As a veteran, it can be difficult to adjust to civilian life after returning home from years of service. Balancing a new career, time for family and friends, and your mental health can all be taxing. But one of the more important tasks you must undertake post-service is maintaining good physical health by properly caring for yourself. Exercise, proper nutrition, and stress relief all play an essential role in helping you stay healthy after serving our country.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss various activities veterans should engage in regularly to ensure they take the necessary steps toward excellent overall health. So, read on if you’re looking for tips on how to stay fit, active, and mentally well after completing your military service!
Visit Your Doctor for Some Tests:
It’s important to ensure you stay healthy during your time in the service, and the best way to do that is by visiting your doctor for regular check-ups and tests.
Your doctor can conduct a physical test and screen you for heart disease and diabetes. They can also check for any signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other mental health issues that you may be experiencing.
MRIs and CT scans are also recommended. These tests can help detect any health issues that may have been caused by your services, such as head injuries or diseases related to exposure to chemicals like asbestos.
Asbestos is a material that was widely used during wartime, and its exposure can cause serious illnesses like mesothelioma. This condition falls under the category of service-connected disabilities, and veterans are eligible to receive money from the VA as compensation if they’ve been diagnosed with it.
If you need help filing a mesothelioma claim, you can use a legal service such as Simmons Hanly Conroy.
Maintain a Fitness Routine:
Getting into a regular fitness routine is also essential for post-service veterans. Stretching and weightlifting can be beneficial for helping you stay in shape and reduce stress. Cardio is also beneficial for increasing your heart rate and burning calories.
You can also join a sport or take up activities such as running, biking, swimming, or yoga. Exercise is known to reduce stress levels and improve physical and mental health.
Research shows that physical activity can also help reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and PTSD in veterans.
However, if you are unmotivated, start by setting small achievable goals and build on them as you progress. Invite a family member or a friend to join you, as this can make the experience more enjoyable.
Take Care of Your Mental Health:
Mental health is just as vital as physical health. Post-service veterans can benefit from talking to a therapist or counselor about their experiences and any issues they may face.
Taking part in peer support groups is also beneficial, as it can help veterans build positive relationships and provide a safe space to talk about their experiences.
Meditation, mindfulness, and breathing techniques can also help reduce stress and improve overall health.
Additionally, finding activities that bring you joy, such as hobbies and creative pursuits, is important. Writing or painting can be especially beneficial for veterans looking to express themselves and take their minds off the stress of daily life.
Do What You Enjoy Doing:
It’s important to remember that health isn’t just about physical and mental wellness but also about finding something you enjoy doing. Doing something that brings you joy can help reduce stress, lift your mood, and allow you to stay active.
Additionally, consider spending time in nature, as it can be an excellent way to unwind and rejuvenate. Being in nature has the potential to lower stress levels and enhance focus. So, consider hiking, swimming, or camping to promote improved physical and mental health.
Adopting a pet is another option to consider. Pets can offer companionship and solace in addition to motivating physical activity. They can provide emotional support while also serving as a comforting presence.
Socialize and Connect with Other Veterans:
Connecting with other veterans and former service members is essential for your post-service wellness. Building a supportive network of people who understand what you’ve been through can help reduce loneliness and provide a sense of camaraderie.
You can join veteran organizations like the American Legion or find a local support group. Additionally, consider joining a sports team to stay active while socializing with other veterans.
Also, look for volunteer opportunities that help you get involved with your community and give back. It can be a great way to maintain a positive outlook while staying connected to other veterans.
Get Enough Sleep:
Sleep is crucial for optimal health and well-being. It helps the body to recover and repair itself while improving mental clarity and overall performance. After service, it’s important to take the time to get enough restful sleep.
Aim for at least eight to nine hours of sleep each night, and consider creating a bedtime routine that helps you relax before bed. Avoid using electronics before bed and limit caffeine intake in the late afternoon or evening. Additionally, consider taking part in relaxing activities such as reading or meditation.
Eat Healthy Foods:
Eating a healthy diet is important for staying fit and energized. Eating nutrient-dense foods can help boost your mood and maintain energy levels. Vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins should be included in your meals.
Avoid processed and sugary foods as they can cause fatigue, mood swings, and poor concentration. Additionally, drink enough water daily and limit your alcohol intake.
Remember to take the time to enjoy meals and savor your food. Eating slowly and paying attention to how the food tastes can help you stay mindful of what you’re eating.
Avoid Smoking and Drinking Alcohol:
Smoking can have a negative effect on your health. Avoiding cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco is important, as it can lead to various health problems, including cancer, respiratory issues, and heart disease.
If you have difficulty quitting smoking, consider talking to a healthcare professional. They can provide you with resources and strategies on how to quit smoking for good.
Additionally, drinking alcohol should also be avoided as it can lead to dependency, increase the risk of certain cancers, and affect mental health. If you’re experiencing difficulty in controlling alcohol consumption, seek help from a healthcare provider.
Veterans have made a huge sacrifice for our country, and we owe it to them to ensure they are taken care of when they return home. There are many things veterans can do to stay healthy after service, but these tips are a great place to start. Veterans must consider trying out some of the suggestions above to maintain physical and mental health during the post-service journey.
Staying healthy after service is essential for a successful transition back to civilian life. With the right resources, support, and dedication, veterans can ensure they stay in good health as they continue their journey.