When Your Tour is Over: Acclimating to Home Life After Military Service
The day has finally arrived: you have your DD-214 in hand and you’re headed home for good. As anyone who’s ever mustered out will tell you though, that’s just the beginning to live after military service in the civilian world. Most veterans struggle with finding the connections between their life before service and after it. Let’s take a look at some ways you can make this transition easier on yourself, your family, your friends and your coworkers.
Take Time to Take Care Of You
When you are in service, feelings and vulnerability are topics that don’t get discussed. To express feelings and be vulnerable would be to show weakness, and every military personnel’s primary mission is to overcome all weakness, survive, and win. This all-or-nothing approach to life and your own emotional health doesn’t mesh well with the realities of life in the civilian world. Your mind is going to need significant time to adjust to this drastic shift in mentality. Take care of yourself emotionally and mentally, and talk about how you are feeling. Nutrition, rest, and exercise aren’t the only thing you need to get you through: your mind requires time to adjust as well.
Find Other Vets to Talk To
This doesn’t mean you need to join a veterans support group by any means. You do need a circle of people who get what you’ve been through, and you never know who may also be struggling with the transition of life after the military just like you. Talking with them will help both you and them and connecting with other vets helps more than just about any other method when it comes to making that transition to life after military service.
Provide Yourself With a Military Routine
Try to mirror the daily routine of your life in the military. Work out with others in a setting that’s similar to your workouts out in the military. Join a martial arts club where you can spar with others, run with a group or run obstacles courses. These continuities help you establish your new civilian routine while maintaining a connection to your life in the military.
Take Pride In Your Service
Whether you know it or not, your fellow citizens are intensely proud of your service in the armed forces defending the freedoms they all enjoy. Be proud that you were a part of that, too. Explain honors you earned, the titles you held and what was required for you to achieve your rank when you left the service, especially to prospective employers. Not only does it provide you with an opportunity to feel proud of all you have accomplished, but it also gives prospective employers a complete picture of the experienced veteran they are considering for hire.
All in all, you need to take initiative and plan your transition into life after the military. Taking the time to follow these four methods provides you and everyone around you with the means to make you’re acclimating to home life after military service easier.
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