Civil life isn’t for faint-hearted veterans.
Veterans transition into civilian life when they return home from deployment or upon retirement. Unlike those in active military service, civilians work where they live.
Many veterans face varied challenges when transitioning to civilian life. The ex-soldiers have experienced spiritual, physical and emotional battles during deployment. Some have witnessed combat war and death.
Therefore, some veterans need support services, therapy and mental health or addiction services to help them cope.
When transitioning from military service to being a civilian, veterans face challenges related to being in the military and making the right adjustments. Families should offer support to returning members, ensuring they transition smoothly to civilian life.
Importance of Transitioning to a Civilian Life
Transitions are essential in the life of a veteran for different reasons.
For instance, transitions help veterans to reconnect with their families and local communities back home. When deployed abroad, you feel disconnected and disconcerting about those who stay back home.
Moreover, veterans return home with physical and mental needs that require proper care. Although transitions are usually hard in varied situations, veterans often deal with challenging changes.
Early preparation can help veterans when they return home, making transitions easier for all involved parties. The essence of transitioning into civil life include:
- Reconnecting with family members – families often develop new routines when a family member is deployed abroad. They’re more likely to face challenges when reintegrating their family member back into prevailing routines.
When the family member is away in service, family members back home adapt and things change over time. Therefore, when they return, they need help adjusting to new changes. Everyone must reconnect and be on the same page regarding current and future happenings.
- Developing new communities – veterans return to communities that differ from what they left behind. Even families and friends change while a family member is deployed abroad.
The entire community also change during the same period, making it difficult for veterans to adjust to living among people who’re completely different. Connecting with the people becomes difficult because they’re no longer the same as those you knew before.
Sometimes, veterans move into new communities within the military and outside. Therefore, it becomes necessary to find ways to create or join a social community. Leisure activities and sports help find like-minded people.
- Re-entry into the workforce – veterans also need to find meaningful work after active service. Even disabled veterans can find part-time or volunteer work to do and become part of the nation’s workforce.
Veterans should know how to translate their military skills and duties into a resume when applying for work. A good resume outlines your training and experience, relating it to the job you’re applying for.
Veteran organizations, families and friends can connect you to relevant resources you can use to successful apply for work. Note that:
- Worry and fear often come with transitions
- Returning to work may encompass adjusting to a new position, learning new skills or making social changes
- Physical conditions or mental health issues should be considered.
- Access to basic necessities or needs – the military provides structure and basic amenities to active service members. However, there’s need to create a structure back home to ensure you can handle family, work and life stressors.
Activities Veterans Can Do to Easily Transition to Civilian Life
Early preparation is important for veterans to successfully transition to civilian life. Although active military members focus on missions, life after service is all about family, work and balancing things.
Active service members should begin doing the necessary in preparation for their transition to civilian life, several years earlier. Create a plan that includes activities, goals and timelines towards your transition.
Here’re a few interesting activities you can include in your to-do list for transitioning to civilian life.
- Find and explore new opportunities
Check out local internet resource portals, newspapers, and other media for new opportunities you can explore in your neighborhood, town or city. Find opportunities that relate to your passions and interests to ensure you’ll enjoy exploring them.
- Read books and journals
Find interesting books, magazines and journals to read. You won’t just find new opportunities to explore, but also learn new things about your local area. You’ll also learn about the most recent changes in your community and the world at large.
- Earn a certificate or degree
You may need to take up some classes to improve your existing skills or boost your resume to easily re-enter the workforce after service. Choose a certificate or degree in line with your interests and line of career. You may also decide to change your line of work.
- Join networking events
Find local events to network, meet new people and increase your social circle. Learn from other attendees at the event and create lasting relationships. You may even meet your potential employer at the events.
You can also get business ideas to start your own company. Consider selling specific kitchen equipment such as knives from one of the most popular brands in the market. Alternatively, consider grilling equipment for old fashion wood-fired cooking of meats and veggies.
- Volunteer at a local charity organization
Veterans can also volunteer at local non-profit organizations to boost their skills and gain experience. You’ll support the local cause while benefiting from working at the local organization.
- Begin a gardening project
Gardening is fulfilling and gives abundance harvest if done well. You can grow vegetables to prepare tasty meals in your kitchen.
However, you need some interest in gardening to grow your own produce. Although gardening can keep you busy, it can also earn you some money and improve your physical fitness level.
- Join a local veteran organization
Various organizations also help veterans to reintegrate into civilian life. Find one near you to join, make sure the services it offers aligns with your unique needs.