Maintaining a healthy relationship during a long deployment can be a major challenge.  Whether it’s for military reasons or work, keeping your bond strong while you’re apart is no easy task.  It takes a lot of commitment, trust, and dedication to your partner. Most of all it takes patience.  Here are 10 tips on how to handle your spouse’s deployment and build an even stronger relationship in spite of the distance.

     1. Stay busy

Trying to keep yourself busy with work, home life, or even a hobby is a great way to keep yourself distracted.  It can help ease your mind and offset the sadness.  Sure it’s not easy during the first few days, or even weeks for some, but you will adjust to your new routine and get settled in.  Start setting goals to finish things.  Whether it’s weight loss or saving up for your dream vacation, keep your eye on the prize.

     2. Keep talking

Thankfully, in today’s digital age, it allows us to keep in constant contact with our loved ones whether they are near or far. With Skype, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc, you can readily keep up with your spouse’s every day life. Skype is especially nice since it allows you to have a video call with your loved one.  This is great for when a loved one is away for the holidays or an important event.  It allows them to be a part of it in some way.

     3. Reach out to friends and family

Let’s be serious, a deployment is hard enough being on your own.  You need to enlist the support of your friends and family while your spouse is away.  Start scheduling dates with your girlfriend and bond over nails and coffee.  Reach out to your parents and express how your feel.  More likely than not, they will lend an ear and a helping hand, especially if you have children.  We all know how much work children can be for a single parent.  It’s good to ask friends to watch the kids while you run to the store or meet a friend.  Everyone needs a break here and there.  This will be good for your mental health. You should also talk to your kids and see how they are feeling.  They are also feeling sad, so it’s important that you all bond over the experience together. Your kids will feel better and so will you. Start talking.

     4. Ask for a helping hand

We all need emotional support along with physical help.  If you are a stay-at-home mother, you can get overwhelmed with every day tasks and chores. Along with that, you have kids to feed and take care of.  Ask your friend to pick up dry cleaning or ask your mom to pick up a few things when she’s the store for you.  Anything helps and it’s much needed when you are acting as mother and father while your husband is away. A little help goes a long way.

     5. Be Selfish 

It’s easy to lose steam when you are acting as a single mom.  Even if you don’t have children, the emotional stress and sadness from going through a deployment is taxing.  Try taking some time to yourself.  Whether it’s a weekend getaway or even a relaxing bubble bath, make it happen. You deserve the best.

     6. Stay healthy and keep moving

You need to remain happy and healthy for yourself and your kids.  Start exercising and eating well to help maintain a good balance.  Also keep strong relationships with good people. Exercise can do wonders for your overall health, physically and mentally.  Start reaching out to friends to go running or take a brisk walk.  It will be a good daily therapy.  When you are healthy, you are happy too.

     7. Do mask your feelings

Having a few drinks with friends might seem like a harmless idea, but be sure to not mask your emotions through alcohol. If you overinduldge, you might feel worse rather than better.  Alcohol is a depressant.  It’s OK to enjoy a couple glasses of wine, but don’t overdo it.  Find healthier ways to ‘drown’ away your sorrows. Have a game night with your kids or binge watch your favorite TV show.

     8. Show your love

When your spouse is away, make an effort to send packages filled with practical and fun things that they love.  Weather it be their favorite candy or a good book, show them your love.  Another good idea is scrapbooking or photos of yourself and the kids.  You can also send their favorite snacks that are not available in the country they’re in.  Be creative, your spouse will appreciate the love and support.

     9. Hang in there

Keep your mind focused on what’s to come.  Don’t focus on the sadness on being without yourself, but instead think about the good that’s coming your way.  Your spouse will return, so remind yourself that he’s doing this.  Keep up with your routine and try and make your every day life as normal as possible. Most of all, never depend on your spouse for your own happiness.  He is a part of your life, not your entire life.  Don’t lose focus of your independence.  Find yourself and hang in there.

   10. Trust your spouse

No relationship is perfect, but you will experience ups and downs throughout the deployment.  You must maintain the trust in your relationship.  Trust is a huge part of any relationship, especially during a deployment.  It’s important to keep trust and respect for your spouse to keep the relationship healthy. Make sure to inform your spouse of your daily schedule.  Communicate often.  It’s the key to the success of your relationship.