Serving in the military requires more than just courage and dedication. It is one profession that greatly impacts your life, demanding tremendous skills and sacrifices. You commit years of facing various challenges, leaving your loved ones behind for the nation’s interest. The rigorous service training tends to change military personnel and their lifestyle completely.
Retiring from the army can be rewarding yet challenging as you must learn how to adjust to civilian life. You’re no longer used to having company around you, and many veterans also carry psychological trauma and emotional stress developed over the years in service. Not knowing what to do after retiring from the military can be intimidating.
However, retirement can become bearable if you agree to make small changes to lead a healthy life. Since veterans may struggle to prioritize self-care, we’ll walk you through some simple tips to help maintain your physical and mental well-being as a veteran returning to civilian life.
Ensure regular medical checkups.
Several militants are scathed during their service or are exposed to conditions that cause illnesses to develop later in life. It goes without saying that these injuries or diseases can impact you all your life. Once retired, veterans should set up regular medical appointments to ensure their body is in good health. Even if you feel physically fit, attending wellness visits, including screenings and blood tests, is essential to detect early signs of harmful health conditions.
Mesothelioma cancer is quite common among Navy veterans. It is caused by exposure to asbestos during military service. However, Mesothelioma Hope is a reliable resource for retired militants seeking treatment, guidance, and emotional support around the clock.
Focus on mental well-being.
You might not have cared about it during service, but now, after retiring, your mental health matters more than anything. Many veterans suffer from various mental health conditions, given the traumatic experiences they’ve had to endure. Deteriorating mental health can lead veterans to health issues.
However, we recommend seeking therapy with a professional to cope with your mental health challenges. It’s important to address your feelings and talk about them with a qualified therapist, so they can provide you with the support and guidance you need. If you feel hesitant to talk about your experiences, begin with small steps and talk to a trusted friend or family member. Gradually work your way to sitting in sessions with a therapist.
Enjoy a balanced diet.
Food not only affects our physical health but also influences our mood and mental health. Unfortunately, active military members mostly thrive on ready-to-eat rations that provide quick energy but lack essential nutrients and taste. After retirement, veterans have the liberty to enjoy their favorite meals.
Apart from your favorite meals, we stress indulging in a well-balanced diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables, a substantial portion of meat, and plenty of water. You can begin your day with a protein-rich breakfast to give you a kick start. If you like snacking between meals, choose healthier alternatives that provide sustainable energy without suppressing your appetite.
Build social connections.
Often military members miss their friends and family, especially when deployed in foreign regions. They can become so accustomed to solitude and loneliness that it becomes challenging to socialize after retirement. But social connections are essential to cope with post-service trauma. Socializing can also ease your journey toward living a civilian life.
Expanding your social circle can also help you learn new skills or explore new places. You can ask a friend to tag along for something as exciting as hunting or opt for something more peaceful, like visiting the local library. You can also do something that they like! Ask about their hobbies or interests.
You also don’t need to surround yourself with friends and family all the time. Feeling anxious around people is natural, but you can start by meeting a friend daily. You can also begin a simple conversation with the neighbors with a friendly ‘Good morning’ or ‘How are you?’. If you’re uncomfortable making physical contact, you can message or call a family or friend.
Stay physically active.
As an active military member, you’re fit as a fiddle. With rigorous and extensive training, your body stays fit as long as you’re in service. However, you might feel sluggish or gain weight over time as a veteran. Maintaining a daily fitness regime is crucial, so you can consider intense cardio or simply go for a morning jog—it depends on what suits you best!
We also recommend doing yoga, with some easy stretches and deep breathing, which strengthens the core, helps meditate, and enhances the body’s flexibility. It is important to keep yourself physically active since consistent exercising can help you maintain high stamina levels and uplift your mood. Working out will also improve your metabolic rates, helping you to keep your weight in check.
A good workout produces happy hormones, called endorphins, in our body, greatly impacting our mental well-being. It helps de-stress and is an excellent coping mechanism.
Seek help from support groups.
You can’t expect your friends or family to understand the challenges you’ve been through during service, nor can they relate to your experiences. Veterans may find it hard to have deep, meaningful conversations with civilians. For this reason, we strongly suggest you visit and join support groups.
In addition to family support, veteran support groups help adjust retired militants to civilian life. They provide a judgment-free space for veterans with different backgrounds to discuss their experiences and daily struggles. The group provides a platform for its members to learn from others’ stories and make new friends.
Transitioning from military to ordinary civilian life isn’t as easy as it sounds. The process requires perseverance and dedication. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is one of the most essential aspects of life post-service. To nurture your physical health, eat a balanced diet with plenty of water and exercise regularly. It is also important to equally prioritize your mental health by socializing and acknowledging your struggles.
With small yet significant efforts, you can gradually progress toward leading a normal and happy civilian life.