Being part of the military is very challenging and taxing on your body and mind, making it more important to take care of yourself. Self-care differs for each person, and some methods won’t work well for you as a veteran. You may find yourself hitting a wall and not being able to manage your physical and mental health.
You’ll have to try different self-care methods to figure out which will work for you and if you require professional help. Here are some tips to help you get back on your feet and strengthen yourself.
Work Out Frequently
Physical fitness is paramount to a healthy life. As such, you should make time to incorporate exercise into your schedule. Exercise has countless benefits for your body and mind, and it’s a vital part of military training, so you should do your best to continue working out and keep your body in shape. Workouts help reduce stress levels and improve sleep quality. A lot of your problems can be relieved this way.
Exercise isn’t limited to gym equipment, and you can opt for swimming and yoga if you’re not into high-intensity activities. Alternatively, if you prefer explosive workouts, you might enjoy boxing and martial arts. Some other ways to keep yourself in shape are walking, cycling, stretching, weightlifting, etc.
Utilize Resources Specifically Available For Veterans
Many resources, such as health insurance for veterans, are available for you to live comfortably. However, very few veterans have health insurance, most likely because of a lack of awareness of programs and how to access them.
Some programs have unique clauses to cover insurance for active-duty officers and veterans and their families. These programs offer comprehensive healthcare facilities, and they have inpatient and outpatient services, mental health therapy, nursing, etc.
Even when veterans don’t require treatment, they could learn a lot from health programs. Veterans will learn more about mental health and how to maintain it well, telehealth services, and other aspects of health education centered toward veterans.
Consume A Balanced Diet
Food is among the most crucial aspects of a healthy lifestyle. It’s well understood that poor nutrition and an unbalanced diet can lead to health problems, but did you know they can even impact your mental state. Vitamins and minerals help convert amino acids into neurotransmitters and carbs and fatty acids into brain cells. Not consuming the right amount of micronutrients has been linked to depression and difficulty concentrating.
It would help to create a weekly meal plan. Your meal plan must contain five portions of fruits and vegetables for each day, dairy products, wholegrain, rice and bread as a base for your meals, and beans and lentils. Eggs, fish, and lean meat are excellent sources of protein, and you can boil or bake them to minimize the use of oil in your diet.
Drink as much as you can. Water isn’t your only option. You can make yourself fruit and vegetable smoothies for the flavor and extra nutrients. There are healthy options for when you feel like ordering food or going out to a restaurant, so do your best to avoid unhealthy, greasy fast food as much as possible.
Have A Good Night’s Rest
Everyone needs adequate sleep to function properly because your body and brain are repaired when asleep. Poor sleep leads to exhaustion, difficulty in learning and concentration, and mood swings. A tip to ensure good quality sleep IS not looking at your phone or anything with blue light at least two hours before bedtime. Blue light messes with your internal clock and delays slumber.
Going to bed on a heavy stomach is a terrible idea because it increases your chance of acid reflux and often leads to indigestion. It would help minimize your caffeine and alcohol intake and avoid having any of the two post-afternoon to eliminate lingering effects.
Socialize With Other People
Social interaction is vital for human beings. It would be best if you frequently spoke with friends and family. Even small talk with the cashier can do wonders for your mental health. If you’re stationed away from home, you can video call your loved ones, join some club, and participate in club activities.
If there aren’t any groups in your community that interest you, or you still feel isolated, try joining online groups on social media. You’ll find many army veteran groups where members understand what you’re going through and provide a safe space for you to interact.
Invest In A Hobby Or Adopt A Furry Friend
There are many hobbies to try out, ranging from cycling to painting. You can go for leisurely activities like baking, crocheting, knitting, gardening, etc., if you want a relaxing hobby for your downtime. If you want your hobby to be intense and more like something that wakes up your body and mind, you should look into boxing, dance classes, and sports.
Adopting an animal from the shelter helps both the animal and you. Having a pet significantly relieves stress and anxiety and removes feelings of loneliness. Studies show that pets help you become more active and encourage you to go outside and get fresh air.
Get Some Fresh Air
Your health improves the more time you spend outdoors. Going outside isn’t limited to going to the market to get groceries. You can spend some time walking in the park, hiking, or visiting the beach or lake if it’s near you. You can go for meals and a cup of coffee outside, attend online meetings on the go if possible, and even read a book outdoors.
Let Loose Every Once In A While
Sticking to a schedule and rules the entire time is exhausting by itself. It’s good to take a break once in a while and unwind yourself. Treat yourself to a cheat meal at a fancy restaurant, eat that dessert you’ve been craving for some time, or get yourself a massage.
There are a bunch of ways you can splurge on yourself. Schedule a time to watch a movie or show you’ve been trying to get into but never got the chance. You can also take yourself shopping and buy something nice. However, everything must be done in moderation. There’s no need for you to max out your card or lose sleep to enjoy life.
Maintaining good health has a few basic rules. You need to work out consistently, eat a nutritious, balanced diet, and spend time outdoors. If you require professional help, you should look up health insurance schemes made explicitly for army veterans. Allow yourself breaks to prevent burnout, hang out with friends or start a new hobby. The following tips can be quite helpful in managing life after having served your country in the army.