Serving in the military is dangerous, demanding, and challenging. Sadly, transitioning back to civilian life, even for a short period, can be even more difficult than military service. Do you know why? Serving in the military exposes you to various physical and mental health hazards. Not just that, the things you might have seen in the field or during the war can impact your overall health significantly.
During the services, you might be exposed to dangerous substances, not to mention gunfire and explosions, affecting your physical health. As a result, you might face health conditions you never expected, such as chronic injuries and pain after coming home. In addition, you might find yourself suffering from mental health conditions like PTSD or depression.
Hence, now is the time to start making healthy changes, giving you a chance to improve your overall health. Here are some crucial health tips every veteran needs.
Stay Updated on Your Wellness Visits
Routine checkups are a great way to stay on top of your overall health. During these checkups, your doctor will check your cholesterol and blood pressure to ensure you’re fit. Besides that, your doctor can identify if you have developed any new symptoms or worsening signs. They can help you detect health conditions early and treat you accordingly.
For instance, during your duty, you might be exposed to asbestos, a hazardous substance that might cause severe health conditions like mesothelioma. As a result, your doctor can update you on the survival statistics. They might refer you to specialists who can provide proper treatment. Moreover, during these visits, your doctor can help you stay updated on your vaccines to prevent dozens of infections like measles, mumps, and rubella.
Not just that, your medical care provider can provide proper assistance if you have a sustained injury. They can provide you with an early diagnosis and treatment, allowing you to recover faster and with lesser complications.
Connect with Others
Being socially active is crucial for your mental health and overall well-being. Hence, you should strive to connect with others wherever and whenever possible. Consider joining group activities like an outdoor club. Besides that, you can think about joining a veteran-specific group. This allows you to share your experienced and stories with someone who also shares an inside perspective. However, if you’re unable to find any groups in your neighborhood or having a hard time looking for the right people, consider searching online. Try searching for groups on Facebook or websites to find your military friends.
Get Professional Help
Serving in the military can bring hardships that can be best handled by seeking the help of a professional. Talking to a professional can help you improve your mental health instantly. These experts can offer you better access to resources and give you an outlet to share the challenges you faced and continue experiencing. Not just that, an expert can help you deal with various health conditions such as substance use disorder (STD), giving you all the support you need to live a healthier and happier life.
Remember, food can impact your health, for good or bad. You must already know poor nutrition and an unbalanced diet can cause health conditions to worsen. Not just that, it can affect your mental health as well. Not consuming enough vitamins or minerals can cause fluctuations in your mood and give you trouble concentrating.
Hence, pay attention to what you’re adding to your plate. Consider eating at least five portions of various vegetables and fruits daily. Add dairy products, rice, and wholegrain as a base for your meals. Having eggs or fish is a fantastic way to eat protein. Ensure you’re eating protein and fiber every morning. Besides that, eat carrots dipped in hummus instead of munching on a cupcake for a snack.
In addition, keep yourself hydrated. However, water isn’t your only option. You can make fruit and vegetable juices for the flavor and extra nutrients.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleeping well improves your mood instantly and prepares you for a productive and energized day ahead. Not getting enough or good quality sleep can slow down your healing process. It might give you trouble recalling detail as sleep plays a significant role in learning and memorizing. Without getting enough sleep, you might find it challenging to grasp new information.
But how can you ensure you’re getting enough and good quality sleep? Start by maintaining a fixed sleep schedule. Try sleeping and waking around the same time every day. In addition, limit your exposure to blue light and avoid using screens before bed.
Moreover, wind down before going to bed. Stress from your day might make it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. Hence, create a relaxing bedtime routine like listening to calm music or reading a book.
Taking care of yourself isn’t always about doing the ‘right’ thing for your physical or mental health. Self-care means knowing when to treat yourself, whether with a cupcake or a Netflix binge. However, remember to treat yourself in balance.
For instance, consider giving yourself a break from all the vegetables and eat something sweet such as a cookie or a pie. If there’s been a movie you wish to watch for many days, take a day and enjoy it. You can give yourself a relaxing day by treating yourself to a massage, helping you improve your physical and mental health.
In addition, a little retail therapy can be great, mainly if it’s something you need. Consider getting new kitchen appliances or work tools. You can also treat yourself by setting aside a day to do absolutely nothing.
Prioritize Mental Health
You must already know serving in the military isn’t easy. You put more at stake than just your life. Perhaps you would suffer from mental health conditions from your experiences in the field during duty. For instance, you might experience nightmares of the traumatic events, flashbacks, or feel depressed thinking about it, making it vital to prioritize your mental health.
But how can you maintain your mental health? Consider taking help from rehabilitation therapies. These therapies aim to connect the gap between mental and social activities to prepare many other veterans like you for civilian life. Going through mental health rehabilitation, you can learn how to adjust to your new environment and cope with challenges.
Serving in the military can affect your physical and mental health significantly. However, the practical health tips mentioned above can help you make it easier to adjust to your new life and improve your overall well-being.