10 Hobbies for Retired Veterans Dealing with Stress


Retiring from the military can leave you with a huge void. Not only do you have a lot of free time on your hands, but this is likely something that is completely new to you. Military service is quite structured. You have all your time accounted for, and this gives you a sense of purpose. All of this can seem lost after you retire.

It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Picking up an old hobby or finding a new interest can fill your time and lead to a real sense of satisfaction. Hobbies provide an extra benefit of diminishing the stress that can come with the transition to civilian life. Take a look at the list below for some inspiration on a few hobbies for retired veterans dealing with stress. Surely, you’ll find one or two that might appeal to you.

  1. Become a Social Media Influencer

Even though you’re retired, you may still wish to make some money to help pad your nest egg and fund the activities you’d like to pursue. Chances are, you have a depth of interests and expertise that you gained during your time in the military. One way to earn extra cash and share your knowledge is to become a social media influencer.

It may sound like fantasy, but you really can earn a decent income by creating posts on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram and building a following.

  1. Hiking and Camping

Hiking is a fantastic hobby for retired military vets. You got a lot of exercises while in the armed forces. It can be stressful to just give up that routine. It’s also difficult on your body when you’re used to working out on a regular basis.

A big benefit to hiking is that this is a physical activity you get to do on your own time. No ones breathing down your neck and telling you when or how to get it done. In addition, hiking is a fabulous way to commune with nature. We all know this can be good for our mental health.

  1. Indulge in Art

Are you artistic? Many people don’t even realize they have a creative streak until they retire and have some free time on their hands. If you suspect that art could be a good outlet for you, give it a try. It’s incredibly satisfying to create something from scratch and to end up with an end product you envisioned.

Different art forms may include painting, sculpting, playing an instrument, drawing, writing, or even woodworking and carpentry. Just give it a shot to see if setting your inner artist free is something you’ve been waiting to do.

  1. Brew Beer or Make Wine

Brewing beer or making wine are great hobbies to indulge in as a stress reliever. If you consume alcohol, you’ve probably developed a taste for a wide variety of kinds from your travels around the world with the military.

Why not try to recreate the tastes you loved? Making alcohol involves following instructions and staying the course. These are things you’re already good at. In the end, you’ll have a product you can enjoy and share.

  1. Fishing and Hunting

We’ve already talked about the benefits of being outdoors. If you’re the outdoorsy type, you may want to get into fishing or hunting. Being in nature is relaxing, and it takes discipline to become a good fisherman or hunter.

You’re rewarded in the end with a product you can consume. These activities can be solitary or involve friends.

  1. Reading

Military life involves active learning. However, it may not have always been topics that fueled your passions. Now’s the time to determine what interests you and take the time to learn all about it.

Or you can read for the simple pleasure of getting lost in a story, if fiction is your preference. Reading is one of the great pleasures in life and offers tremendous stress relief.

  1. Yoga and Meditation

If you’re particularly stressed or perhaps suffering from PTSD due to service, you may benefit greatly from yoga and meditation. These exercises require much discipline and they teach you to be in the moment. You’ll release your worries and gain a sense of peace through these disciplines.

  1. Running or Working Out

Running is incredibly freeing. You set yourself on a path and just let your body and mind wander. It also keeps you fit, which is important after military life. If the weather doesn’t allow, you can always work out at the gym or in your home. Physical exercise always helps to release tension.

  1. Barbecuing or Cooking

Many retired veterans choose to pick up barbecuing or cooking as a hobby. This is another outlet that combines creativity, a useful end product, and a community.

Sharing the food you’ve created is so rewarding. If you have a flair for preparing meals, give cooking, baking or barbecuing a shot now that you have more time on your hands.

  1. Take a Class

Reading on your own is great for those who prefer solitary activities. However, if you like to engage with others and learn in a hands-on environment, taking a class may be just the thing to consider.

It can be a course on any interest you have; the possibilities are practically endless. This class doesn’t have to involve formal education, though it can. Do some online research to see what’s out there. Ask questions and listen to your heart. You’ll find the opportunity that’s right for you.

These are just a handful of hobbies for retired veterans dealing with stress. Use them as a springboard for your own ideas. Pick up an old hobby you once loved. No matter what, make it fun, and just enjoy yourself.

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