As a veteran, you have the unique opportunity to build a strong and meaningful life post-service. But, finding a balance between self-care and military service obligations can be challenging. But, after service, you can still be happy and healthy.
Whether you’re looking for ways to stay physically active or searching for mental health resources, this article will help you navigate through the turns of post-service transition.
With that in mind, here are eight proven ways for veterans to remain healthier and happier as they adjust to civilian life.
- Get Frequent Medical Checkups
Do not put off getting regular medical checkups and addressing any health concerns early on. Make it a point to visit your doctor for a physical exam once every year, and if something changes in between, consult a physician immediately.
As a veteran, you’ve served your country for years, but all that service has repercussions. Exposure to toxic materials like asbestos, gunpowder, and extreme weather can affect your body and mind, leading to depression, anxiety, and chronic illnesses.
On that note, let’s talk about asbestos and why it is responsible for causing terminal illnesses. In the early 20th century, asbestos was used heavily in US military weaponry, with no knowledge of how it could lead to adverse health effects among service personnel.
Later, military personnel were diagnosed with mesothelioma –terminal cancer caused by inhaling asbestos fibers. As a war veteran, we recommend getting regular checkups and checking out the Mesothelioma Veterans Center for more information about treatment options, support groups, and more.
- Exercise Regularly
Taking control of your mental and physical health is the foremost step to a happier and healthier lifestyle. Commit to exercising regularly, like walking, running, biking, swimming, or even dancing.
As a veteran, if you want something specifically tailored to your needs, look for activities such as adaptive sports designed for those with different physical abilities or special fitness programs at VA facilities across the country.
Exercise isn’t just good for the body but also the spirit. Regular exercise helps reduce stress and combat depression and fatigue. It also boosts endorphins and energy levels!
- Improve Your Diet
What you eat significantly impacts your physical and mental health, so make food choices that help you feel your best. That doesn’t mean going on a restrictive diet; instead, it means finding a balance that works for you.
Focus on eating more vegetables and whole grains—these will provide you with essential vitamins and nutrients that can help boost your immune system, energy levels, and brain power. Wherever possible, avoid processed foods rich in added salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats.
Lastly, don’t forget to stay hydrated throughout the day.
- Find a Hobby
Hobbies are a great way to stay healthy and happy. Finding something you’re passionate about and can look forward to can provide an escape from the everyday stresses of life and add some structure to your days.
Ask yourself, what do you already enjoy doing? Is it reading, painting, singing, running, etc.? Or maybe there’s something you’ve been wanting to learn or have been trying; whatever it is, now is the time!
- Develop Healthy Relationships
Fostering relationships that nurture your physical and emotional health is essential. Whether meeting up with friends for dinner and drinks or attending group sports activities – socializing can be a great source of support and inspiration
Another way to get connected is by volunteering for a cause that’s important to you. Whether you choose to do something outdoors, like clearing trails, or something indoors, like helping out at a food pantry — volunteer work provides an opportunity for socializing, learning something new, giving back, and having fun!
It will help build your self-esteem and confidence and provide a sense of fulfillment.
- Manage Financial Stress
Financial stress is a significant problem for veterans, leading to poor mental and physical health outcomes.
You must find ways to manage this stress, especially if you’re living off a pension. Establishing a budget can help you better manage your finances by tracking income and expenses
The next step is to look for opportunities to reduce monthly expenses. A few ways to do this include:
- Cutting unnecessary costs like streaming services.
- Limiting junk food and dining out
- Using discounts or coupons on the things you need.
- Practice Self-Care
Self-care is about taking time to rest and recharge by doing activities that help relieve stress and bring your body back into balance. It’s easy to focus on work and sideline self-care, but you must make time for it if you want to remain healthier and happier.
Here are a few ideas:
- Yoga and Meditation
Yoga helps improve physical health while calming mental chatter. Alternatively, meditation can also help to clear away anxiety while allowing you to be more present in the moment.
- Enjoy Nature
Getting outdoors is a great way to recharge, refocus your energy, and foster creativity—all of which improve physical and mental health.
Walking or engaging in outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking, or camping are great ways to connect with yourself while appreciating nature.
- Seek Professional Counseling
Seek professional counseling to remain healthier and happier. Many people are embarrassed or scared to talk to a professional about their issues, but it can be liberating and empowering to face those fears and reach out for help.
Professional counseling is a safe place to meet someone to help you sort out feelings, experiences, and thoughts without judgment or fear. It’s worth noting that speaking with a counselor does not mean you cannot take care of yourself; instead, think of it as building another tool to help you on your journey.
In conclusion, there are several proven methods that can help veterans remain healthier and happier. From exercising and mindfulness to staying connected to the community and seeking professional help, these activities help promote mental and physical well-being.
Thus, as a veteran, you should take precautions, get regular checkups, and look after yourself after devoting your life to the country. We hope you learned something from this article and will use the tips highlighted to bring positive change in your life.
If we missed anything, let us know in the comments below.