Serving in the military is one of the most stressful occupations there is. In fact, an employment organization, CareerCast, analyzed various jobs based on a variety of factors, including the risk of injury or death to self or colleagues, encountering hazards, physical demands, competitiveness, achieving deadlines and amount of travel. Applying a scale of 0 to 100, the role which came out with the highest stress levels (72.47) was enlisted military personnel.
According to the US Bureau of Labor, there are currently 1.3 million people on active duty in an American uniform. Those most likely to be experiencing stress will obviously be those operating in combat zones. But even after shipping home after the end of a tour of duty, servicemen or women can be susceptible to post-traumatic stress disorder, while the suicide rate among personnel in the Army and Marine Corps was 25% higher than their compatriots in the Air Force and Navy. The forces’ Mental Health Advisory Team have estimated over 40% of serving soldiers intend leaving the military as soon as the term of their current obligation comes to an end.
So what can be done to alleviate the tremendous pressure experienced by those who have chosen to put their lives on the line in the service of their country? The combat zones faced by troops in the 21st century come with their own trial and tribulations. From Iraq to Afghanistan to Syria, US soldiers and pilots have found themselves forced to live in a challenging environment, plagued by unfamiliar levels of heat, and fighting belligerents who are often deeply embedded in the local civilian population, meaning the threat of violence is omnipresent.
There is a certain amount of downtime when troops are able to unwind and kick back in the relative safety of well-guarded compounds. Unlike previous generations, American military personnel now have access to all manner of technological gadgetry to unwind and take their minds to somewhere less hostile. Laptops or smart devices can be used to enjoy long-distance web conversations with loved ones who may be thousands of miles away. Hand-held devices can store thousands of anyone’s favorite songs in mp3 format, which can then be browsed through at any suitable time of day. Nothing can take a young soldier’s mind away from the rigors of daily patrols than a few bars of Bruce Springsteen or Eminem’s latest offering.
But one area which is proving to be especially popular is not so much touching base with life back home as keeping abreast of love life back home. Many an online dating website is free to sign-up to, allowing members to have instant access to a bank of potential partners. While there are logistical issues to conducting a long-distance romance separated by continents rather than just states, the social benefits of kindling a virtual friendship with a love interest are vast.
Many dating sites operate algorithms which ensure like-minded individuals are connecting. This guarantees members are only likely to get matched with compatible people. It may well be the soldier or marine has specified they would rather not be introduced to other service personnel, only because they feel like a complete break from their ‘day job.’ On the other hand, they might be looking for kindred spirits; someone who will be able to empathize with the traumas they are going through on a daily basis.
As well as presenting someone who can become a valued confidante in a discreet online chat room, there is always the possibility of romance blossoming once the tour of duty is over. That will put a spring in any soldier’s step.