How to Get Back Into Civilian Life After Leaving the Armed Forces


After leaving the armed forces, many veterans find it difficult to return to civilian life. Multiple factors can contribute to this, including post-traumatic stress disorder, lack of civilian work experience, and financial issues. It may take some time, but these challenges can be overcome with planning and support. Here are several things you can do to ease the transition from military service to civilian life.

Start Planning Early

Begin planning for your return as soon as you know when you will leave the military. Research employment opportunities in your area and make plans to apply as soon as you are eligible. Make an appointment with a career counselor at the Veterans Transition Center to learn more about your options and explore possible career paths and other resources that can help you start your civilian life. If you do not already have accommodation lined up, be sure to start looking for a place early to get a feel for the cost and availability of homes in the area where you want to live.

Develop Your Resume

Many employers require applicants to submit a resume with their application materials. If your resume is not up to date, take time to review and update it. Read resume examples to get an idea of the types of skills and accomplishments that employers typically like to see on resumes for different types of jobs. Think about the skills and knowledge that you gained during your military experience and how it might relate to potential civilian careers. Do not be afraid to include this information in your resume to help employers understand the wide range of abilities that you may have.

Retain Your Focus

In the service, you must always stay focused on your duties. Make sure that you do not lose this clarity and concentration after you transition. Staying engaged and sharp can be difficult in a civilian job, especially if you take on an office position. It will take adjustment to be in a job without the structure of a military schedule, so give yourself some time to learn new habits. Research natural Adderall substitutes that can help you to stay focused and productive throughout the day. Mindfulness training and small bursts of exercise can also help you to improve your cognitive performance and relieve stress throughout the day.

Stay in Shape

Maintaining your physical fitness can be challenging once you leave the military, but it is an important part of promoting positive mental and physical health. You may find that you put on weight because you are not burning the same calories as you used to when you were in active service, especially if you are still nursing service-related injuries. Hold yourself accountable for your physical health. Sign on to a gym or organize a group of friends to form a workout group so that you are motivated to exercise. Another good way to stay fit is to find a job that involves physical or outdoor work such as landscaping or fitness training.

Make Connections

Many veterans find it difficult to transition to civilian life because they lack connections within the community. Feelings of isolation can make it hard to put yourself out there and can also lead to depression and other mental health problems. To combat these feelings, you should make a concerted effort to connect with other people. Volunteering is a great way to do this. Look for opportunities to get involved in your community at your local food bank, animal shelter, soup kitchen, or VA office. It is especially important to connect with other veterans who have had similar experiences so you can provide each other with support.

Replace the Action

The adrenaline and sense of purpose that comes from being a soldier can be hard to replace once you leave active duty. This can be especially true for veterans who have had extended overseas deployments. You can take up a hobby like airsoft, scuba diving, rock climbing, or surfing to help you regain the feeling of adventure and excitement. You can also look for activities that involve teamwork and leadership to keep a sense of camaraderie. However, if you feel that your adrenalin-seeking behavior may be getting out of hand, be sure to seek help from a mental health professional before you get hurt.

Talk to Someone

Talking is the easiest thing to do but it can also be the hardest—particularly for veterans who are used to being stoic and self-reliant. If you feel overwhelmed by feelings of anxiety, anger, or sadness, talking to a counselor can help. You can also seek support from family and friends or even write a blog. Writing about your thoughts and feelings can be a great way to express your feelings without judgment. Remember that it is normal and healthy to have feelings. A mental health professional can help you understand what is going on in your mind and make it easier to handle your thoughts and emotions.

Veterans contribute such a great deal of their lives to their country. While leaving active service can be tough, know that you have surmounted many larger challenges in your military career. Battles are won with good planning, preparation, and support, so take the right steps to set yourself up for a successful transition back to civilian life.



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