Your deployment is over and now you are returning home. Next, it’s time to reconnect with your family and friends and return to your “normal” life. There are a few ways you can make your return home from a deployment easier. Not overdoing it and making sure to communicate are good starts to a successful transition.
Tips for transitioning after deployment
Use these tips to help you during your transition from a deployment:
- 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. Keep them informed of your travel arrangements in case you leave a day earlier or later.
- 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. Ease back into your routines and give yourself a break if it doesn’t all feel comfortable right away.
- Allow yourself to feel all kinds of emotions. Give yourself permission to feel the way you feel, even if it’s uncomfortable. You may need some time to settle into your life and sort out emotions. Go easy on yourself and give it time.
- 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. If you could use some extra guidance, Military OneSource offers a free and confidential Building Healthy Relationships specialty consultation designed to help returning service members reconnect with loved ones.
- Be patient. You may feel out of sync with your loved ones or friends. Coming home isn’t just an adjustment for you — it’s an adjustment for everyone around you. If you have children, be prepared for them to have outbursts of emotion or give you some attitude. Keep the lines of communication open and be patient with yourself and with loved ones. Include one-on-one time with your partner and each of your children.
- Focus on the positive. Individually, tell your family members you are proud of them, and you appreciate them.
- Limit your use of alcohol. Drinking too much can confuse your thinking and cloud your judgment, so do your best to limit your consumption.
- 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.
- Know when to seek help. If you’re feeling signs of stress — either physical or emotional — seek expert help as soon as possible. If you are suicidal or in a state of crisis, you can contact the Military Crisis Line 24 hours a day (1-800-273-8255 and Press 1). You can also start a conversation via online chat or text (838255).
Ensure that your return from a deployment goes smoothly by educating yourself on what to expect and where you can turn for support. Take advantage of the resources available at Military OneSource to help you with this transition including free, non-medical counseling. Or, contact a Military Family and Life Counselor through your installation’s Military and Family Support Center.