Keeping up with the pace of our lives leaves us physically exhausted and mentally drained. Especially being a veteran comes with expectations of strength and resilience from other people. They will view you in a high position and expect you to show no sign of weakness, whatever the circumstances. However, you are a human at the end of the day, and feeling stressed and weak is a normal response to your circumstances. The days spent in your service might have been replete with challenges and dangers which unknowingly leave a mark. These, if unattended, can affect the quality of life you will be leading. So after long years of struggle and sacrifice, it is time for you to prioritize yourself. If you have decided to do just that, here are some self-care tips for tending to your needs and leading a healthier life.
- Take Advantage of the Programs That Support Veterans:
Being the front-line defender of the country, you are entitled to receive many benefits through various policies and programs. However, to take full advantage of them, you should be well-informed about how they operate, the eligibility criteria, and the grants you will receive. From getting support for your business, high-quality healthcare services, and compensation for a service-associated disability or illness, these support policies will help you at every step.
Apart from the immediate dangers to your health, some hazards manifest long after you have retired from service. One such is the asbestos exposure that can lead to mesothelioma decades after encountering this life-threatening substance. It is especially of concern if you have served in the navy. If such an unusual situation arises, you can seek support from the Mesothelioma Veterans Center for treatment and financial compensation for asbestos-related illnesses even after retirement. Since you face nerve-wracking circumstances that challenge your mental sanctity and physical integrity, these supporting programs can be a life saver for you. These steps will come a long way in taking care of your overall well-being and ensuring that you lead a better life.
- Exercise Regularly:
Leaving your energy locked up in your body will cause it to drop until doing small chores becomes a momentous task for you. Exercise is a great way to let it flow through your veins. It boosts your mental and physical health at the same time! Exercise promotes the release of neurotransmitters in the brain that elevates your mood and energy levels. Considering your job requires a lot of physical activity, keeping your body active will be helpful to ward off exhaustion and lethargy. Being a veteran, you will be aware of a myriad of exercise techniques and tactics. Assess them and choose one that would best serve your needs at the moment.
- Maintain a Balanced Diet:
Living in a stressed environment and dealing with anxiety can often lead to unhealthy eating habits. You may feel trapped in a vicious cycle as unhealthy foods, in turn, aggravate the symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). So ensure that you stick to your balanced diet no matter how tempting it is to let go of it for a while.
While a balanced diet is a personalized plan, varying from person to person, work it out so that it fulfills your daily calorie intake. Start by minimizing the consumption of artificially sweetened products. Max out green vegetables and fresh fruits and maintain your distance from processed foods. Also, closely observe the individual needs of your body. If you have a nutrient deficiency, take supplements at your doctor’s advice. Some nutrients help suppress the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and PTSD, such as omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and various anti-oxidants. Enrich your diet with them if you face such mental illness. A healthy diet is also a key to a healthy gut microbiome, i.e., the microorganisms in our gut. They regulate digestion and psychological health. So map out a diet plan with your nutritionist, as a healthy diet today will guarantee a smooth journey through your old age.
- Prioritize Your Annual Checkups:
Why go to a doctor when there is no health problem nagging you? You can not be entirely sure of this until you have undergone a thorough physical exam. Some medical issues do not cause major symptoms, such as diabetes and hypertension, and can lead to a heart attack or stroke if undiagnosed. Annual checkups will give your doctor a record of your heath to compare and trace subtle changes that might be indicating a disease on its way. Annual checkups are also a perfect opportunity to discuss your concerns with your doctor, for which you will never make a separate appointment. Note down your questions before going for an appointment, revise your wellness plan, identify any risk factors you might be facing, and assess whether the treatment of existing conditions is working or not.
- Carry Out Nature Therapy:
A break in the natural environment is a good idea after being surrounded by high-tech equipment, weapons, and vehicles for so long. Spend your time in solitude and let the quietness of nature enrich your mind with optimism. This concept of ‘nature therapy’ or ‘ecotherapy’ is about reaping the healing powers of nature to help you psychologically. Various approaches to nature therapy are:
- Farming therapy. This involves working on the crops often with other people
- Animal therapy, which includes training animals
- Therapy through adventures, such as rafting or rock climbing
- Wilderness therapy for behavioral issues
- Forest bathing, i.e., a walk through a forest with all your five senses fully alert
These are some easy and cost-effective solutions to let off steam and untie your psychological knots. You will soon feel your system recharging with decreasing stress and anxiety symptoms. So instead of rolling away with the flow of your daily life, take out some time for yourself to enjoy the perks of nature and soothe your nerves.
Undergoing life-changing experiences makes one acknowledge the littlest of good things in life, and self-care is the best way to appreciate life. After pulling out so much from your body and mind while expecting nothing short of perfect, self-care is the least you owe yourselves. So instead of viewing it as pampering, consider self-care a means to decompress yourself from all the weight you have carried during your service. These small steps of self-love will considerably increase your overall well-being and change your outlook on life!