Here we are in a fresh new year, and we all hoped that it was magically going to start and leave the hard year of 2020 behind. But 2021 is looking to be similar to last year, in that Covid-19 is still here and although there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel with vaccines, the reality still is numbers are rising in most places, and we are all still stuck at home, missing sports, family, and all the fun social events. I think Covid-19 has been a really good comparison of what us spouses go through during deployment. With that I mean it feels like a season of waiting.
Waiting for things to go back to normal, waiting for them to come home. Separated from our loved ones, and living in a world of virtual relationships. It is so easy for everyone to press pause. On workouts, on healthy habits, on creating goals and working towards them, making memories, and traditions all on the hope that we can just go back to normal.
But waiting for something to happen like redeployment and pressing pause is not the only choice. Really what it does is makes time drag on, and feel like it will never end. Of course when you are separated from someone you love it is hard to think about doing fun things and learning new things and making memories without them.
5 Covid-19 Friendly ways to enjoy periods of waiting. 1. Game nights. You don’t have to put a lot of planning or thought into this. There are apps, and some games could be modified to be played over zoom. Even fun classics like charades are easily played from a distance. Bring on the belly laughs, and reconnecting just for fun!
2. Set Goals. The best way to pass deployments is to stay busy, that doesn’t have to mean girls nights out and brunches, though I do miss those!! But goals like reading x amount of books, walking x amount of miles, or even writing x amount of letters to people you love. They take time to do, focus your time on something productive, and can be scheduled, tracked and pushed towards as a goal. Just like watching the countdown disappear seeing yourself get closer to goals feels really nice and shows that time is indeed passing.
3. Add flare to your favorite traditions. Whatever your favorite tradition is with your family make it a little more fun JUST during deployment. For my family we do movie nights on Friday Nights. But during deployment it gets to be a sleepover movie night. We pull a mattress off a bed throw it in the living room, cuddle up and then all sleep out there for the night. It’s a fun way to bond and memories my kids will remember vs feeling sad that dad is missing on Fridays. If you don’t have kids a fun way to make movie night more fun is to get a treat you really love but would usually say no to. Like a candy, and syrup covered Sunday.
4. Be Creative. This is another really fun thing you can do with your friends over video. Come up with a craft you have never tried. Think Wine and Design at home. Each order a kit/supplies watch a video together on YouTube or try to follow instructions on your phone, and enjoy the laughter that ensues as you revel in your “nailed it” creations.
5. Take a staycation. Go check out things in your state. Yes of course going on fun trips is always better with the family all together. But quick trips to Airbnb’s and hiking in a new county, or taking pictures of a pretty beach you haven’t been to before is a great way to relax and still experience things while they are gone.
Also remember there is no reason to feel guilty for having fun, yes we are separated but your loved ones want to see you happy, and hear about the things you do that keep your spirits up. It’s not always the same as having them here with you, but life keeps going and you can’t just pause it, so try to enjoy it!!