9 Tips for Helping Single Service Members Return From a Deployment

Service member greeted by his father.

Returning home from a deployment should be a time of celebration. You probably have a long list of things you want to do and people you want to see. But amid the excitement, coming home may still feel challenging. There are a few ways you can make your transition easier.

Tips for transitioning after deployment

Use these tips to help you during your transition from a deployment:

  1. Tell your friends and relatives how you'd like to celebrate. Chances are, they'll be excited to see you, but how you want to celebrate your return is up to you. Don't be afraid to gently tell them if you prefer a smaller gathering to a large party.
  2. Try not to overbook yourself. You may have lots of people to see and places to go, but give yourself time to relax and readjust.
  3. Find ways to feel settled. Ease back into your routines and give yourself a break if it doesn't all feel comfortable right away.
  4. Expect to feel out of sorts for a while. Coming home may not be easy and simple. It's normal to feel a little out of sorts or anxious. Give it time.
  5. Talk about how you're feeling and encourage friends and family to do the same. Your loved ones may not know how to ask about your experience, but talking about your feelings can be an important part of the readjustment process. Take the initiative to show them it's OK to discuss it.
  6. Be patient. Coming home isn't just an adjustment for you — it's an adjustment for your friends and family. It's OK if you don't just pick up right where you left off. Be patient with yourself and your loved ones.
  7. Limit your use of alcohol. Drinking too much can increase negative feelings and cloud your judgment, so do your best to maintain a clear head.
  8. Watch your spending. You may find it tempting to celebrate your return with a shopping spree, but it's more important to stay within your means.
  9. Know when to seek help. If you're feeling signs of stress — either physical or emotional — seek expert help as soon as possible.

Times of transition can be challenging, but you don't have to go through it alone. You have people and resources available to support you when you need it. And remember, some things just take time.


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