Military men have to deal with the consequences of living in a war zone for extended periods. When coupled with the stress that comes with being away from family, not getting enough sleep, and injuries sustained during combat, this can take a toll on mental well-being.
However, you’re never alone. This post shows you how to make intentional decisions about your mental well-being.
- What Is Mental Well-being?
Mental well-being is a state that includes the presence of positive emotions, psychological well-being, social well-being, and spiritual well-being. A common way to think about mental health is to compare it against mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety.
However, this approach suggests only two states: normal health or illness. In fact, you can think about mental health as being on a continuum from happiness to sadness. Everyone experiences both positive and negative emotions at different times throughout their lives.
- Ways To Ensure Mental Well-Being
There are lots of ways to care for yourself after leaving the military. Here are some tips on how to ensure mental well-being after military service:
- Find A Professional You Can Trust
When you find a professional, make sure they’re qualified and experienced to help you with your specific needs. If you have already been seeing a counselor or therapist through the VA, you should consider whether they can meet your current needs. If not, then look into who else is available in your area.
Furthermore, look for a counselor or an agency you can trust and with whom you feel comfortable talking. How do you know if you can put your trust in them? Well, there are many signs. For example: Do they listen well and respond appropriately? Is there anything off-putting about their personality? In short: You might want a professional who has better people skills or offers online and privacy moments like Well Beings Counselling and the like.
- Don’t Be Afraid To Express Your Feelings
To express your feelings is one of the most important things you can do for your mental health and well-being. Mental health professionals say that acknowledging feelings, whether positive or negative, can be an effective way to relieve stress.
Talking about how you feel also helps you better understand what’s going on in your mind and body. For example, if you discuss a stressful day at work with a friend, you might realize that it’s not the job itself that stresses you out—it could be the long commute or poor time management skills. Having this insight will help you figure out the best way to combat the source of your stress.
- Exercise Regularly
It can be challenging to jump back into civilian life and leave behind the structure and camaraderie you had in the military. One way to ease into civilian life is by finding new ways to incorporate structure into your routine, like going to the gym regularly or taking long walks.
The benefits of exercise are numerous, but one of them is a massive boost to your mental health. You’ll feel better physically, which will give you more energy and help combat fatigue. You’ll also have time for reflection, decompression, and reduced stress levels, which can be great for combatting anxiety and depression.
Exercise also helps with socializing, another critical component of maintaining good mental health. You will have a chance to interact with people other than your family if you go to the gym regularly—and if they’re regulars at the gym too, you may even make some new friends.
- Think About A Change Of Scenery
What better way to refresh your day-to-day than to seek out new experiences? After all, you deserve to have some fun after being through!
Take a trip that takes advantage of the scenery if you love the outdoors. If you don’t mind a little cold, consider visiting a historic center in winter. If hiking isn’t your thing, but you’re looking for something new and beautiful, check out springtime in various countries. Or travel somewhere overseas and enjoy a different culture. There are so many options for veterans with wanderlust!
- Seek Out Support Groups
Joining a support group can be a great way to relate to other people who’ve had the same experiences as you. Support groups are an outlet for you to discuss the challenges you faced and how you overcame them while meeting other people going through the same things.
Find support in people who understand what you’re going through and know they’ve gone through similar situations. Support groups can be online and in-person, so find one that works for your needs.
- Practice Gratitude Regularly
Regularly practicing gratitude is good for your mental health. It can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. If you’ve got a hard time finding something to feel grateful for, start small. Gratitude doesn’t have to be complicated or profound; it just has to be honest and heartfelt. Are you feeling grateful for your health? Great! Are you feeling grateful for the food on your plate? Even better!
Even if you can only muster feelings of gratitude once a day or once a week at first—that’s okay. Try to create a routine where you sit down and write down at least one thing you’re grateful for every day or week. You can use mobile apps to make the process easier.
- Build New Memories And Learn Something New
Before you leave the service, you’ll probably have built a tight-knit group of friends that you trust. Try to maintain contact with these people and plan reunions each year. Your fellow service members will understand what you’re going through better than anyone else, and keeping in touch can help you remember the good times you had together.
One of the best things about being a civilian is having more time for yourself! Take advantage of this by learning new skills or using your newfound free time to find a hobby that you enjoy. Whether playing an instrument, working on cars, or having an artistic outlet like painting or photography, hobbies can help bring more meaning into your life and give it more purpose after military service. This is especially useful if your career prospects are limited due to injuries sustained while serving — doing something just for fun can keep your mind engaged and help prevent depression.
Remember, your mental health is essential. If you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Accepting help when you need it is a sign of strength. And if you know someone who’s struggling, let them know they can talk to you, and don’t give up on them.
Also, remember, thanks to the efforts of several non-profit organizations, many resources are available to veterans.