Serving your country takes great courage and strength, and from your first day of basic training to your days serving in a foreign land, you’ve given it your all. You devoted your mind, body, and soul to doing what’s best for your country, but over the years, you find it can take a toll on your health and well-being.
Soon after you find yourself readjusting to civilian life, you’ll realize you’re not the same anymore. Your time in service may have caused mental or physical injuries and exposure to toxic chemicals, and you may have picked up unhealthy habits. All these factors combined could have a devastating impact on your health and wellness and make adjusting all the much harder.
Now it’s finally time to serve yourself. By prioritizing your health and fitness, you can lead a wonderful life post-service. So read on to find out the best tips for you to follow to achieve that dream.
- Get Regular Medical Checkups
While in service, you may have enjoyed many benefits such as accommodation, medical exams, good pay scales, along with other perks. But once your service is up, you may not have a steady income – this may sometimes result in you neglecting your health, leading to sickness.
And since you’re already at risk for developing certain diseases, it’s more important for you to keep up with your doctor’s visits and catch any underlying concerns on time. For example, a toxic substance, asbestos, was commonly used in military construction and weaponry, which is now known to cause fatal illnesses like lung cancer. You may be entitled to lung cancer lawsuit settlements if you get diagnosed, which will help you pay for the best treatment and receive it promptly.
Remember, the prognosis of the disease is better the earlier it’s caught. So, don’t be afraid to visit with your physician, and be sure to inform them about your time in the military and any possible exposure to environmental hazards.
- Get Enough Exercise
After deployment, you might notice that you’ve become physically unfit. The poor diet you had during service, the weight loss or weight gain, the erratic sleep schedule you followed – it all came and caught up to you in the end.
The good news is your physical and mental health can both benefit from exercising. When you lift weights, go for a run, swim, or take even take a spin class, your body produces endorphins and adrenaline, which improve your mood and confidence. This activity sets the tone for the entire day and reduces stress, allowing you to feel more mentally focused and sharper.
Since this can be done in a group, it’s also a natural and impactful way to fight depression because it provides an outlet for feelings of loneliness and connections with others. Besides this, you can keep your weight in check by regularly exercising, which has its own benefits. The key is to find an activity you enjoy and be consistent with it – whether it’s hitting the gym, jogging, or taking a workout class.
- Reduce Stress
Stress is something that can harm your body in ways you never even thought. When the stress hormone cortisol is released, it can cause inflammation, reduce your muscle mass, and even damage your immune system. And as a veteran, you’re already more likely to be dealing with mental health conditions, such as PTSD and depression, than civilians are.
There are many stress-reducing practices you can benefit like meditation, practicing mindfulness, and even deep breathing exercises. Another great way to reduce stress is surrounding yourself with loved ones and joining support groups for veterans. The result will improve your overall wellness and bring you back to health.
- Get More Sleep
Since it’s possible that you didn’t get much good quality sleep during your time in service, it’s time to put your sleep schedule back on track. With a lack of sleep, you’re at risk for all kinds of health problems like gaining weight, blood pressure changes, and a lowered immune system. The general rule is to get about 7 to 9 hours of good-quality sleep each night. But it’s not easy for everyone.
You can try to achieve this by getting on a regular sleep schedule. So, get to bed and wake up at the same time every single day. You can also practice relaxing nighttime routines to get you going, like taking a warm bath, creating a cool and comfortable environment, and maybe reading a book before bed.
You should also avoid consuming caffeine or smoking nicotine close to bedtime because it can make it more difficult to fall asleep. Another helpful tip is to reduce your screen time about two hours before bed, so your mind can fully relax and prepare itself for some rest.
- Change Your Eating Habits
Proper nutrition is one of the most important things for your health and fitness. To get the best nutrition, you should have a healthy balanced diet that a nutritionist can guide you with. But in general, a good balance of protein, fruits, and vegetables can do wonders.
Besides this, there are certain dietary habits you should avoid. For example, if you drink soda regularly, you’re probably consuming too much sugar, which can be bad for your health. Try limiting sugary foods and drinks, as well as processed foods that are high in calories but low in nutrients.
On the other hand, foods like salmon, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, can be good for your heart, and certain berries rich in antioxidants can lower the risk of chronic diseases. So, by making healthy food choices, you can improve your overall health after deployment.
As a veteran, you’ve put your life on the line to serve your country with honor. But now that you’ve returned safely home, it’s time to put yourself first. The most important thing for you now is to focus on your health and well-being so that your life post-deployment can be spent in enjoyment. But the transition from military to civilian life isn’t easy.
With the tips mentioned above, you can be sooner on your way to a good life and make the smoothest transition while maintaining optimum health and fitness. With a little practice and effort, you’ll get the hang of it, and it’ll all be worth it in the end. Don’t forget that each little step forward counts; you just need to stay at it and give it your best.