Over 2,000 National Guard Service Members and their families are preparing for another deployment in May. For some, this is their first deployment. For one, it is his 7th! If you have every been at a deployment ceremony, you know how heartbreaking it is.Â
How can aÂ family prepare? Here are some tips:
1)Â Surround yourself with support; let your coworkers know that you will haveÂ good and bad days and that you need their support.Â Plan time with those friends and family who are your biggest supporters.
2) Prepare a plan to take care of yourself.Â If you are not already, get in an exercise routine,Â take a nutrition class and begin to eat properly, sign up for yoga…the best de-stressor out there.Â
3) Learn to listen to yourself…on those bad days, “ride the wave” …let the feelings come..cry, be sad but then let the “wave” come into shore and settle over the sand. Start the next day again, feel the pride you feel in your Servicemember for what they are doing forÂ our country andÂ you will feel stronger.
4)Â Learn to say no…you may not be able to do all the things you once did.Â Say no to extra tasks that you do not need to do right now and do not feel guilty. “Close ranks” as they say in the military and do what you need to do to get through this stressful time.
5)Â If you have the capacity, get involved. Helping others is the best therapy. Join your Family Readiness Group to assist other military families, volunteerÂ with a cause you are passionate about…if you haveÂ children they can join you and youÂ will all feel better helping others.
6) Ask for help. There are so many people out there who want toÂ help in every community in MN. They want to support you. You can find themÂ on the Military Family Care Initiative (www.beyondtheyellowribbon.org)Â Â Â Â
Overall, the best support you can give to your deployed loved one is to take care of yourself so they do not worry about you. Let them focus on their mission to come home safe and sound. You focus on taking care of the home front for them …..and you will survive.