Deployments and Separations -
Coping with Stress
in the Guard Family
Being a Guard family can afford pride in serving one’s country
as well as provide many rich and new experiences. Guard families also
can experience problems that are unique to their lifestyle. Pressures
and frustrations often result from:
Adjustments to absence during Drills and Annual Training
Lengthy deployments or separations
Single parenting during absence
Separation from friends and family
A strained family budget
Adjustment to varying duty schedules
Career changes at retirement
Nearly every Guard family has difficulty coping with problems
to time. Pressures can become so great that many areas of life can
be affected. For example, father’s or mother’s absence
may have the remaining parent emotionally and physically drained in
of single parent, while the children are having a like adjustment problem
expressed through disciplinary problems while a parent is gone. The
match of on overworked and drained parent with unruly children trying
new limits can easily escalate into a frightful and destructive
lifestyle. This can be a strong signal that help outside the family
may be needed.
The Military family can help themselves through these
stressors unique to their lifestyle. When a parent is away from home
for extended period,
it is important to maintain caring and discipline for the children
as if they were home. Children may try to take advantage of possible
freedoms with mother or father gone, and a continuing stable home
life is important for their psychological adjustment. Consistent rules,
a consistent daily household schedule and quality time with the children
are important parts of minimizing the stress of the parent who remains
Mother of father and children need to keep social activities
alive while the parent is gone. Providing regular outlets for contact
people fulfills basic needs for comfort and stability. The guard
spouse may feel overworked with additional worries while the service
is away, but time set aside for visiting friends or relatives,
going out to enjoy a movie or dinner, or becoming involved in local activities,
may help immensely. Your Family Readiness Group can be of great
in alleviating the stress of a separation or deployment.
STRESS MANAGEMENT HINTS
Get up earlier to allow more time before starting the days work
Prioritize what is really critical and pace yourself accordingly
Be realistic and kind to yourself when making you to do list
Spend your leisure time with enthusiastic, upbeat friends. Since many
of your friends will be in the same position, you should be enthusiastic
and upbeat for them
Make a list of your hyper habits, share it with a close friend to check
of accuracy and completeness, contract with yourself to change on item
Take a little time before you enter your work place, pause and notice
what kind of day it is.
During the day, rest quietly for five minutes or take a brief walk
Say NO when you need to.
Ask for help when you need it, whether it’s time away from the
children, a counseling session, or a real vacation.
Write yourself a note and place it where you will read it, schedule treats
for yourself on your calendar.
Focus on immediate or short-term goals that are attainable
Collect appreciation that is due. Hear praise and thank you when offered
Take care of yourself when you are down and out, play your favorite song,
see a movie, give up housework for the day, etc.
Analyze your moods, energy, and time. Are you down at certain times of
the day, week or month? Plan and prepare
Us relaxation, meditation, music, religion, nature, or whatever to re-energize
Pay attention to your diet, sleep and general health
Exercise. If you don’t have the time, ask yourself if you have
the time to be sick, depressed, or sluggish
Be good to yourself and do something a little bit selfish. Take a long
bath, cook a special dish you wouldn’t normally make or hire a
babysitter and go out for the night with friends.
Give yourself credit for things you have done well
Learn how to relax, and don’t turn to alcohol or other drugs for
Try to stay positive, it’s easy to see the negative side of mobilization.
But seeing the positive side has many more rewards. Think of separation
as a chance to grow
Stay busy, Time passes much more quickly when you’re busy. Try
to see separation as a time to learn something new. Maybe you could take
some college courses or start a new hobby
Try to spend time each week doing something out of the normal routine.
Go to a museum or library on a local tour. Avoid sitting home feeling
sorry for yourself.
BE GOOD TO YOURSELF... YOU DESERVE IT!!!