Veterans of the armed forces are exposed to many unique stresses between their time in an active warzone and on duty or being pushed to their physical and emotional limits through intense training. However, while transitioning to civilian life, many of these stresses and memories can persist. Self-care is a necessary practice for veterans, helping to not only process and quell continued feelings of anxiety, depression, anger, and more but also address the needs of those overcoming their use of drugs or alcohol.
The Need for Self-Care
Self-care is crucial for processing and overcoming the challenges that veterans face on a daily basis. Even after a veteran’s time in service has concluded, many of the stresses, challenges, traumas, and more can continue to impact their civilian life.
Self-care is a way of empowering veterans to take their care and health into their own hands. Likewise, practiced daily routines are necessary to overcome each veteran’s continued stresses. From helping those in recovery to better process stress to creating healthy outlets for navigating the continued effects of trauma, PTSD, survivor’s guilt, and more, establishing healthy, effective, and comprehensive self-care routines is necessary for a healthy and fulfilling civilian life.
Self-care itself carries an enigmatic definition and can be used to describe anything that allows a person to tend to their own health, either physically, emotionally, or spiritually. This open-ended definition allows those developing their own self-care routines to avoid feeling limited by specific practices and encourages each veteran to find their own methods of self-care. What works for one veteran may not necessarily work for others. Focusing on the development of unique self-care practices can empower each veteran to explore their own needs, goals, identity, and more while creating an effective self-care routine.
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Creating a Self-Care Routine
There are many options for those taking self-care into their own hands. Veterans have many resources available to address their needs and goals in civilian life. Finding the best personal combination of strategies can help each veteran better incorporate self-care practices into daily life while navigating drug and alcohol rehab in Hawaii.
Engage in Physical Activity
A person’s physical health and mental health are intimately linked. Having a routine that gets veterans moving can be incredibly beneficial. Getting the body moving not only helps to process feelings of stress but can also be used to improve physical health. Additionally, exercise can challenge feelings of stagnation or entrapment that may be physically and emotionally impacting a veteran’s health.
Regular engagement in a structured sports league can be a great way to get moving while meeting new people and tending to social needs. Others may simply enjoy a morning jog, walk on the beach, or having an at-home workout space. Keeping engagement in these physical outlets regular also ensures their efficacy. Incorporating self-care as an important part of a structured routine can also ensure that these opportunities are always available.
It is equally as important to take regular breaks from responsibilities or work. Each day in civilian life can be filled with its own unique stresses, from the challenges that veterans continue to carry to the stresses of workplace or personal relationships. It can feel difficult to find time to detach and take a break. However, taking breaks is also crucial for each veteran’s mental and emotional health.
Taking regular lunch breaks or a moment to watch a favorite TV show or listen to a podcast can all be great ways of detaching from daily stresses and engaging in something enjoyable. Having personal hobbies and outlets that are not come tied to these stresses and can distract and separate an individual from their stresses is essential for preventing the buildup of challenging emotions. Regular breaks also allow veterans to better manage their energy and keep to a regular routine, helping to plan ahead for how to tackle challenges and for when they can relax.
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Monitor a Healthy Diet
Eating healthy is incredibly important, whether an individual is overcoming addiction, mental health disorders, or navigating the stress of transitioning to civilian life. Healthy diets can provide an individual with the energy to enact other self-care strategies and overcome these stresses, all while helping veterans address physical needs and healing.
Using Community for Self-Care
Communities are instrumental for veterans to create their own best self-care routines. By connecting with peers who are overcoming their own challenges, veterans can see other self-care strategies in action and the benefits they can provide. Regardless of each veteran’s personal needs and goals in recovery, peers provide new strategies to empower others to overcome the feelings of stagnation that may be prevalent.
These communities connect veterans to peers while also celebrating the development of these necessary routines. Finding a community – whether one focused on the needs of veterans or a community that celebrates new interests and practices – can help veterans create a healthy and effective approach to their needs while transitioning to civilian life.
Self-care is the cornerstone of a healthy life, both for your physical and mental health. At Hawaii Island Recovery, we understand the need to incorporate regular self-care into other strategies to create an effective approach to a healthy life, especially while navigating trauma, addiction, and more. With a dedicated veteran community and professionals ready to address the needs and goals of veterans in recovery, we can personalize your time with us to create the most effective and individual treatment plan possible, all while incorporating proven therapeutic practices and physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. For more information on our effective treatment centers in Hawaii, call to speak to a caring, trained staff member today at (866) 390-5070.