2018-08-10 / Chaplain's News

Balancing your ruck: Family deployment tips

Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Kyle L. Welch
Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center

The saying, “The rucks on you” became reality the day your Servicemember left on deployment.

As the writer of Ecclesiastes proclaims, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”

The deployment season is an inevitable reality for most every Servicemember.

This season creates stress and disrupts family balance. It goes with being a spouse, family member or significant other.

The unsung heroes are often the family members who carry the weight of responsibility. Even the experienced “ruckers” recognize that casting old templates over new deployments may not provide the success once had on previous deployments.

As we come to know too well, life changes occur along the carry and priorities require adjustment.

Whether you are a newbie or an old timer to this art of carrying the deployment ruck, there are some things we should remember when we are handed the task of rucking for the deployment’s duration. Remember that you are not in the ruck march alone.

The community of ruckers, past and present, provide a source of encouragement, support and wisdom.

Whether a friend, Family Readiness Group or installation resources like Army Community Service, community resource outlets serve to support and lighten the rucker’s load.

The second thing to remember is this: stop and assess the load along the journey.

An inventory may reveal the need for load delegation.

In other words, are there family members who might be able to take on new age-appropriate responsibilities?

In this way load relief may come through delegation to those who ruck alongside you.

When there is no one to delegate to, it may mean managing expectations with some realism.

Divestment of time, talents and skills due to the deployment equation may mean lowering expectations to gain the same sense of accomplishment.

Another tip worth remembering along the ruck is the need for integrated self-care. To finish requires endurance, and endurance is made possible through self-care.

Any rucker will tell you when up against the long haul, the dreaded marathon, one must change socks and powder the feet to prevent blistering.

Give yourself permission to powder yourself. The periodic powdering promotes positive performance and may be a rucking factor that gets you to the finish line.

And always worth remembering is that when what you do brings no relief in the rucking journey, this may serve to indicate the need for first aid intervention along the journey.

Professional intervention is accessible to all through various channels and in many forms.

So if you feel overwhelmed and weary of not finishing, have the courage to ask for a helping intervention.

Is the deployment season upon you?

The aforementioned tips may help to balance your ruck and propel you to the finish line.

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