You've studied wars in class and learned how they've changed history. But
learning about wars in class can be very different from hearing about conflicts and
violence that break out in the world during our own time.
If someone you care about is in the military and is deployed for duty, it's natural
to worry about their safety. That's especially true if the person is going to a place
where there might be fighting.
Worries and Responsibilities
It's normal to worry. But if worry starts getting too intense, it can interfere
with life. People who worry a lot might have trouble sleeping or eat more or less
than before. It might be hard to stay focused on things like schoolwork.
Worrying about others can cause people to act in ways they normally wouldn't —
like being short-tempered, forgetful, or distracted. Too much worrying also can cause
physical problems, like headaches, stomachaches, or tightness in the chest.
If you have a parent or sibling in the military, it's also natural to think about
how things will be different for you and your family while your loved one is away.
If your parent is deployed, you may be asked to help out more at home.
When there's a lot to do, keeping up in school might be challenging. If you feel
overwhelmed, ask family members for help. Let adults and siblings know that you
need to find ways to balance your new tasks with studying. It can also help to tell
your teachers and school counselor what's going on. They might be able to offer
advice on how to handle everything and help you prioritize.
Ideas for Coping
Here are some tips to help you deal with your feelings:
Recognize that you're worried. Sometimes worry — and the
things that come with it, like sleeping or eating problems — can creep up without
you even realizing it. Once you are aware that some of what's going on has to
do with your feelings, you can do something about it.
Get support. When worry is intense, telling someone close to
you how you're feeling can help you get the extra support you need. You might find
out he or she is thinking about that person too. Sharing thoughts is a way for both
of you to feel better. Talking about how you're feeling with a teacher or counselor
can really help too.
Exercise, eat right, and sleep well. Worry can sometimes cause
people to seek comfort in foods that are not too healthy or get lost in TV or video
games. Exercising, eating well, and getting enough sleep can help you stay at your
best and strongest.
Limit your news watchingand talk to someone about
what you see and hear. If your loved one is somewhere dangerous, you want
to stay informed about what's going on. But constantly looking at your news feed might
make you feel worse.
Do something for others. If you're missing a loved one, chances
the rest of your family is too. Tune in to what family members might need and
pitch in to help. This might mean helping with extra chores, watching younger brothers
or sisters or helping them with homework, offering to help a parent, or surprising
someone with a small kindness.
Take action. You know that your loved one is helping others.
Doing the same can make you feel connected to the person you're missing. Volunteering
in your community or finding ways to help other people can help you cope too.
Express yourself. Draw, paint, or write a journal entry. Or send
a poem or a letter to the person you care about — he or she will appreciate
Join others to talk. Some communities and schools have support
groups and services especially for families of service members. If you don't have
one at your school or church, see if you can start one. Other people might have the
same concerns that you do.
Do things that help you feel calm. For some it might mean listening
to music, playing an instrument, reading a book, enjoying nature, relaxing quietly,
or spending time with a pet —whatever soothes you best.
Spend moments in positive reflection. Many people find that holding
their loved ones in their thoughts and prayers helps them feel better. Make a scrapbook
or photo album that your loved one would like. You can also try a loving
kindness meditation as a way to feel connected to the person who is away.
It's natural to worry — at least some of the time — until your friend
or relative is back home. Until then, keeping busy and taking care of your health can
help make the wait seem faster.