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6 Activities for Veterans to Ease the Transition Back Home

By    |   Friday, 22 September 2017 12:57 PM

While returning home from military deployment is usually a joyous occasion, it’s not without its difficulties.

Military.com points out that no matter how happy the homecoming, the honeymoon period doesn’t always last and reintegration into normal civilian life can be hard for military officers for whom “extreme conditions” have become the norm.

Smooth transitions aren’t impossible though. Here are a few activities to help military members adjust to being back home:

1. Exercise regularly — While it may be tempting to take a break, exercise is essential for mental health.

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According to the American Physiological Association, physical activity doesn’t just enhance your mood, it also helps alleviate depression, helps you process stress, and prepares your brain for future stressors.

In a blog for HuffPost, Brook Price writes that it’s important for vets to find a workout routine that simulates a military environment. He suggests obstacle courses or martial arts training.

The idea, he says, is to find consistency and to train with other people.

2. Attend career fairs — Many military members who are coming home for good will need to consider a new career path.

Fox News suggests attending career fairs for military veterans. Here you’ll be able to connect with recruitment firms that specifically deal with placing veterans and find out more about possible career moves.

This would also be a good place to meet other military members in the same boat.

3. Socialize with other veteransAmerican Red Cross says it’s important to communicate, but more important to consider what you’re comfortable sharing and with whom.

It’s possible that your family or friends may not understand your experiences. You could journal your thoughts, or seek out a professional, but Brook Price suggests seeking out other veterans.

Even if you don’t talk about combat, access to someone who has had similar experience will make you feel less isolated.

“That shared experience and mutual support is why recovering alcoholics do much better when they can talk to other recovering alcoholics,” Price explains.

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4. VolunteerPsych Central reports that veterans who volunteer with civic service programs in their communities adjust easier to civilian life.

This is according to a study at Saint Louis University where researchers monitored the effects volunteering had on the health and social lives of veterans who served in Iraq and/or Afghanistan.

The study found that those who volunteered 20 hours a week for six months reported improved mental health.

While it’s not clear how exactly volunteering improves mental health, lead author of the study, Monica Matthieu, Ph.D. speculates that veterans who volunteer are able to find purpose and meaning in their lives again after the military.

5. Yoga and meditation — American Red Cross says veterans sometimes struggle to adjust to no longer being in the same level of danger as they were during deployment.

They suggest finding at least one way to calm your breathing and lower your heart rate.  Two popular ways of doing this are yoga and meditation. Both methods employ conscious breathing to help you refocus your energy and relax.

6. Schedule family meetings — When you return home, your life changes dramatically. And, if you have a family, theirs does too.

Military.com says it’s important to make sure everyone is on the same page. Whether it is about how responsibilities are delegated or what activities you just don’t want to do, it’s important to make sure everyone’s needs are being met.

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While returning home from military deployment is usually a joyous occasion, it’s not without its difficulties.
activities, veterans, ease, transition, home
Friday, 22 September 2017 12:57 PM
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