Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Survive Deployment - Top Tips to Get Out of the House

When your Sailor goes on a deployment, you may feel this wacky urge to isolate yourself. You want to stay in and not see friends or visit family or travel too much. It’s as if we have put all of it, everything in fact, on pause until he gets back.

For Navy Wives in housing, you still might get to socialize with your neighbors, but you become isolated on base. For those who work, you only go out for work and stay at home the rest of the time. The worst thing for me was when I was going to college and I got summers off. I never left the house. It got kind of bad.

photo credit: Corie Howell via photo pin cc

It stems from fear—fear that if you go somewhere without him, you won’t be safe or in control. It can seem pointless to go out when you have to be your own designated driver and if you allow yourself as little as one drink, you have to worry about whether or not that’s okay. But worst of all, if something, anything goes wrong, you can’t call him. It’s all on you. You have to take care of whatever pops up, and as little as a flat tire can feel like an emergency situation when your husband is not around.

I call this "The Hermit Effect," and it makes deployments and detachments that much suckier! Not only are you sad, but you are alone and when he hits a port and gets to go out and enjoy another country with his buddies, you feel pathetic, so what should you do?

Top Tips for Getting Yourself Up & Out During Deployments

1. Start Planning Early.

Before he leaves, start preparing your plan to avoid The Hermit Effect. Don't wait until he leaves, otherwise, that initial depression, which turns into The Hermit Effect, might keep you from ever doing it and then you get stuck.

2. Make a List of What You Want to Do.

Plan a variety of things you can do every weekend from simple and cheap (like going to the park with the dogs, having a movie night with a girlfriend, or going to the movies) to large and expensive (like going to Disneyland or Vegas). Consider doing things that you normally wouldn't do, or try to pursue the things you haven't had time to do.

Have fun with it! It's okay if you don't do all of these things or if you can't possibly do these things. Go ahead, put "travel to Paris" just for the fun of it. Who knows maybe just including it as an option might give you the incentive to make it happen. I know many Navy Wives and some Navy Girlfriends who traveled overseas during a deployment. But also make sure there is an abundance of easy and affordable stuff too. Google it if you need ideas.

3. Make a List of People to Do Things With.

Make a list of friends and family you can make plans with. If you get uncomfortable calling people up to make random plans, which is something I find is worse during deployments, let them know ahead of time that you are going to be doing this while your Sailor is away.

You could even make it a special thing for them by letting them know you are doing this and want them to be a part of it. They will be happy to help and support you. It's good to make plans before he leaves anyway, that way you don't have to force yourself to do it when you are struggling with The Hermit Effect.

4. Research Groups or Classes You Could Join.

Challenge yourself to get involved with social activities and groups, like book groups, writing groups, exercise classes, art classes, cooking classes, etc.

This will also help you get out there and meet new people. You can find groups like this on MeetUp, and you can find local classes through your local Community Centers, Recreation Departments, Community Colleges, City and County Websites, or just by Googling it. This is how I ended up joining a fire dancing group. I know, I went out there with it!

I know it gets crazy before your Sailor leaves, but try to join these before he goes away otherwise that initial depression might stop you.

5. Start a Project.

Start a large project or take on something that will take a lot of time, and will keep you busy and active for months. I personally used deployments to plan my wedding, finish college, and publish my first novel. Is there something you always wanted to do but never had the time? You'll have plenty come deployment.

6. Bonus! Challenge Yourself!

Make it a goal, a game, or a challenge to get out of the house or off of base at least once a weekend or once a week for something other than errands or obligations/responsibilities. If you make it a challenge, you might be surprised how difficult it is to do. I tried myself and about a month in, I was just tired and had to miss a weekend, but that made that weekend at home nice and relaxing instead of lonely and boring.

This type of plan can be a major cornerstone in your deployment survival. Making these goals led me to have an entire group of friends and support network that I hadn't had for previous deployments and it lasted beyond that and has just changed my world for the better.

Now get up and get out of the house!

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About Stephanie Carroll
U&E Founder & Author
Buy Her Book A White Room!
Photo by Randy Enriquez
I dated and married my husband in 2004 when I was 19. I felt like an outsider for the first half of our marriage. He didn't understand what I needed to know about the Navy, and I didn't know what to ask.

After ten years of learning in the Navy, I founded Unhinged & Empowered. I wanted to spread the knowledge that I needed when I was new, to reveal what took years for me to learn.   
Cover Design by Jenny Q
In addition to being a Navy Wife, I am also a novelist. I write historical women's fiction.

My first novel A White Room debuted in 2013 and is about a woman forced to sacrifice her own ambitions of becoming a nurse to marry a man who can save her destitute family. He moves her to a strange, small town where she slowly succumbs to madness until she stumbles on an opportunity to nurse to the poor despite the fact that her husband prosecutes unlicensed practitioners.

Learn more at and connect with me @CarrollBooks on Twitter, Facebook, or on Pinterest!

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  1. Hi Stephanie! It's April.

    I can relate to what you're writing, about just wanting to stay in.. I do know that I've been always this way since high school, a homebody.

    I can be social and socialize but it's after the first two weeks when he leaves that I just don't want to go out.

    I have to FORCE myself to socialize.. :D Fake it til u make it! ;)

  2. Hey April, thanks for commenting. Follow the blog so you can comment more. I bet you got lots to add on these posts. =)

    It's odd isn't it because those two weeks are when you feel so alone. You would think you'd want to go out but something insdie thinks otherwise.

  3. Yep. Totally odd yet I like it. I like that I can keep to myself for the first few weeks.

    As a matter of fact, I am just coming out of hibernation. I start going out again, meeting friends and going recycle shopping. haha.

  4. Coming out of hibernation - I like that!


I love, love your comments and questions! Just remember to not mention any security info about your Sailor! Thank you!

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