Transitioning to Civilian Life After the Military

Many servicemen and women struggle to adjust to civilian life after being in the military. Regardless of the branch in which they served, reentering the civilian world is a major transition to say the least. Servicemen and women become accustomed to the you-watch-my-back-and-I-watch-yours mantra of the military, which isn’t there in the civilian world. But there are ways to smooth this transition.

Be Patient and Don’t Rush it

You can’t expect yourself to automatically fall back into a civilian lifestyle immediately after returning from service. Seeing and experiencing combat first hand leaves a lasting impression on a soldier’s subconscious, affecting him or her throughout their life. And even if you didn’t experience combat, you’ll continue to feel the effects of service long after you come home. This is why it’s important that you remain patient and give yourself time to adjust. Time heals everything, making your transition easier and healthier.

Connect with Friends and Family

Servicemen and women who return home from duty should reconnect with their family and friends. When you are hundreds or even thousands of miles away on deployment, it’s easy to allow these relationships to slip by. But returning back to the civilian world gives you the opportunity to reestablish relationships with family and friends. They’ll offer emotional support and motivation, which can prove invaluable in transitioning back to the civilian lifestyle.

Talk About it

Many servicemen and women refrain from sharing their memories and experiences of what happened while they were on deployment, fearing it will force them to relive the horrors of war. But experts agree that it’s best to talk about these traumatic experiences so you can get them off your shoulders. You don’t have to share your stories with everyone you meet, but consider talking about it with your spouse, parents, or a close friend. Opening up to others about your experiences will offer some peace and relaxation, as you aren’t forced to carry the burden alone.

Stay Social

I could you say this goes hand-in-hand with connecting with friends and family. Servicemen and women should stay social after returning from deployment, surrounding themselves with other people. It’s not uncommon for servicemembers to isolate themselves after returning from deployment, resulting in further stress and anxiety. Staying social, however, prevents this from happening while encouraging a healthy, seamless transition back into civilian life. There are even support groups set up throughout the country designed specifically for servicemembers returning home from duty.