Those that serve our country through military service often have difficulties re-integrating into civilian life after separating from the military. Many have experienced combat and warfare firsthand or trained for it, which can impact soldiers in negative ways down the road.
Family members, friends, supportive employers, and others can help veterans reintegrate into their communities and civilian lives when they finally come home.
Give Them Space and Time to Process
Soldiers that return home after a military deployment often have a lot of difficulties once they are away from the community living environment and disciplined structure of daily military life. It is important for those at home to give them enough space and time to process their thoughts and feelings. Pacific Standard explains that more and more the military is implementing resiliency tools and training like yoga and meditation while in active service for mental fortitude, so helping veterans reconnect with those activities could be helpful. It can be hard for returning soldiers to do this if they are constantly feeling like they need to keep themselves distanced from their emotions or if they feel pressure to not let anyone down.
Encourage Activities That Promote Well being
Families can help their returned military veterans find enjoyable activities at home that promote health and well-being and provide natural-based stress reduction. The Institute of Veterans and Military Families recommends to help veterans reconnect with their communities and the things in their local area. Many soldiers have become so conditioned to following orders that it can be hard for them to develop positive hobbies and interests on their own. Help your loved one maintain good nutrition, get proper rest and avoid the pitfalls of too much alcohol consumption or over-reliance on addictive drugs to combat anxiety, pain, or depression.
Counseling and Recovery
Many soldiers return home from military life with serious injuries. A high percentage of soldiers also return with harder to see forms of injuries and health conditions like Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and addiction problems. It is essential for these individuals to get the proper counseling and recovery assistance; up to and including time spent at a reputable drug rehab program if addiction is present. The Recovery Village explains that in the early 2000s, the Army reported that nearly half of the non-combat deaths they investigated were drug-related. Group talk with other returnee's or one on one sessions with a unit Chaplin, or unit members are also helpful.
The Power of Nature for Inner Healing
Encourage returning service members to spend time outdoors for increased exercise, fresh air and fun adventures. The Nature Conservancy explains that spending time in nature can provide natural pain relief and lead to improved moods via the endorphin release that naturally occurs. Finding quiet and beautiful spots can promote relaxation and get you in-tune with nature's healing effects. It can also encourage a feeling of connection with the world and a resolution of repressed inner emotions and thoughts.
Simplify Their Life
Small things can really help to promote healing and create a more positive environment for re-integration. Avoid big box stores and malls, it is easy to be over stimulated by all the choices and the buzz of activity in large stores. Many military veterans return to a stockpile of belongings that they haven't used or needed in years. You can help them simplify their life by hiring a reliable junk removal service operated by veterans who understand.
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