Whenever my husband is away for work I always see it as an opportunity to really work on myself. To remember the things that I love to do. To remember the things I’ve always wanted to do. And really just to take a good amount of time to invest in growing as a person.
Deployment is a great time to do all of those things! So if you are a military spouse and find yourself in a similar situation, here are a ton of awesome military deployment self-improvement ideas to get you started.
And psst…at the end of this post there is a special bonus: 16 more self-improvement ideas from military spouses, who just like you, have been there!
Self-improvement ideas to inspire…
All of these ideas are things I’ve done in the past and really enjoyed (blogging is probably my favorite!) or things that I hope to do very soon in the future!
Read books written to encourage military spouses. Here are the ones that I made a huge impact on me during a deployment:
- Journey Through Deployment: Stepping Forward with Confidence During Military Separations
- Serving You: 31 Days of Encouragement for the Military Wife
- God Strong: The Military Wife’s Spiritual Survival Guide
Learn a new language. Living in Japan, this is something I’ve been meaning to try. If you are living overseas, this is a perfect hobby.
Take a course. This could be online or in person. When my husband was deployed recently, I took an online photography class. It was really inexpensive, and it helped me commit to something I wanted to learn for a long time.
Create an inspirational room. Pick a room in your home and redecorate. It can help things feel fresh and new again.
Quit a bad habit. Do you have a habit that you’ve been meaning to stop for a really long time? Focus on that, and surprise your spouse when he returns home.
Avoid negative people, seek out the positive ones. Start eliminating the drama from your life. This can work wonders on nurturing your spirit and help you to surround yourself with positive people.
Join a meal planning service. I know many military spouses try to become healthier during deployment, and a great way to make sure you stick to it is through a meal planning service. Here is one that is frequently recommended to me: It’s called Six O’Clock Scramble.
Reach out to people you’ve grown apart from. If you find your faraway friendships becoming increasingly distant, now is a great time to focus on them.
Get rid of useless things. Toss out, downsize and, start organizing your entire life. For awesome tips on home organization, check out my Pinterest board, and then treat yourself to a fabulous monthly planner to help stay organized.
Start a blog. When I first started blogging, I signed up with Bluehost, which is a totally awesome company for anyone getting started. It literally only takes a few minutes and costs a few bucks a month to register and maintain your own website. After you create a website name and sign up with Bluehost you can do a simple install of WordPress through them. If you have questions, you can even “live chat” with them, and they will walk you through it every step of the way. Once you are set up, you can try out a free WordPress theme (what makes your blog look pretty) for a while to see how you like it. You can always upgrade and purchase a theme after you get your feet under you!
Tips from other military spouses who’ve been there…
“I don’t know that this applies, but we were in Okinawa during the last deployment. Instead of sitting around the house, the kids and I went everywhere imaginable. We went to just about every park and playground I could find on the island, as well as any event or festival that came up. I wasn’t going to sit around and waste precious time just because he was gone. I made the most of a new place and explored!” –Kara, Ramblings of a Marine Wife
“The normal – ate better, worked out, saved money… I also made a bucket list of things I wanted my son & I to do, to pass the time.” –Stacy, Glued to My Crafts
“Get closer to God, by attending church and getting involved in church activities.” –Trista, A Purpose Drive Wife
“Getting more involved in the community, saving money, health, nail biting and learning not to worry.” –Jennifer, Happily Uprooted
“I made a list of 100 things I wanted to do before John came home. I didn’t get all 100 of them done, but the list kept me focused and doing things that I never would have done otherwise– like complete a half marathon, start a blog, and write a letter to John every day for a year.” –Jo, Jo, My Gosh
“Start and grow a blog, it kept my mind off things and gave me a tangible goal.” –JD, A Semi-Delicate Balance
“I’d say each of deployments had a different focus. 1st one – I trained for and completed a half marathon. 2nd – I went back to school and got very involved in the military community. 3rd – I found my “groove” as a parent. For the first time since my son was born, I put myself first. I made time for working out, ate super healthy, got back to riding horses more seriously (the hobby that keeps me in touch with who I was before I married a military man), and ironed out just what I needed to balance work and home. Deployments let me focus on me in a way that I never can when he’s home and we’re so busy with the every day.” –Kristin, If The Saddle Fits
“I always try to organize. I know I probably won’t eat any better, because I tend to gravitate towards chocolate a lot more when he’s gone. I’m allergic to gyms, but I do try to do 10,000 steps a day by walking. But yes, organizing is always a big one. Our garage is scary, so when he goes this time I’ll tackle that. Or try to. If you haven’t heard from me in a few days, it means all our junk has attacked me and I can’t get out.” –Amber, Airing My Dirty Laundry
“Do something you have always wanted to do but haven’t had the time. I took online classes in aromatherapy and learned how to use essential oils for stress relief. It helped pass the time and now my family and friends call me for recipes!” –Judy, The Direction Diva
“I’m making my “deployment bucket list” right now… And I’m going to put my phone DOWN!!!!! I’m on it way too much! I’m going to play with my kids more. Do messier crafts. Im also hoping to do a transformation from when he leaves to comes home!” –Mallory, My CAMO painted canvas
“I know my situation is a little different, since my husband’s deployments were only a few weeks at a time (even though they were fairly frequent), but I taught myself to sew and to crochet. I ended up starting a blog because of the sewing, and an Etsy business.” –Megan, Adventures of Noble and Pond
“I quit smoking after 13 years (yuck, I know) while he was deployed in 2012 and started running with a running group (Stroller Warriors.) Kicked one bad habit and began a good one. When my husband came home, his last cigarette was after he landed in the U.S. He didn’t want me to start back up and ruin all that had been accomplished. Almost 3 years later, I’m still running and smoke-free. (So is he.) Best decision, ever!” –Kim
“Ran half-marathons I had only run them with my husband before, but did two on my own when he was gone- such a great way to have goals to achieve on my own!” –Kristi
“I started a blog Seriously! Starting reluctantlandlord.net has been my deployment project. I had always talked about doing it and him leaving was the catalyst.” –Elizabeth, The Reluctant Landlord
“Start a new craft, ie. Knitting, sewing, scrapbooking.” –Jennifer
“I ran 21 road races, including 7 half marathons and a marathon. It was a great way to stay fit, stay mentally strong, and do a little traveling (some of the races were in other towns) while my husband was deployed.” –Melissa, MilliGFunk
Want more on Military Life?
- The Biggest Mistake a Military Spouse Can Make
- 10 Things Strong Military Spouses Do Differently
- The Deployment Diet No One Talks About
- 47 Things No One Tells You About Being a Military Wife
What are your best military deployment self-improvement ideas? Let’s chat in the comments! I’d love to hear your ideas!