Leaving the military can be one of the most tumultuous and disruptive experiences any ex-service person goes through in life. Trying to get used to living as a civilian and finding structure in life is often highly challenging – particularly in the early weeks and months of retirement.
For many ex-military personnel, the key to a normal life can be found in adopting and maintaining a regulated physical and mental regime – to help keep focus and build some order and structure to their lives.
Thankfully, there are several resources available both online and offline that can offer guidance, support and advice through the transitional process of leaving service and re-joining the wider civilian community. Organisations like the Consultants for America’s Veterans offer comprehensive assistance covering the legal, health and lifestyle changes inherent in retiring from the army, navy or air force.
Nonetheless, most forms of support still require self-help on the part of the individual – and, very frequently, the motivation for this can be derived through staying mentally agile.
Why it is Essential to Keep Busy
Very often, veterans experience feelings of loss or sorrow at leaving service – emotions not dissimilar to the loss of a friend or relative. It is essential to keep busy through these feelings of grief, to stop the mind from straying onto thoughts of sadness or dipping into depression.
It is a proven fact that an active mind is more content and less likely to suffer mental problems. Keeping your mind active also instils a sense of well-being and inner strength and helps us deal with the everyday problems we all face through life. An active mind is also essential for overall mental health as it helps us identify issues, formulate solutions and encourages positive behaviour.
Many people find starting new a project or making plans for the future can be a good way to bring focus and stave off feelings of emptiness. Examples include taking on DIY jobs, home renovations, personal writing or learning a new language or skill.
Why is Mental Fitness so Important?
Although it is common to place particular emphasis on physical fitness, if anything, mental fitness is even more important. Without mental agility, you will not be able to maintain the motivation or enthusiasm to take part in physical exercise – never mind just finding the mental strength to function normally through life.
Tips you can Try Today for Better Mental Health
The best way to achieve mental health is a holistic approach involving a balanced diet, regular physical exercise and some techniques to help you improve your mental health. Try one or all of the following:
- Regular meditation helps calm the brain, allowing you to properly switch off.
- One of the most common mental complaints is the inability to completely relax.
- Using visualisation to imagine a tranquil scene reduces tension in the dominant side of your brain and helps you focus away from your worries.
- Getting lost in a good book can be the ultimate distraction and stops you from worrying about the here-and-now of everyday problems.
- Reading also stimulates the brain, forcing it to process words and recall meanings.