, and Isolation?
During this discussion, first recognize that burnout will happen on the home front. It will focus mostly on the family at home, but the serviceperson should take some "quick tips" from the ideas below.
- Take care of your physical health
- Monitor caffeine and alcohol intake.
- Eat regular meals. Skipping meals forces your body to run on adrenaline only and depletes energy.
- Exercise. Even a mild workout or a nice walk helps you find additional energy.
- Sleep is the key to good health. Lack of sleep affects your mood, productivity, and immune system.
- Take care of your mental health
- Take a break from your responsibilities when you need one.
- Hire a babysitter and get a massage, go to the pool, read a book, or just relax!
- Start a journal. Writing what you are feeling about the highlights and hardships of your day is often therapeutic.
- Are you spread too thin?
- If you have a bit of extra money, hire professionals to complete some of your chores. A dog walker, a nanny, a house cleaner, or a food delivery service can free up some time and reduce stress.
- Set realistic goals: Make a "to-do" list and be realistic about how much you can accomplish.
- Accept help when someone offers to run an errand, provide a meal, or baby-sit.
- Manage your schedule: Having all your obligations and commitments in one place, will help you have more control and feel less overwhelmed.
- Delegate responsibility to your children. If your 4 year old can make their own bed (even if it's not perfect) then let them. They'll feel a sense of accomplishment and you'll save the few minutes. Be sure to applaud and recognize their independence.
- Let go when necessary. You can't do it all.
- The OHIO (Only Handle It Once) rule: Putting things where they belong the first time will save you from picking up and putting away again later.
- Avoiding isolation:
- Don't shut yourself in. As tempting as it may be to relax at home and spend energy missing your service person, you'll feel better if you are occupied, involved and connected to friends and family.
- Have a "battle buddy." This is someone (maybe from your unit) who can help you celebrate, commiserate and understands what you are going through.
- Take time for things you enjoy. Don't just sit around waiting for your service member to call. Take a class, learn to speak another language, start a new exercise routine, plan a monthly girls' night with friends...whatever lets you spend time on yourself!
Thank you for making these past 4 articles part of your deployment preparation. Our goal is to give you a better understanding of the importance of having these discussions and encourage you to take a proactive approach to these potential deployment stressors.
|I invite you to reprint this and share it wherever you think it will be useful. Please follow these guidelines for reprinting this article:
- The article must not be rewritten. You may edit for length only.
- The article must include this permission/bio at the end: Article written by Elaine Dumler and reprinted from her newsletter with permission.
- For military family books and information on briefings, visit www.ImAlreadyHome.com or email Elaine@ImAlreadyHome.com