Maintaining Balance in Your Deployment Cycle

Posted August 22, 2013

By: Malori

Malori joins 5 other mil-bloggers who, over the next few months, will share their deployment-related stories. You can catch up on all their blog posts on the Blue Star Families Blog and don’t forget to take a look at BSF’s free e-book “Everyone Serves: A Handbook for Family and Friends of Service Members During Pre-Deployment, Deployment and Reintegration.”

“Today’s post for Blue Star Families and Got Your 6 is all about maintaining balance in our lives during deployment. Is there a magic formula to use in order to be healthy in all areas of our lives? Unfortunately there is not, and I’ll be the first to admit: I am NOT awesome at maintaining balance, and I daresay it gets worse during a deployment.

My auto-pilot mode during deployment is to become a work-a-holic. I have my momentary, tearful pity-party right after saying goodbye, and then it’s grindstone time. But I will admit that in the last month of the first deployment, I literally worked myself sick. I succumbed to a bad case of the flu (I am rarely ill) and was down and out for five days. It was like my body was screaming at me, “Malori, you’re outta control, so I’m gonna MAKE you stop and rest whether you like it or not!!” (I didn’t like it.)

So during this deployment, I’m making more of an effort to maintain a healthy balance with my life. That is why I made it a deployment goal to nurture friendships one to two times a month. Hanging out with friends and family is a healthy way for me to de-stress (yes, I’m an extrovert), and I didn’t do much socializing last time because I was working so much. Do I sometimes feel guilty taking time out to stop working? Yes. But I know it’s good for me and I should do it.

Other ways to maintain balance are by exercising, eating healthily, and getting adequate sleep. Especially during a stressful period of time (hello deployment!), these three aspects are vital. On my goal list is to take 10 Krav Maga self-defense classes this fall, and I’m also continuing the gluten-free diet I began in January 2012. As for sleep? Well, I’m pretending that copious amounts of coffee and concealer can take care of that – so I can definitely be more diligent about sleeping more. A restful, minimum night’s sleep for me is six hours, but nine is optimal.

How can one make the best effort to reach balanced goals during deployment? By writing them down and making them SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Goals do a person no good if they are merely bouncing around in the stratosphere. Early in our relationship, Mark taught me the SMART principle and it has proven to be very sound advice! Whatever your goals are, I highly encourage using this acronym.
Even though it’s pretty stressful, deployment can be a unique time for us as military wives to work on our goals and even our long-term dreams. We can look at the deployment and know we have a finite amount of time during which to accomplish great things! Our lists will be different, but the things they will have in common are the incredible drive, commitment, and pride that military families possess.”