Military service is never easy, no matter how passionate you are about the job. Military personnel put their lives on the line to defend others and are routinely exposed to some of the most dangerous situations imaginable. The consequences of such a work environment can be far-reaching and can continue even after service has ended for military veterans.
In fact, as a military veteran, paying attention to your health and lifestyle after retirement becomes even more important. Increased age and the effects of your service can easily catch up with you if you aren’t careful, and there are many factors you need to consider.
You can protect your health as a veteran and ensure you live a healthy, fulfilling retired life. If you’re looking to learn more, keep reading below.
Look out for profession-specific health problems
Being in the military is a profession that exposes you to some pretty harrowing conditions. This job can be both emotionally and physically challenging, and if you’re not careful, it can leave some pretty lasting mental and physical scars. Although you should also keep an eye out for general health drawbacks following retirement, it is especially important to look out for a few specific conditions.
One of the most important things you should watch out for are signs of cancer. Soldiers and military officers exposed to asbestos are at high risk of developing mesothelioma – a rare and fatal cancer – after retirement. Asbestos is commonly used in tanks and other military machinery, and even short-term exposure can lead to mesothelioma.
If you’re at risk or have already been diagnosed, heading to a mesothelioma veterans center is the best option. The veteran center can help you access the necessary resources, apply for financial compensation, and connect with the best doctors to help you manage your disease.
Focus on your mental health
Mental health should be one of your primary concerns during and after your service. Military service isn’t just physically demanding; it also requires immense emotional resilience. The situations that soldiers encounter daily can take a huge toll on them mentally, and some of these sights and choices can haunt them forever. Most military veterans have friends they’ve lost to the cause and have witnessed enough chaos for a lifetime.
You might feel like you’re fine now, but all this can catch up to you later. 83% of all veterans experience PTSD in varying levels of severity, and if left unchecked, this can impact your life immensely. Depression, substance abuse, and anxiety are equally common, and it’s important to reach out to family, friends, or a professional if you feel yourself faltering.
If left unchecked, mental health issues can impact your relationships and transition into civilian life. Although it may seem impossible, overcoming these issues is entirely possible with the right help.
Keep yourself occupied
One of veterans’ biggest challenges after retirement is the lack of activity. As an active duty officer, you may be used to having a strict schedule that keeps you occupied throughout the day. This changes after retirement since you don’t have that previous routine anymore. Creating a meaningful routine after retirement is important to keep yourself mentally and physically engaged.
Joining community groups, getting a job, or starting a business are just a few ways you can keep yourself occupied. If you still want to give back to your community, you can volunteer for disenfranchised groups within your community. You can also join the gym or join communities for veterans to help give your everyday life structure and meaning. With many activities and causes you are passionate about, it can be easy to adjust to life after service and keep yourself healthy.
Maintain a healthy diet
Keeping yourself fit can be challenging without a healthy diet, especially after you retire. Age is an important factor to consider when working on a healthy diet. A nutritionist can assess what nutrients can be most beneficial for you through specific assessments. Then, they can prescribe a regimen of vitamins and supplements as needed.
Try consuming less processed, greasy, and sugary foods from your diet to keep fit and healthy for as long as possible. This will help you avoid chronic health conditions as you grow older. Antioxidant-rich foods, such as cranberries, nuts, green leafy vegetables, and more, can help you stay super healthy and fight off the signs of aging.
Keeping yourself active is one of the most important ways of keeping yourself healthy post-retirement. Veterans are used to strenuous exercise almost daily, and their muscles can suffer if they cut out physical activity entirely after retirement. Joining a gym, hiking, running, and swimming are ways to keep yourself active as a veteran.
A crucial aspect to consider is if you have any underlying injuries or illnesses that can hinder your physical performance. Injuries are common among veterans, and these can make some exercises difficult to perform. If you’re concerned about such a situation, it is necessary to get in touch with a trained professional who can assess your needs.
Moreover, you can also get in touch with a physical therapist to help you recover from any injuries you’ve sustained on the job. Exercise can also help release endorphins, which can help boost mood. Exercise is one of the most effective ways to keep yourself healthy after retirement.
Retiring from active duty can be just as overwhelming and stressful as it can be liberating. It’s important to keep up with your health and ensure you’re living a content life, physically and mentally. By following these tips, you can ensure that your life after retirement is as relaxing and satisfying as it should be. These tips can help protect your mental and physical health and can help you bring meaning to your life after retirement.