I thought it would be helpful to compile a list of projects to do while your spouse is deployed. If you're like me, you need distractions to keep your mind off of feeling lonely.
1. Buy and refinish an old piece of furniture.
I recently purchased a second hand dresser for my daughter's room. It's older and smells funny, but it's sturdy construction, and in decent shape. It's going to need to be stripped, sanded and repainted but once it's finished it's going to be a nice addition to her bedroom. The hard part about this is finding the time to work on a project like this without the kids, but with school starting again soon I should be able to work on it during my little guy's naptime.
2. Get a Netflix account and catch up on a television series
Let's face it...there's a lot of awesome TV out there that you don't always get to catch when your spouse is deployed. DVR has made it possible to record what you miss, but maybe there's an old TV show that you always wanted to watch or get into. For example, a lot of people started watching Lost but somewhere along the line of that epic series, lost interest or forgot to watch an episode and as a result were totally screwed by the story line when all was said and done. When it's late at night and your children are asleep and you have some down time, pop in a Netflix DVD and catch up.
3. Plan and carry out an event
Over the summer I became involved in helping to plan my 10-year high school reunion. It was great to reconnect with old friends and plan something other then meals and the cleaning schedule for myself and my children. I also felt a sense of accomplishment in planning and following through until the end result. Whether it's a community relations project or family event, don't be afraid to jump in the planning process and get your hands dirty.
4. Compile a reading list
Much like television, go over that backburner list of good books you've been wanting to read. A trip to your local library is free, and in your spare time or even 15 minutes before bed, pick up a good book. Again, another way to feel a sense of accomplishment when you finish a book, and you'll know what the heck everyone was talking about at that last party.
5. Set a weight loss or exercise goal, and stick to it
I've talked about this before in my previous posts but I think it's the best way to beat stress while your spouse is deployed. One time I made it all the way to our local YMCA, a good 25-minute drive from our home. I was unmotivated and tired and ready to turn around and go home, but one of the childcare ladies told me to go grab a magazine and sit on the bike for 30 minutes and just take a break. It wasn't the most sweat-a-riffic of workouts but it was a nice break and I caught up on all of my Hollywood gossip with an issue of US Weekly.
6. Become the Queen/King of Organization
Tackle one of those projects you've been saying you'll do forever. Arm yourself with a label gun, a bunch of those plastic bins and go clean out your garage/attic/closets. Studies show that less clutter=less stress.
What are some other things we can add to this list?