There’s no way around it – having a spouse that travels a lot sucks. Big time. It can be lonely, tiring, and frustrating.

But you’ll quickly realize that you can either fight it or embrace it, and fighting it is often useless.

My husband travels almost every week for work. It’s not the ideal scenario for me, but he loves his job and it gives me the opportunity to stay home with my son instead of working – so I’m definitely not going to fight it.  That leaves…embracing it.

So here are the tricks I’ve come up with along the way that make the situation happier, easier, and more enjoyable.  And for those that are new to have a traveling spouse…I promise you, it does get easier (I know you think it won’t!).


I hate it when my husband travels! I've had no choice but to become an expert at figuring out how to be happy when he's gone. Here's what I do!


Happy Music All the Time

When I say all the time, I literally mean ALL the time.  And it HAS to be happy.  Whatever you do, under no circumstances should you be listening to Sarah McLaughlin or Enya.  Music has such a huge effect on our moods that you have to take advantage of it.


Treat Yourself to Flowers

Stay happy with flowersThis is another one that has been scientifically proven to make you happier. And why not treat yourself?

Pick out something bright and beautiful and put it somewhere that you pass by often. You also don’t need to break the bank and splurge on dozens of out-of-season roses.  Head to your local farmer’s market and buy in-season flowers or even potted flowers that will last way longer.

I got a beautiful pot of flowers last week from the farmer’s market for $3 and as long as I water it, it should last me months.


Leave the Lights On

I know this sounds very environmentally irresponsible but it can make a huge difference, especially if nights become a little creepy (which they do).

Leaving lights on outside the house is a huge safety precaution, so it should give you some peace of mind. Inside the house, I always leave the lights on that lead to the bathroom and one downstairs. It makes the house feel a little warmer and is a big comfort.


Keep the House Super Clean

I know this seems counter intuitive. You’re probably thinking that one silver lining of your spouse leaving us that you don’t need to keep the house clean. Unfortunately this factor has just too big of an effect on your mental state. Regardless of what you think or tell yourself, a clean house will make you feel better and a messy house will stress you out.

You can, however, sing to your hearts delight and wear your Christmas flannels while you’re cleaning.


Super Clean on Sundays

After many iterations of weekly travel, my husband and I finally discovered that my weeks were significantly easier if I was able to start the week off with a super clean house (I know…duh). It may seem obvious, but it’s hard to prioritize cleaning when the weekend is your only family time. But if you get it all done Sunday night, you won’t have to stress as much if your time all of a sudden needs to shift to something more urgent.


Rediscover Your Pets

cat-468232_1280Remember Fido?  Your furry friend that you used to spend time with before you had kids?  Well time to rekindle the relationship.  Again, here is another scientifically proven way to boost your mood and release some endorphins. Petting your dog or cat will not only lower your blood pressure, but it’s a great distraction to get your mind off things.


Go Outside as Much as Possible

Even if you just go for a 10 minute walk, it will make a huge difference.  And if you’ve got kids, then it’s a great way to get them to blow off some steam anyways.

My son isn’t always up for really long walks, so I try to take at least 3 short walks a day.  Even when I don’t want to, I make myself go out and I’m always amazed by how good it feels.  It’s like working out…sometimes the hardest part is just making yourself do it.


Plan EASY (and Healthy) Meals

Again, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you’re off the hook from your normal routine.  But it’s more important than ever to be organized so that life is easier for you.

Planning meals is always a good idea, but it’s especially important to make sure they’re easy.  So often, by the time I get a chance to eat dinner I’m exhausted…and so is my son.  Which means I have to prepare, eat, and clean up with one hand…while bouncing…and singing.

Take advantage of leftovers, cereal, frozen meals, and fruit.  Remember – if you can’t make it with one hand while bouncing and distracted, it’s too complicated.


Avoid Sad TV and Books

I know this seems obvious, but you’ll be surprised how badly you just want to curl up and read a good book or turn on a marathon of Law and Order SVU.  Normally it may not affect you, but with your partner gone, all of a sudden your thoughts can get the better of you.  And it’s bound to be the day that the SVU episode profiles a mother alone in her home who is attacked or children kidnapped.  Just don’t do it.

Instead, find a marathon of Modern Family, Seinfeld, or Friends. Read a good nonfiction book or something funny.  (Here’s a list of my favorite shows to watch when I’m home alone – The Best TV Shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime to Watch When You’re Home Alone)

Even harder to avoid or filter will be the news. If you’re used to watching the news every morning or night, this will be hard, but be really careful which programs you choose.  The local news around these parts is depressing beyond belief. Even CNN can get depressing when it’s focusing primarily on war.

In the mornings, the Today Show or Good Morning America are much safer.  I sometimes even turn to CNBC for stock market talk…they’ll catch you up on the important news highlights anyways.


Plan at Least 1 Outing a Day

This one is especially hard during the winter months because it can be a hassle to load up my toddler just to go somewhere and return before the next nap.  But it is so important to get out of your house, encounter other humans (especially the adult kind!), and find some needed distractions.


Do Stuff at Night

Night, without a doubt, is the worst.  For some reason, once that sun starts to set the anxiety and loneliness will start to creep in.  The best thing you can do is keep yourself busy so you don’t have time to let your mind wander.

Try to plan something fun. Visit with friends or plan a special activity with your kids. The more tired out you can get them (and yourself), the better! The hardest nights for me are when I can’t get my toddler to sleep, so anything I can do to make that transition easy is worth it.

Ok, so let’s recap the tricks to staying happy: Music, flowers, pets, and fresh air are a must!  Horror flicks and crime dramas are a no. KEEP BUSY. Go easy on yourself and try to have fun!  I promise, it gets better.

Oh, and also…chocolate makes you happier and is packed with antioxidants. Science backs this. Just saying!

UPDATE:  This winter’s been rough, so I’ve come up with ANOTHER 10 ways to stay happy while your spouse is traveling.  You can check it out here!


10 Tricks to Staying Happy When Your Spouse is Traveling

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26 comments on “10 Tricks to Staying Happy When Your Spouse is Traveling”

  1. Some great ideas here. I’m a big fan of technology to stay connected with my guy. I have been the spouse of a frequent business traveller for more than a decade and I am well acquainted with the pros and cons. Like why does stuff always break or some other kind of crisis happen when he’s away?!

    Just started a website to connect other spouses in similar situations. Would love it if you and the other commenters here would visit. Here’s my backstory:

  2. Oh this is a great list! My hubby travels too and I love that you turn the lights on at night too. I find it creepy when the house is too dark or too quiet too:) I’m horrible at cleaning though and it usually turns into a disaster, so I’ll have to remember that it’s better to make it tidy. Happy weekend!

  3. These are great tips! My husband is hardly ever out of town, and when he’s gone, I work like a maniac and get so much done. So that’s my silver lining–getting lots of stuff done.

  4. I have a few friends whose husbands travel every few weeks for work, and I can’t imagine how difficult that would be. Fortunately, my boyfriend only has to travel for work a couple times a year. We don’t live together, so at least I don’t have to worry about nights alone when he is gone. But I will definitely try some of these other tips the next time he is away. Thanks for sharing them with Hump Day Happenings!

  5. These are great tips! my boyfriend doesn’t have to travel often, but most often he works nights and I work days so I don’t get to see him as much as i would like. So one thing I do is keep myself busy through exercising, going to church, cooking, and keeping a good list of shows 🙂

  6. I definitely needed this right now. My husband just got back from a week long trip to Paris without me (shame!!) and it was so hard while he was gone. I’d hear noises all night, it was terrifying. 🙁

    • You’re totally right 🙂 It’s hard to remember that we deserve to do little things for ourselves too! 🙂 And honestly, when we’re happy, everyone else is happy. Happy wife = Happy life…hehe

  7. I’m lucky in that my husband only travels half a dozen times a year, but when he does I always try to make it a bonding experience between me & my daughter. She’s a Daddy’s girl, but our relationship is often rejuvenated during his absence, bringing us closer together. I see the strengthening of our bond after each trip.

    • That’s awesome!! Since my husband travels so much, my son and I are pretty much as bonded as we can be, lol, but I love that you use that opportunity to bond with your daughter. Girl’s week!! 😀

  8. Thank you for posting this! I am spoiled in that my fiance only has to travel every few months, and only for a few days at a time. Still, I don’t handle it well! I’ve never lived alone, something I didn’t realize until he began traveling. I went from my parents’ house to a dorm room to an apartment with a roommate to my house with my fiance. I’ve never had to deal with the loneliness of being home alone for any period of time. I’m still getting used to it.

  9. Yes yes and yes!! These are all so true, and not just for traveling spouses. My husband works nights so I am up with our son in the morning while he sleeps in and then had to go to bed without him at night. It is so easy to get sucked into the mood killers but these are such great tips to combat that loneliness and sadness!

  10. These are great tips! I do pretty much everything on this list!! Music was a big thing for me. I recently discovered that listening to music changes my mood. Everything used to be background music, but then I started to feel better when I turned on some music and danced around the house with my toddler. Definitely helped! Thanks!

  11. Leaving the lights on is a big one for me! I actually love watching sad/sappy movies when my husband is away on business because he won’t watch them with me when he’s at home lol

    • Lol, that’s always a tough one for me because I feel the same way! My husband refuses to watch Grey’s Anatomy, but holy moly I can’t watch that alone…too many sad episodes have kept me up at night!

  12. What a great idea for a truly oringal (and needed) post! I have two friends who deal with this a lot and I know how hard it is for them. When my husband was a medical resident he was gone all the time, often overnight, and I was a new mom who felt lost and scared. Thanks for reaching out to other moms!

  13. Great post idea and such great points. My partner was out of state for 3mos taking care of his ill father and I wish I would have had this list then. At first, you’re like “yay! I can watch whatever catches my eye and be a mess all day” and then just like you said, that breeds sadness and loneliness. The music is key! Thanks for sharing!

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