As a veteran, thinking of yourself and your well-being is probably something that comes to you as a secondary thought. Veterans spend their lives trying to protect others, often at the cost of their own mental and physical well-being. During deployment, almost every situation can be a matter of life and death and can bring lasting effects. While it might be your first instinct to put yourself on the line, staying healthy is important. After you return home, the effects of your deployment can soon take a toll on your body and mind. Therefore, protecting your health is vital so you can make the most of your time back and enjoy your time with your loved ones. However, if you’re having a hard time finding how to live a healthy life after retirement, we have some tips for you. Keep reading below to learn how to live a healthy life as a veteran.
1. Stay in touch with a doctor
Holistic health measures always come later when you’re a veteran. In your work life, you may have encountered several hazardous situations that may have had a lasting effect on your health. Accidents, explosions, and encounters with dangerous parties are common occurrences, and many veterans may develop long-lasting conditions. Staying in touch with a doctor can help you manage your injuries or conditions much better.
Additionally, although physical injuries are easily detectable, you may face other, more insidious problems due to the nature of your job. One of the most challenging issues veterans need to be wary of is mesothelioma. If you’ve served in the navy, you may have encountered asbestos fibers in the ship’s engines, boiler rooms, mess halls, and even sleeping quarters. Mesothelioma is fatal cancer, often only detected in the later stages, and navy veterans are at the highest risk. For issues like mesothelioma navy veterans can easily access information that can help them connect with the relevant resources to handle this condition.
2. Get a good workout in
As a veteran, keeping yourself fit will always be a top priority. Physical fitness doesn’t just have to do with aesthetic value – it is a way to keep yourself active, independent, and fit. Declining physical health can have a profound impact on your mental health too, and can make you feel lazy, demotivated, and tired. On the other hand, sticking to a workout routine can help you maintain discipline and schedule and can help you keep yourself active.
When putting together a workout routine, you may have to consider your current physical condition. Many veterans return with permanent physical impairments that can prevent them from being as active as they want. Assessing your condition is vital, so you don’t aggravate your injury. Sticking to low-impact workouts can be the best choice if you have bone fractures, torn muscles, or head injuries.
3. Never neglect your mental health
Many of the scars you gain as a veteran can be psychological. The dangerous, challenging situations you encounter at work won’t just harm you physically but can impact your psyche in a lasting, negative manner. Most veterans who return home face mental health conditions that can immensely impact their quality of life. PTSD is one of the most common and dangerous mental health issues veterans face and can torment soldiers to the extent of suicide. War veterans can also face depression, anxiety, mood disorders, and substance abuse.
One of the reasons why mental health issues go neglected for so long for veterans is that they might be unwilling to share how they feel. However, it’s important to recognize that the more you leave this unchecked, the worse it’ll get. Without talking to a trained professional, your issues can get much worse and can start to impact your family too. If you feel like you’re falling into a negative space and can’t shake off suicidal or painful thoughts, get in touch with a therapist before it’s too late. You can focus on other aspects of life only when you have good mental health.
4. Eat well
You’ll be surprised at how much of an impact your diet can have on your mental and physical health. If you’re consuming mainly greasy, sugary, processed food, you can develop a range of diseases, including obesity, cardiovascular issues, respiratory issues, skin problems, and lowered immunity. You can work out as much as you like, but if you aren’t eating clean, you won’t see any results.
Eating clean doesn’t have to mean restricting yourself and having a miserable diet of salad leaves daily. Instead, you can put together some delicious, fresh dishes which taste much better than the highly-processed gunk. Incorporating fresh fruit, lots of water, fresh vegetables, and healthy protein can help create some super-filling and delicious meals. Not only can these meals help you stay fit, but they can help your body fight off oxidative stress and diseases too. If you feel like this is too much hassle, meal prepping is an excellent way to plan for the whole week and reduce your workload.
5. Make time for the things you love
Serving in the military often means putting your needs on the back burner and doing what needs to be done. You may have had to ignore several other things you were passionate about because this job can be all-consuming. However, once you’re back home, you have much more time to do what you’re passionate about and work on another segment of your life.
Working on something you’re passionate about can also be integral in helping you adjust to life back home. Many veterans can feel lost and directionless after they retire and might not have much to do during the day. This aimlessness can be extremely challenging and can affect mental and physical health profoundly. Instead, making time for what you’re passionate about, whether it’s music, art, community service, exercise, or even studying, can help you start afresh.
Living a healthy life post-retirement can be harder than it seems when you’re a veteran. There can be several factors to consider before you start adjusting back to normal life. This guide can help you figure out what areas to stress about and how to make sure you live a healthy, fulfilling life with your loved ones when you come back home.