As a war veteran, you’ve probably experienced things that most people can’t even imagine. The strength and courage required for military service often come at a cost.
Many veterans struggle with physical and mental health issues after retirement. These problems include PTSD, depression, physical injuries, and even an increased risk of asbestos-related diseases. Transitioning into a new lifestyle can also be equally challenging to cope with, leading to more emotional trouble.
For this reason, you should prioritize your physical and emotional well-being after retirement. Here are some strategies you can explore to ensure good health and a smooth transition from military to civilian life.
Seek medical care
Frequent medical checkups should be a top priority for war veterans. Neglecting one’s health can lead to serious health problems that could have been prevented with timely diagnoses.
Many war veterans who previously worked with asbestos-contain equipment are at increased risk of developing mesothelioma – a rare and fatal disease. The disease takes several years to manifest as a full-blown health risk, and usually, by that time, it becomes difficult to treat. You can visit a Mesothelioma Veterans Center for more information on the disease, what signs and symptoms to look out for, how to contact a mesothelioma specialist, and how to get help for treatment.
Other than that, many resources are available for veterans to receive medical care, including the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and community health clinics. So don’t hesitate to seek medical assistance if you notice any unusual symptoms or discomfort. Regular checkups can help you manage both physical and mental health problems before they become too hard to manage.
Stay active and exercise regularly
Physical activity can have numerous benefits for veterans’ health. It can help improve cardiovascular health, maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, and improve mental health. Additionally, physical activity can be an effective way to manage symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression.
Military personnel typically retire in good physical shape or are somewhat used to regular exercise. Still, post-retirement exercise doesn’t have to be too intense. Many types of physical activities are suitable for veterans, including walking, jogging, cycling, and swimming. You can also continue to hit the gym if your body allows it.
Clocking in 150 minutes of exercise spread over a week should be enough to keep you active and prevent chronic health problems.
Find a new hobby
Transitioning back to civilian life after serving the country can be tough. And sometimes, it’s easy to fall into a rut or lose a sense of purpose. Finding a new hobby can be a great way to care for your mental and physical health.
Whether it’s taking up gardening, learning a new instrument, or even joining a book club, having a hobby can give you a sense of purpose. It can also help reduce symptoms of stress, depression, and anxiety. Plus, it’s a great way to meet new people and connect with new people as you transition back into regular community life.
Eat a balanced and healthy diet
Food served during active duty is notorious for being unhealthy and unappealing in many ways. Consider retirement as an opportunity to switch things up.
Maintaining good nutrition is crucial for good health. A balanced diet is essential for making your exercise routine more effective and maintaining a healthy weight. It also reduces the risk of chronic diseases and improves mental health as you move into a less physically intense lifestyle.
You can create a balanced diet by including fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fats. Be sure you include all major food groups in different meals throughout the day. Consult a nutritionist to help create a meal plan that includes the essential nutrients your body needs as you grow older. If you need to snack, opt for whole foods rich in nutritional value and provide your body with the fuel it needs to function at its best.
Steer clear of processed foods, foods high in sugar and saturated fat, and alcohol. These are more likely to compound health problems in a sedentary lifestyle. These foods can not only contribute to weight gain and other health problems, but they can also leave you feeling sluggish and tired. So, prioritize your nutrition, and your body will thank you!
Find support groups and connect with others
Finding social support can help you stay healthy during the post-retirement phase. It can help reduce feelings of isolation, improve mental health, and enhance the feeling of being part of a community.
So don’t hesitate to reach out and connect with others who can relate to what you’re going through. There are many types of support groups available for veterans, including peer support groups, therapy groups, and community groups.
You can also look for online support groups that allow you to connect with other veterans from the comfort of your home. Many websites and forums provide a safe and supportive environment for veterans to share their experiences and get support.
Remember that taking care of yourself is not a weakness, but a strength. So make sure to adopt a healthy lifestyle, as you may face health problems after such a strenuous career. You can enjoy your life after retiring from military service by exercising and eating a healthy diet. Furthermore, stay connected, see your doctor, and pick up a new hobby to add variety to your routine. Get all the emotional and social support you need to transition smoothly into your new normal.