As a veteran, you’re well aware of what good health looks like. During service, your body must have been in excellent condition with the fitness level off the charts. You also blossom physically, mentally, and emotionally when you’re in good shape. However, once this routine is no longer a part of your life, it may impact you negatively.
Unfortunately, after leaving the military, you may have difficulty keeping your lifestyle in check. Diseases like arthritis, PTSD, and even cancers such as mesothelioma can begin to take refuge in your body. Consequently, you start feeling lethargically depressed and may let yourself go. This will further deteriorate your health and make you utterly dependent on others. As a veteran, you must value your independence, therefore don’t let your health slip from you. Here are some tips you can use to ensure you regain your strength again:
1. Demand compensation for mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer that will take a massive toll on your physical and mental well-being the more it spreads. As a military veteran, you will be highly susceptible to developing this cancer. This is because, until the 1980s, all ammunition and equipment contained asbestos, and you had no chance of escaping exposure.
If you served in the navy, The US government made all naval ships from asbestos-containing products. Therefore look into remedial measures by checking out mesothelioma navy benefits to compensate for the damages you sustained. These perks will connect you to doctors and nurses who will take care of your health as well as enough monetary funds to meet your needs. Your other option includes filing for a settlement and suing asbestos companies. The money you win from your settlement will help you invest in your treatment and get access to surgical options that were previously unaffordable. Treating the disease will help you regain the strength to focus on building your health again and improve the quality of your remaining life.
2. Focus on mental health
About 10% of American female veterans and 5% of males have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Serving in the military and going to war is not easy. You are putting more than your life on the line. As a veteran, the effects of your active duty can damage your mental health. You might be experiencing flashbacks, have trouble sleeping, and may even slip into depression with memories of the past.
Your PTSD may also stem from the sexual assault you may have faced. While it’s unfortunate, one in every sixteen women and one in every 143 men face sexual assault. The dread of serving in the military, coupled with the abuse you faced, can impact your health severely and push you towards self-harming and suicidal thoughts. The best way to build your composure again is by seeking therapy.
Since PTSD does not progress linearly, you should expect a therapist to work with you in several ways. You may have to go through cognitive behavioral therapy to restructure how you think and apply it into action. The therapist may also walk you through acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and interpersonal therapy, which will help you make peace with yourself and your actions.
A therapist will also work through the sexual abuse you experienced by helping you understand the circumstances and the power dynamics involved. In each of these methods, a therapist will talk to you, encourage you to explore your feelings, and teach you how to articulate your feelings. As your thoughts improve and you understand your trauma better, it will help you center your mental health again.
3. Have a primary care doctor
You may have injuries acting up after a while, such as old bullet wounds, infected scars, or even have trouble with your amputated limbs. Therefore it’s best to have a primary healthcare doctor as part of your healthcare plan. A doctor will walk you through your vitals and identify the source of your discomfort.
You may even learn if you have an underlying chronic condition that you did not know about. For instance, your joints may be acting up because of arthritis, and lifestyle adjustments coupled with medication may help you feel better. Your primary doctor will also inform you of the vaccinations you need to ensure your immune system stays strong. So visit a good doctor, get updates on your health and follow the prescribed route to feel better and minimize body aches.
4. Eat a proper diet
Your diet will need to change as you leave service. Your physical activity may not be as vigorous or extensive as you did in the military. Therefore you can no longer have a carbohydrate-rich diet anymore. A well-balanced diet takes into account your overall well-being and your activity level. If you don’t move much and stay home, you should stick to lean meals that are protein-rich and oil-free.
You should also drink smoothies that will give you the calories you need for the day if you don’t feel like having a meal. You should also go easy on the alcohol and try not reaching for the bottle often. Working on your mental health is not possible if you’re drunk or misusing substances. However, if you have an addiction problem, you may want to check into rehab instead of building on older habits.
5. Become more active again
You should rebuild your physical strength by exercising more. You don’t need to do high-intensity cardio to feel strong again. But, work on your stamina gradually. If you have injuries and feel your body aching, try aqua therapy and swimming to put pressure on painful points around your body.
You should also look into yoga to stretch and expand your muscles which will help realign your posture and improve circulation. You can also start by walking again before gradually picking up the pace and getting into jogging or brisk walking. However, it would help you get a trainer or an instructor to work with you.
Military service can leave a traumatic mark on you, so you should seek medical help without letting your physical and mental wounds sink deeper. You may also need to look into a primary healthcare doctor and get routine checkups to rebuild your lifestyle. Don’t forget to fix your diet and become physically active again to stamina once again.