When our Soldiers are away, they can leave a big empty hole in our hearts and in our daily lives. It can be a true challenge not to think about them all the time and wonder how they’re doing or what they’re doing. Living on Fort Leonard Wood, I can assure you that they’re learning a lot and are well taken care of, but what about you?
We put together a quick list of tips and suggestions on how you can pass the time while your Soldier or Soldier in Training is away. Check them out!
- Focus on your career or education. This is a great time to really put in some extra effort or hours to achieve some professional or educational goals. Maybe you’ll have enough time to take an extra class or get a big project finished before he or she returns.
- Take care of yourself. It’s tempting to stay in the house and binge eat while watching Netflix, but fight that urge! Exercise regularly – if you haven’t heard of wear blue: run to remember, check them out! You might be able to link up with them or start a Meet Up in your area. Eat healthy and maintain good friendships. Get out of the house with friends to try a new restaurant or see a funny movie. Get plenty of sleep and if you find yourself restless while trying to rest, consider a meditation app like Headspace.
- Pick up a new hobby. When my husband’s gone, I often find myself with a little extra time in the evenings. This is a great opportunity to try something new. Have you always wanted to learn how to sew or knit…what about learning to play golf or the piano? Volunteer with an organization you like or join or start a book club. Now is the time!
- If you’re like me, you purchased a baby book for your child and had good intentions, but life happened and you got busy. With your Soldier away, you have the perfect opportunity to get out that book, comb through old pictures, and finally finish that baby book! If your baby book is done, you can always use this time to create a high school scrapbook of your Solider in Training or something similar. These also make great BCT/AIT/OSUT graduation gifts!
- Learn about the Army, especially if you’re new to the military. Take advantage of the Army Family Team Building (AFTB) online training offered by Army OneSource, as well as the other resources you can find on their site. Operation We Are Here also provides a great list of resources and books for parents of those who are serving. This site is definitely worth checking out! If your spouses is serving and you’ll be a new military spouse, this SpouseBuzz blog post has a list of great book recommendations. Whatever you read, just make sure it comes from official or professional sources – be careful what you read online!
If your Soldier continues to serve, this probably will not be your last separation. They can present several different challenges – ask any Army spouse about the Murphy’s Law of Deployment and you’ll hear hours of stories about cars getting flat tires, refrigerators breaking, bouts of the flu running rampant through the house, and leaky pipes all within days of a service member leaving – but they aren’t all terrible. They present opportunities for growth and learning, too. Embrace this time and as you put some of these suggestions into motion, you’ll have even more to include in your letters to your Soldier in Training!