Self-care and self-expression are important for military spouses going through the stresses of deployment, and journaling during deployment provides both, says Rachel Robertson, author of the Deployment Journal for Spouses (3rd edition) Memories and Milestones.
“Keeping a journal is a proven tool for managing stress and processing complex emotions,” says Rachel, an educator as well as author. “A journal can help military spouses and families manage these and other challenges, especially a during the stress of a deployment.”
Rachel lists some of the benefits journaling provides:
Reflection: Writing in a journal is a tangible way to reflect on events and emotions, helping spouses process their thoughts and feelings.
Resilience: Journaling helps spouses get to know themselves—important for resilience and growth—and offers a place for positive self-talk.
Refuge: A journal is a safe place to explore emotions without repercussions and judgment.
Record: A deployment journal is a record of a significant period, a keepsake and a document of important experiences.
As a Marine wife and mom, Rachel found strength through journaling during her husband’s deployments. Now, she advocates journaling for spouses experiencing their first deployment, as well as those who have been through multiple deployments.
“Keeping records of my thoughts, fears, hopes, and memories gave me perspective, serenity, and sometimes, it’s what allowed me to sleep at night,” Rachel says.
Paying attention to emotions is key, not to limit them but to experience them in healthy ways and avoid impulsive and emotional decisions, she says. Writing about emotions and feelings allows them to be felt deeply, recognized, and processed before acting on them.
Rachel Robertson is an educator specializing in childhood development. She blended her professional expertise in education and her personal experience as a Marine Corps wife to develop a series of journals for military families going through deployment, including Deployment Journal for Spouses (3rd Edition) Memories and Milestones, Deployment Journal for Parents, and Deployment Journal for Kids.