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Friends and Family: Self-Care During a Deployment

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Honor Your Feelings

Deployments can be especially hard on the parents of service members. Yet, despite the fear of losing one's child in wartime, much is expected of the parent. Your service member needs you to be strong for him. This can be emotionally exhausting. It's essential that you acknowledge your feelings and honor them. Create a space for expressing them, either to trusted friends or through writing or some other means of expression. Eating well and getting enough sleep are also essential to combating the effects that this chronic stress will have on your body.

You may be so focused on being strong for your service member and, if he is married, helping his spouse or children, that you forget to take care of yourself. Please remember that he is going to need you throughout the deployment as well as when he returns and readjusts to life at home, whether that includes transition to the civilian sector or remaining on active duty. This is a marathon, not a sprint. You will need to tend to yourself and your own needs as well as the needs of others. Please refer to the self-care section in the pre-deployment chapter for ideas if you haven't already incorporated some self-care activities into your daily schedule.

Find Online Support

Utilize online resources developed for parents to find information, resources, and support boards. For example, visit Parents Zone (www.parentszone.org) for a robust and supportive community.

This excerpt is provided courtesy of the acclaimed free digital resource "Everyone Serves." Download your free copy with additional media content today at everyoneservesbook.com.

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Contributor

Everyone Serves is a free resource developed by experts both inside and outside government – and military family members themselves to help the family, friends and support network of service members better manage the deployment and reintegration process. It helps build resilience, strengthens relationships, teaches coping strategies, and prepares you to manage reunion and reintegration. Download today for a great resource that gives you the tools to keep your family strong before, during and after deployment.