Veterans of war serve their country for a long time. During that time, they put themselves at risk of certain health conditions and toxic materials like asbestos and gunpowder. Coupled with harsh weather and compromised living conditions, these chemicals can have severe life-threatening consequences. And so, after their years of service, veterans want to ensure their years ahead are healthy and happy. The question is: where do they start? What do they do? If you’re a veteran looking to start afresh as a civilian, we have some tips for you.
1. Know Your Rights
Before returning to civilian life, you must know the perks you can carry to this new stage. These will help you deal with uncalled-for financial expenses or other miscellaneous costs that come with making a new start.
One such perk is the VA disability benefits. These benefits are usually provided to those veterans who have suffered any physical or mental disability during their time in the military. Under this benefit, you can get monetary compensation to help with expenses related to the disability. You may be eligible for benefits, including free medical care and educational benefits. For instance, the Camp Lejeune water contamination VA benefits are available to all veterans exposed to unhygienic water while stationed at Camp Lejeune from 1953 to 1987.
2. Make Better Food Choices
Veterans need to eat well to stay healthy and happy. A balanced diet will enhance energy and immunity. Your meals should have about the same amount of protein and healthy greens. Meat and vegetables should be a regular part of your diet because they give you almost all the necessary macronutrients.
You can give yourself a treat once in a while but don’t extensively eat fast food, drink alcohol, or eat sugary things. This way, you’ll not only stay fit, but you’ll also avoid consuming extra calories.
A healthy diet is a long-term goal that should be paired with regular exercise and other healthy habits for general health. If you have specific food issues or medical conditions, it’s best to talk to a doctor or a trained dietitian who can give you information tailored to your needs.
3. Work Your Mind And Body
You don’t have to work out or do other activities for hours to stay emotionally and physically fit. Experts in medicine say that doing yoga and Tai Chi is an amazing way to start. Both are worth trying because they keep your mind and body healthy by keeping them busy.
Yoga is always good for your health in many ways. Doing yoga every day can help you physically and mentally in a big way. It may help manage stress, and you relax. Thus, this laid-back approach may improve home and business connections.
Tai Chi, however, is a terrific method to exercise regularly. Tai Chi has you take deep breaths and move slowly, which can help you stay fit for longer. It also claims to put as little stress as possible on your bones and joints, ensuring you don’t get hurt.
4. Manage Financial Stress
Veterans need to know how to deal with financial stress for their general health. Here are some strategies to aid veterans in reducing financial stress:
- Try to make a budget that will enlist all the savings and expenses.
- Seek financial counsel. You can enhance your finances and create a budget with the assistance of financial professionals.
- Find organizations that can support: Make use of veteran assistance. These services support life, power, healthcare, education, and other necessities. Contact the VA, community services, or local veterans’ organizations for resources.
- Look for work and schooling options: Consider training or education to improve your career chances and earnings.
- Take care of yourself: Financial stress affects mental health. Self-care includes exercise, relaxation, and social support. If you’re stressed about money, get expert assistance.
5. Prioritize Your Mental Health
Veterans face several traumatic circumstances during service, from losing comrades to dealing with hostile environments. All these can affect their mental health, leading to conditions like PTSD or anxiety. These conditions can cause an imbalance in their life. They may struggle to find and keep a job. Plus, it gets difficult to manage relationships.
So, it’s crucial to seek medical help. If you face episodes of persistent sadness, see a doctor. They can help you figure out the root cause and direct you toward a path of healing.
Join support groups or organizations to build a support network. Here you’ll find people you can relate to. They’ll help you cope with your struggles by sharing their stories and motivating you with their success. The Department of Soldiers Affairs (VA) offers various services and tools for soldiers’ mental health that are made to meet their needs.
6. Sleep Management
Getting enough sleep is an essential part of helping veterans stay fit. It is required to Encourage veterans to set routine times to sleep and wake up so that their internal body clocks can remain in sync.
Encourage a comfortable sleep-free place free of noise and distractions. Teach veterans how important it is to avoid drugs like caffeine before bedtime. Try doing deep breathing and meditation to promote relaxation and good sleep.
Veterans with sleep disorders should see professional help for proper diagnosis of sleep problems. They may be recommended appropriate treatment or therapies. Medicines might be given in such cases to avoid stress.
7. Spend Time Outdoor
Veterans may meet like-minded people by joining outdoor recreation, team sports, or community activities. Social engagement decreases loneliness and fosters belonging and support. Encouraging veterans to spend time outside and participate in outdoor activities may improve their health.
Veterans may benefit from physical activity, vitamin D absorption, stress reduction, cognitive stimulation, social engagement, and nature connection through embracing nature.
Staying healthy is not just important for veterans while they’re on active duty. It should be a lifelong commitment. Taking proactive steps such as pursuing exercise and social activities, confiding in trusted individuals, and being aware of mental health services can go a long way to ensuring veteran health.
An old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” speaks volumes here – taking preventive measures early will go a long way. Giving due attention to physical and emotional health, no matter at what stage one’s life is currently, would mean less institutional care and greater autonomy for veterans in the military community.
One must never forget that countless resources, either through the VA or non-VA organizations, are ready to assist them. Veterans need maximum support from their peers and policymakers to effectively use the plethora of options open to them when it comes to keeping healthy, strong, and mentally fit during these trying times.