Even though the military may be a true calling for many brave, young men and women, it is nothing but challenging. Not everyone is cut out for the vigorous and demanding training that is required for the military. You may have passed all the hurdles and deployed for your military service but that is not the end of challenges.
After you have served whether it is one tour or even multiple tours as many Soldiers, Marines, Navy, and Air Force members are now seeing, the returning back home into a normal life, after having been through the adversities of war is difficult. We as veterans are taught to improvise, to adapt and to overcome. However, the ability to transition back to civilian life can be demanding.
Once receiving specialized training, and being deployed for service for a long time period, how can one reintegrate back into a ‘normal’ life like they never left even though the training that service men and women receive is anything but normal?
A large proportion (44%) of veterans, struggle with re-adjusting themselves into a normal life after coming back home from deployment. Since members of the military are particularly trained to be prepared for anything, one may ask oneself, why are they not prepared for a simple monotonous life back home?
Well, we aren’t trained to prepare for literally anything. The military looks after the basic needs of the soldiers which include their housing, food, medical care, dental care, and a paycheck every month. They are trained for the technicalities of war but not for the transition back to a normal and mundane life back home. This is why our service men and women may find themselves experiencing a bit of a cultural shock as they are reintroduced to a civilian lifestyle. The change from putting your life on the line, not knowing if you are going to make it another day, to picking your kids from school is nothing short of life-changing. A change of this magnitude requires time.
The following tips are can significantly ease your re-entry back to a normal life and have helped thousands of other service men and women come back home too.
1. Stay in touch with your fellow veterans
Having other veterans in your circle and talking to them from time to time is great therapy. You don’t have to engage in a conversation with them about the dangers of war the two of you experienced or share traumatizing events, just having an acquaintance who has been in your shoes to chat with can be a great sign of comfort.
You can talk about anything, the good things that life has to offer and the challenges you have been facing since you returned home. Talking to another veteran about post-deployment difficulties can help you deal with them a lot better because chances are they have gone through the same thing.
Mutual support is key to transitioning back to a normal life. Those who know the warrior’s life will always lend a helpful ear to your trials and tribulations.
2. Be proud and stand strong
You should always wear your military service like a badge of honor because most Americans are extremely proud of you too. If you keep your military service a secret, your employers will never know what you are capable of and how your potential can be of great value to him/her. You don’t need to cover your military service to appear like a normal civilian.
As a member of the military, it is also your responsibility to help the civilians understand and familiarize themselves with the military and what it is really about. It is your job to provide a point of reference to the people so employers are more accustomed to members of the military instead of feeling intimidated when other servicemen or women apply for work within their company. Stay committed to your goal of living the normal life once again but don’t let go of your pride of service.
3. Let your friends and family members know how you would like to celebrate
Shortly before veterans return home, they let their relatives and close friends know that they are coming but miss out on telling them how exactly they would like to celebrate. If you want the quiet time back home, don’t be afraid to voice out that you don’t prefer a large gathering. How your return home is celebrated is up to you, so don’t miss out the opportunity to make your welcome home celebration preferable and pleasurable.
Make sure you inform your family with details of your travel itinerary so they are prepared if your flight is delayed or you leave earlier than you were supposed to. Remember that family and even friends do not truly understand what you have gone through and therefore the mental toughness of trying to get on the same page can be overwhelming.
4. Do not overbook yourself
When you are about to depart for home, whether you realize it or not, the last thing you want to do is to overbook your schedule starting the day you land home. It is understandable that you have been away for a long time and you have to catch up with people that may be very important to you but what’s more important is to allow yourself enough time to relax.
You will probably be caught by the strange shock of returning home to a normal life after all that you have been through. Make sure you ease yourself into the routine at home instead of cannonballing into it right off the bat. If things don’t feel comfortable when you get home, you need to give yourself time.
5. Be patient
You may be one of the 44% veterans who come back home to find the normal life anything but regular. Even though you will reunite with your own family and friends, things will feel out of sync. Coming home after a deployment is not only a major adjustment for you, but it is also a major adjustment for all those around you.
If you have kids, there might be times where things may seem strange or have emotional outbursts towards you. You need to be prepared for that. All you can do is keep your communication with loved ones as clear as possible and wait until things fall back into place.
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