Friday, November 28, 2014

18 Ways to Occupy Your Time While Your Sailor is Away

18 Ways to Occupy Your Time While he is Away
By Elise
A Navy Girlfriend with Cred!
Elise has been dating her Sailor for over two years and recently said goodbye as he departed for a one-year tour overseas, only to soon discover that his next orders would require him to remain overseas for at least another year. 

After my boyfriend left I almost sadistically didn't want to feel cheerful. It was an odd overwhelming feeling. I thought it was a betrayal to him if I was having fun and making memories he couldn't share. I wanted time to stand still, and I was reluctant to change anything that reminded me of his presence. For example since he and I don't share a home I left his empty juice cup on the nightstand for at least a week just because I knew that it would be a long time until another would take its place. (Gross, but true.)

A photo taken for Elise's Sailor overseas.
 From my own experience, I found it is nearly impossible to support someone with patience and understanding if you yourself are not in the right frame of mind. Turning those negative idle thoughts into a delighted hobby is not to help you forget, but to make the separation a little more bearable.

I was inspired by Stephanie’s Cruise Challenge: A challenge to support, give ideas, and inspire one another as we all attempt to occupy our time and sanity while our loved ones are away. Keeping myself occupied has been an asset these last few months as I expressed in the post 3 Lessons After Three Months of an Overseas Relationship where I mentioned the importance doing you.

But where do you start when your heart is in such distress, when the only people who understand you are the courageous women on Army Wives? You’re well aware that your friends and family are getting concerned with the constant sound of your voicemail when they call, and slipping into something without an elastic waist will soon be necessary.

So to help you overcome what Stephanie calls “The Hermit Effect,” here are eighteen ideas worth turning off your Netflix for…

1. DIY projects- The internet has an endless source of DIY ideas. Home decor, kid crafts, gifts, pictures, furniture… just give it a Google or a Pinterest.

2. Meal Plan- This was my resolution last year, and I finally got around to it. Taking the time to plan out your meals every week not only saves money and time, but is also a great way to make sure I am cooking healthy well balanced meals. Some of the recipes I find I’ll admit are fails, but I have discovered a few do-overs, ones I can’t wait to whip up for my babe once he’s is home.

3. Healthy Competition- Finding something that you can both do separately but together. (i.e. Weight loss, cooking, games ect.) Encourage each other with playful banter. It’s a great way to make you feel connected.


4. Care Packages- I try to send at least one on the first of the month. It takes a little extra thought and planning, but I like to make them themed. It’s a fun way to show my love and put a smile on my Sailors face.

5. Save- Make a goal together or separately and start putting away money. Figure out ways you can save and cut corners each day. Use it to treat yourselves as a reward for surviving when he returns.

6. Fitness- Its science. Exercise releases endorphins, which over all lifts your mood and confidence.

7. Baking- One of my favorite fall/winter pastimes. I like to challenge myself and tweak recipes to make them better or substitute for some healthy options. PLUS you can share and send the goodies to your Sailor.

8. De-clutter/Deep cleaning- Everyone has that one area that doesn't get much love. It could be your car or the basement. Whatever it is, formulate a plan and get the materials you need to organize the chaos. My obstacle in need of some TLC is my garage (that's next on my list).

9. Classes- If you're able to go back to school or have an unfinished degree there is no better time to care for your future than the present. You have so much extra time when he goes, you should fill it with something productive.

10. Read- Books are a great escape and past time. You can even start with one of the books written by several of our bloggers here at Unhinged & Empowered.

11. Learn Something New- Crochet, family genealogy, fly fishing, furniture restoration, how to tile a bathroom… possibilities are endless!

12. Thirty day challenge- My friend and I started this a little while ago. For 30 days we would challenge ourselves with a task. Like, no sugar, not eating out for lunch, spending no more than twenty dollars a week on coffee... you get the idea :-)

13. Volunteer- Soup kitchens, food banks, churches, and your family can get involved too! There is also volunteer work that looks good on a resume, like at art galleries, community centers, all over on base, etc.

14. Girls night! - Need I say more?

15. Pamper Yourself- Can't go to spa or salon? Buy a new nail color or pick up a mud mask at Walgreens on a quiet weekend, then run yourself a bath. I like to wear my mask while I fold laundry. It’s a part of my Sunday resting ritual. Yet I still feel productive.

16. Monthly Trip/Activity- Plan a day to get out of town. Visit relatives, go to the zoo, or take the kids to a football game.
Elise with her son on a family outing to the zoo.
17. Pen Pal- One of my close friends wrote a letter to her husband every night after she put her son to sleep. She would write about their day and then mailed them at the end of the week while he was deployed. It doesn't have to be much; just a paragraph or so. I'm sure she didn't get nearly as many replies, but it kept him up to date and present on their everyday life.

18. Photo Shoot- Get pictures of the family holding signs or wearing his boots expressing how he/she is missed. Or take some tasteful boudoir photos for his eyes only. It'd be a great surprise to show him that new bod you’ve been working on and what he's got waiting for him at home ;-)


Has anyone found any good ideas for how to help pass the time? Share via the comment option or on our Facebook Forum! We’d love to hear what's worked for you!


 About Elise


Hola! I am a God fearing 28 year old single mother who lives to love, and loves to live. My journey started almost 2 years ago, when I met my boyfriend online. Despite the hour and a half distance we made it work! I grew up in a patriotic home, but I didn't know anything about the military lifestyle, this was all new to me. He however, had been in the Navy for 12 years upon us meeting. About 6 months into our relationship we found out he was to be transferred early overseas. That is when I quickly grew accustomed to the demands of the service. Any plans to move in together were put on hold. We continued our long-distance relationship in anticipation of him leaving.

He’s only been gone a few months and we have at least 22 to go… Its been a roller coaster of emotions. During this short time I can certainly relate to the feeling of being unhinged. Coping with these emotions would often be followed by disappointment for allowing myself to be affected and seemingly weak. Its very lonely, which is what encouraged me to reach out to the internet. Given that we had never shared a home, it has made sleeping alone a little more bearable. It also gives me something wonderful to look forward, for when he returns home.

When I'm not holding down my man or my household, I work full time in the medical field serving others. My son is diagnosed with ADHD and has a mild intellectual delay; it poses its own challenges but I wouldn't trade it for the world. I love to learn and ask a lot of questions! I am outgoing, expressive and a bit feisty. I've still got a long road ahead and a lot more to learn, but I am hopeful of the outcome!










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