Choosing Your Path
Shifting from military life can be a delicate transition, especially if you served for many years or have retired for medical reasons. It is during this time that many veterans find themselves at a crossroads which can lead them down a path of health and success, or a route to addiction and self-destruction. The choices made at the beginning of this journey will create the foundation of that path, which is why it is so crucial to be properly educated on the hurdles, pitfalls and support resources that await.
Plan For Success
The first phase of preparation should be getting your separation requirements and budget squared away. The Transition Assistance Program has a wealth of tools and resources that can help guide you through the separation process. Schedule a meeting to go over your options and what needs to be planned in advance.
Creating a manageable and realisitc budget is an important factor for establishing and maintaining a successful lifestyle. There are some easy to use, free budgeting websites that can get you started or you can consult an expert that understands how to work with medically retired military benefits.
Staying busy can be an essential tool for avoiding post-military life hazards. Many medically retired veterans are able to find fulfilling work in the civilian sector. A new career can be a great way to keep yourself occupied, meet new friends, build professional networks and supplement your retirement income. There are staffing agencies that cater specifically to veterans and can find work that ties into your military job experience. While security and law enforcement are the obvious examples, you may also be able to find a career in sectors like health (much of the staff at Warriors Heart are veterans), education, tech and more.
Hobbies can also be a great avenue for keeping busy after military retirement. Many veterans channel their thoughts and emotions into projects like art, construction, music, even gaming. Don’t think of a hobby as an escape, use them as an opportunity to create a cathartic experience that allows you the freedom to explore yourself in a safe space.
The Power of Discipline
With retirement comes more freedom and that can come as a shock to veterans that have been serving for many years. Keeping a healthy level of discipline in civilian life will help keep you on the path to a fulfilling new chapter. If you find yourself slipping into bad habits, don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and professional help that can get you back on track.
Strength in Numbers
No one needs to be an island. Many veterans have experienced the stigma that seeking mental and emotional support is a sign of weakness. Seeking mental and emotional support should be no different than knowing that your buddies and unit have your back in any other kind of situation. PTSD and depression are powerful forces that can’t be overcome by sheer willpower. If you feel like you are having trouble adjusting to civilian life or are feeling the weight of emotional and mental issues, you should seek professional help. Experts can help you regain a foothold in your life and teach you the tools that are necessary to cope with post-military life.
Strength Through Healing
Remember that the decisions that you make during this transitional period will have a major effect on how you pivot into your new life. Understand your options, plan for the future, enjoy the present and don’t be afraid to seek out help when you need it. If you would like to learn more about transitioning to civilian life or how to deal with PTSD, addiction or depression, please reach out to the professionals at Warriors Heart.