Readjusting to civilian life can be difficult for veterans. After years of living in a set way of life with regimented practices, adapting to such a severe change in circumstances can cause a lot of uncertainty and stress.
One of the most common questions veterans ask once they leave service is: What now? While the answer to that will differ from one person to the next, there are five first steps that you should think about taking:
- Take some time off for self-care
Instead of jumping straight into civilian life and trying to do everything at once, you should take some time for self-care. The emotional journey back to civilian life is just as important as the physical one, and it’ll take time before your feet hit the ground.
That is why the first step you should take is to rest, relax, and get things in order. Eat good (i.e. healthy) food, spend time with your family and friends, and prepare for what comes next.
- Establish a routine
As early as possible you should establish a routine. For veterans coming out of a military environment a solid routine can help provide them with structure.
The main challenge you’ll face is the fact that previously your routine was probably established for you. However now the decisions will be in your hands, and it will be up to you to decide when to wake up, hit the gym, spend time with your family, and so on.
By making those decisions early and coming up with a fixed routine, you’ll slowly start to find civilian life easier to cope with.
- Find out more about your benefits
Veterans are eligible for certain benefits, and you should definitely find out about them. Not only can they help you out financially, but they may even influence your decisions about what you’d like to do next.
The financial and medical assistance that Veterans Affairs provides may be particularly invaluable initially – and the educational, job training, and housing programs may help too.
- List out everything you need to get in order
Feel like there’s countless things you need to get into order? While that may be true, the best thing for you to do is to start to come up with a list.
On that list you should write down everything you can think of. For example you may need to get a driving license, find a car, get insurance, look into military job options, and so on.
The list will help you to keep track of everything you need to do so you can keep track of it and take things step by step.
- Connect with other veterans
Talking to other veterans is honestly one of the most helpful steps when you want to transition back to civilian life. Because you will share similar experiences, it will often be easier to connect with other veterans than it is with civilians.
Not only can connecting with other veterans provide you with support, but they can be a lot of help in easing your transition. It should be easy enough to find veterans groups in your area, or even on social media.
Despite how challenging it can be to transition from military to civilian life – it is definitely possible. On your part you just need to start slowly and work your way towards it, while making sure that you look for help along the way if you need it. Before you know it you may even be able to find a new purpose, and get your civilian life truly underway.