Returning to civilian life after years of military service is challenging for many veterans. Imagine the terrifying experience of throwing off what had become a safety net to plunge headfirst into the unknown.
Even though leaving the military isn’t easy, you can ease into the changes that lie ahead by planning and taking the initiative. Some veterans put off making the change until they have resolved issues with their retirement benefits, while others actively seek employment. No matter which path you choose to take, you will face some difficulties.
Challenges of Life Post Military
Serving in the military comes with a unique set of challenges, which makes transitioning into civilian life even tougher. Concerns about your mental and physical health will increase after you leave the military, and for the right reasons.
It is common knowledge that hundreds and thousands of veterans were exposed to asbestos during their service in the military, which puts them at high risk of developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related health conditions. Asbestos-related malignant mesothelioma diagnoses in the United States are disproportionately high among veterans (33%).
The good news is that many veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma are entitled to disability compensation and consultations with leading mesothelioma specialists. So contacting suitable sources and seeking help if you face mental or physical health issues post-military service is essential. Mesothelioma veterans center supports and assists hundreds of veterans in finding treatment options and obtaining financial compensation. It gives them a chance at life even after retirement.
So however challenging the change may seem, you can take steps to ensure its success. Below is some more simple and helpful advice for adjusting to civilian life after military service.
1. Finding New Goals
Pre-retirement life is different and gets measured by accomplishments such as meeting deadlines, completing projects, or receiving a promotion. Goals can still be pursued after retirement, though they may differ slightly from before. Working on new objectives and goals will give you a sense of direction and perception. Doing new things will instill a feeling of accomplishment. Everything you had thought of doing before can become a new goal after retirement. It will not only help you cope with post-retirement depression but will give you a new perspective on life. It will help you sail your ship to new destinations and provide meaning to the rest of your life.
2. Volunteering Work
Given that you have had a demanding schedule in military, you need to find ways to stay active and energetic post-military. There are many ways to do that, one of which is volunteering. When you volunteer, you frequently meet a diverse group of people with whom you interact. You can learn from their preferences, be inspired by what they’re doing, and possibly discover new things you’re passionate about, which could lead to a hobby.
Volunteering can enable you to learn more about the topics that interest you. Tasks you enjoy doing that appear to be effortless may also be enjoyable as a hobby. The benefits may be related to the increased social ties that volunteering offers or the sense of purpose that committing to charitable causes can provide. It will not only improve your psychological well-being but also enhance your heart health and lower your risk of hypertension.
3. Adhering To A Routine
One of the most common traits among veterans is their routine and discipline. It is something they all share, regardless of rank or branch of service. It’s a part of their identity; they carry it till the end of their service.
When you transition to civilian life, it’s important to adhere to your discipline and routine. Making one for home and sticking to it will put you back in your comfort zone. For example, start working out at a local gym with a peer to maintain a regular workout regimen. If you used to eat a meal at a precise moment, stick to that schedule. The same goes for all other activities you can incorporate into your civilian life.
4. Spending Time With Friends And Family
Spending time with family is critical for you after returning to civilian life. If not, it can make you lonely and lead to depression and other health problems. Regular family time can benefit your physiological, emotional, and mental health. You can strengthen your bond with the kids and grandchildren you missed during your military service. Try visiting your family members as often as possible and keeping in touch with them via phone messages or video calls.
5. Staying connected with your Peers
Nobody understands what you ended up going through while serving or what you’re going through after retirement better than your fellow veterans. So maintain contact with these military family members even if you are miles apart. It allows you to share stories, discuss things, receive useful suggestions, or enjoy time with someone who will not judge you.
It is possible to successfully transition from military to civilian life, despite the difficulties that may arise. Start with baby steps in the right direction and always ask for help if you need it. You might even be able to find a new direction in life and blend in before you know it.