Staying active after retirement: Five Tips for Veterans

Coming out of the military and adjusting to civilian life can be challenging. This becomes more difficult as you steadily embrace retirement and get used to your older lifestyle.

The US is home to more than 17 million Veterans who served the armed forces to the best of their abilities and potential. However, war comes at a heavy price. You may be shouldering more than physical wounds as you navigate your retired life.

Therefore you must find an active lifestyle that can keep you healthy and fit. Similarly, you must find new hobbies and relearn living outside a strict routine. Here’s how:

1. Stay On Top Of Your Health

It would help if you didn’t go to the hospital only when you have an emergency. As you age, you must establish a routine and stick to it to learn about your health. A primary care doctor can help you get a health screening. These take your vital signs into account and physically evaluate your organs through X-rays.

As a result, hidden illnesses and diseases can come to light, mainly silent cancers. Working on the armed forces around asbestos, heavy ammunition, weapons, and bunkers, you have a good chance of contracting mesothelioma.

Since symptoms of terminal mesothelioma take years to surface, early screening can catch these cells and start a treatment plan for you.

Cancer can be expensive to treat, but by turning to, you can find insurance and doctors willing to work with you and help you manage your condition.

Establish a good relationship with your doctor, and don’t miss out on your appointments.

2. Change Your Diet

The food you eat makes a difference in your physical health. You may be approaching a slower metabolism and feel your appetite get suppressed or notice that you gain weight much faster.

Therefore you need to switch up your diet and have meals that are easier to digest and keep you in shape.

Go easy on fast food and alcohol while choosing fresh and organic ingredients. If you don’t feel hungry, snack on a light vegetable or crackers, but don’t let yourself starve.

Occasionally you may treat yourself to an unhealthy meal but stick to nutritious meals. Your decision to eat food with fats, proteins, and fewer carbs can help regenerate neurons, prevent heart conditions and also keep your joints in good shape.

If you’re new to making healthy meals for yourself, be experimental. You can start by indulging in fresh Thai food or even Mediterranean meals rich in olive oil over your regular food.

3. Indulge In New Hobbies

Following retirement, you may have ample time on your hands. So instead of sitting at home, try finding activities you enjoy.

These include trying your hand at painting, knitting, and even taking a dance class. Now is an excellent time to explore your culinary skills if you have never cooked.

You can also travel and enjoy learning about different cultures or relish a relaxing trip to resorts and beaches.

Your hobbies can also include socializing with other retired folks, having game nights, and starting a book club.

4. Get Mental Help

Witnessing wars and actively partaking in them leaves scars. You may have severe PTSD, feel guilty, and have mental health conditions like anxiety once you get home.

Living with these symptoms can bring challenges. It can interfere with your routine and leave you in a vulnerable position. You may also find yourself getting angry, getting aggressive, and unable to keep up with maintaining bonds with your family.

Therefore look into getting help and working with a professional who can explain your situation.

Mental health professionals like counselors and therapists are safe spaces. These experts can guide you without judging your story.

They also walk you through mental health patterns and coping mechanisms and gradually return to life. However, this is a slow process; you must learn patience before seeing results.

Counselors and therapists cannot dictate what you have to do; instead, they help you figure out ways you can help yourself. So trust their advice and keep it until you feel at peace again.

5. Write An Memoir

Writing about your life is an exciting way to keep yourself busy. Collecting your thoughts, arranging them into a proper outline, and putting words on paper can keep your mind occupied.

You may also ask your teammates to contribute to your records and start a discussion so that all the details are accurate. Writing a memoir is hard work, but as a fresh retired person, it’s an excellent way to utilize your time.

There is also a lot you learn when you explore your story and relive the events that significantly impacted you. At the same time, try taking up reading. Not only is this a healthy habit, but it also helps you develop perspective and learn much more about the changing world.

Whether you choose to write one in a journal or on your laptop, try planning out your write-up and build your memoir.

Final Thoughts

Life after retirement as a military veteran is significantly different than the way it was when you were in the armed forces.

Therefore reclaiming your life and building a lifestyle again is essential for your well-being. You can start by checking in with your doctor and learning about your health. Your diet also needs your attention, so indulge in meals suitable for your health.

Mental health conditions following your discharge can be difficult, but help is available for you through counseling and therapy. Take the time to find yourself and find new hobbies that make you happy.

Finally, why not pen down your thoughts as a memoir? This keeps your mind busy and serves as an excellent outlet to recount the events of your life, which helps in seeking closure.

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