Returning home after serving in the forces can be a huge transition and may feel overwhelming. Because during active duty, service members are used to a lifestyle that involves physical activity, discipline, and structure. From what to eat and when and how to exercise to when to sleep and wake up, nearly every aspect of life is predetermined in the armed forces. Besides, members stay in shape and healthy due to access to quality medical care and healthcare service.
However, when veterans return home, they must transition from a disciplined military lifestyle to a more self-directed one. And while the thought of being in control of your life and choices can be liberating, veterans may struggle to find the right balance and stick to new routines. It includes setting new fitness goals, eating habits, and sleep schedules.
If you’re a veteran and need help getting back into a healthy lifestyle, follow these eight tips to find balance and stay healthy and fit.
1. Schedule Regular Medical Checkups
Regular checkups are crucial since veterans are exposed to several harmful chemicals while on duty in the military, which may have affected their health. One example is asbestos, a hazardous mineral found in military bases and work sites. Asbestos exposure can cause mesothelioma, an aggressive and deadly form of cancer that targets the lining of the lungs or abdomen and can take years to develop.
If you’re a veteran diagnosed with mesothelioma, consider getting assistance from a legal firm like Sokolove Law to learn about your rights and seek compensation. The qualified attorneys at the firm have years of experience representing veterans and their families in mesothelioma cases and can help you get the financial and medical support you need.
2. Don’t Let Eating Habits Slip
As a former service member, you already know the importance of proper nutrition and how it affects your energy level, concentration, and overall well-being. So, maintain the same diet and eating habits you had during your active duty, such as eating smaller meals throughout the day, avoiding processed foods and sugary drinks consumption, and drinking plenty of water.
Additionally, eat fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats to stay active and fit. You can try delicious healthy recipes to prepare meals and refreshing smoothies to get all the essential vitamins and minerals.
3. Cut Back on Alcohol Consumption
Excessive alcohol consumption is a pressing issue that affects many veterans, with stress, trauma, and combat exposure being key contributing factors.
If you discover yourself imbibing more than is advisable, don’t hesitate to seek assistance. It could come from your loved ones or a healthcare expert. Alternatively, you can seek out a support group or an online community to connect with fellow veterans and receive empathetic support. Moreover, avoid triggers that may lead you to drink.
4. Stick to an Exercise Plan You Enjoy
Regular physical activity is crucial for shedding body fat, regulating blood sugar levels, and reducing the risk of heart disease. Moreover, exercise stimulates the release of mood-boosting chemicals that may help veterans to cope with anxiety, depression, and stress.
Begin by identifying an exercise regimen that brings you joy, such as cycling, weightlifting, or running. If you require guidance to get started, consider enrolling in group fitness classes or obtaining the services of a personal trainer.
Furthermore, engage in mindful activities such as yoga, breathing exercises, and stretching to relieve stress and anxiety. Set a time to consistently exercise, walk or perform any other physical activity to achieve optimal results.
5. Get Plenty of Sleep
Lack of sleep can negatively impact physical and mental health, so get adequate sleep.
Develop a regular sleep schedule by going to bed and rising at the same time daily. Before bedtime, avoid screens like laptops, televisions, and mobile phones to reduce overstimulation and promote sound sleep. You can make minor tweaks to your bedroom, like adding blackout curtains and dim lighting may help improve the quality of your sleep.
Lastly, use essential oils, wear cozy attire, and play calming melodies to create a soothing atmosphere conducive to falling asleep.
6. Engage Your Mind
Your mind also needs exercise, like your body, to perform optimally.
Challenge your mind and expand your knowledge base by learning a new language, playing language-based games, engaging in memory exercises and logic puzzles, or participating in educational classes to maintain mental agility.
If you have a creative inclination, explore your artistic side through painting, playing music, creating documentaries, and more. You can also join virtual communities to exchange ideas and connect with like-minded individuals.
Finally, take breaks in between activities. It will help you stay focused, energized, and motivated to continue learning new things.
7. Practice Self-Care
Self-care may seem luxurious, but it is fundamental to maintaining veterans’ mental and physical well-being. It aids in reducing stress, managing emotions, fostering resilience, and enhancing overall health. Furthermore, self-care allows you to gain insight into your inner self, identify your core values, recharge your batteries, and reinstate balance in your life.
Discover activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. It could be as effortless as listening to music, basking in nature’s beauty, or indulging in a soothing massage. Alternatively, you can start journaling to record your thoughts and feelings or whip up your favorite meals to treat yourself.
8. Stay Connected to Your Military Buddies
Only a veteran can understand the challenges, fears, and emotions a veteran face daily and provide support, comfort, and advice when needed.
So, try to stay connected with other veterans in person or online. You can stay connected by attending local events, sharing stories and experiences, or meeting for coffee or lunch. You can also join veterans groups or social networks to bond well with other veterans.
Moreover, provide support and motivation to the veterans around you by listening to their stories and helping them solve their problems.
By staying connected with your military buddies, you can build valuable relationships and gain access to the support system you need to thrive as a veteran.
Whether you’ve served in the military for a few months or many years, returning to civilian life can be a difficult and stressful transition. However, there are several ways to take care of your health and stay fit during this challenging time. Eat nutritious meals, get adequate sleep, exercise regularly, engage your mind, practice self-care, and stay connected to other veterans to make the most of your post-military life.
Additionally, keep up with regular medical appointments and avoid excessive alcohol to stay healthy and energized. With these simple tips, you can be sure to lead a balanced and fulfilling life as a veteran.