Six Ways Veterans Can Live Healthy Lives

Serving your country is an honor. Dedicating your life to protecting your country and demonstrating unwavering strength, dedication, and courage is one of the most commendable acts. But, it has its repercussions.

Serving in the military is no easy task. You have to live a certain way and follow many rules. So, transitioning from the military to normal life can be quite hard for veterans. It can be difficult to let go of that routine and get acclimated to a new environment.

Apart from that, you might have experienced many injuries, been exposed to harmful things like harsh weather, or worked around toxic substances like asbestos during your service. This and adjusting to a new life can be hard on your mind and body.

So, after retirement, it is necessary to focus on your health and start your journey to wellness.

Ways Veterans Can Live Healthy Lives 

Going from military to civilian life is a major transition that can take a toll on your mind and body. So, here are some tips to help you lead a healthy and stress-free life post-retirement.

1. Go for regular checkups.

Military service can impact your health, while old age also brings its share of health issues. So, it is important to get regular checkups to diagnose and treat any serious illness before it gets worse.

For instance, mesothelioma is a common illness found in around 33% of veterans due to the extensive use of asbestos in the military till the 80s. However, this disease can take decades to develop, so it is mostly found in veterans and people who worked in the construction industry.

Getting a mesothelioma diagnosis can be heartbreaking. But, there are many organizations, such as the Mesothelioma Veterans Center, that are dedicated to helping veterans deal with this disease or other asbestos-related illnesses.

This center can help you deal with and understand your diagnosis, help create a suitable treatment plan and choose the best healthcare or cancer treatment center. Apart from that, you can also learn about and access the VA benefits you are entitled to due to your diagnosis.

2. Practice healthy eating habits.

Eating a balanced and nutritious diet is key to living a healthy life. Although healthy eating is important during all stages of life, it becomes more important as you age because your digestive system starts to slow down. So, it is necessary to practice healthy eating habits even after you have left the military.

You can improve your diet by adding high-fiber items like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Fiber can help keep your digestive system healthy and reduce your chances of experiencing certain issues, such as constipation and obesity.

You can also have the occasional treat like fast food or dessert in moderation. In addition, you can take vitamin supplements after consulting your doctor to target any vitamin deficiencies. It is also necessary to stay hydrated to decrease the chances of developing health issues like urinary tract infections, kidney issues, or heat exhaustion.

3. Stay physically active 

Studies show that regular exercise does not only improve your physical health but can boost your mental health as well. Exercise helps in releasing the feel-good hormones called endorphins. These hormones help to elevate your mood and improve your mental health.

Additionally, regular exercise will help you create a routine and give you something to focus on daily. This can also help take your mind off the stress of transitioning to a new life.

Similarly, regular physical activity can have numerous physical benefits as well. For instance, it can help you maintain weight and prevent obesity and other chronic illnesses. Exercise can also help manage chronic pain.

So, if you sustained any injuries during service and have chronic pain, exercise can help reduce your pain. However, consulting a physical therapist is important to create a suitable routine for managing pain.

4. Prioritize your mental health. 

During military service, you go through many harsh experiences and see some horrible sights. All this can harm your mental health, and transitioning to a new life can make handling day-to-day things stressful. So, it is necessary to prioritize your mental health to ensure your overall well-being.

According to recent research by Nami, almost 11% to 20% of veterans suffer from PTSD. In addition, 20% of veterans suffer from depression, while 18% resort to using drugs to cope with their poor mental health.

Still, many veterans avoid getting mental health services due to stigma. So, if you’re experiencing any psychological issues, it is crucial to seek health immediately. Talking to a mental health professional like a psychologist can help you improve your psychological well-being and lead a happy and healthy life.

5. Manage your finances 

Financial problems can be a great source of stress. After retiring, many veterans struggle with financial issues that can affect their mental health. So, planning your finances wisely after leaving military service is important.

We recommend you create a budget that outlines all your expenses and leaves room for savings as well. You can also hire a professional, if possible, for financial advice. An expert can help you create a personalized financial plan, making it easier to understand your finances and reduce stress. Similarly, you can also look into any VA benefits you might be eligible for.

6. Stay connected 

As mentioned, veterans suffer from several physical and mental issues due to their service. However, you can overcome many of these issues with the right support. Socialization can help you overcome many problems, such as depression and anxiety – common in veterans. And it can also help you get used to your new life faster.

Socialization allows you to feel comfortable and welcome when you reenter society. It can also help keep you busy and take your mind off stressful things. So, you can visit your family every weekend or ask them to see you if you live nearby.

You can also try reconnecting with old friends, join book clubs, or sign up for social activities. It is also recommended to join veteran support groups to help improve your mental health.

Concluding Thoughts 

Undoubtedly, military service is an honor, but wars can be brutal. They can leave a permanent scar on your mental health and lead to several health issues as well. On top of that, transitioning to a completely new life and reentering society adds to the stress.

Although post-retirement life can be hard, veterans can take many steps to make it easier. For instance, following a healthy lifestyle and creating a routine can help improve your physical and psychological health.