After returning from military deployment, it’s natural to experience a period of readjustment to life at home. This time can be difficult, but there are strategies that can make the transition easier and help you maintain mental wellness. Here are some tips to help navigate the return from deployment.
Be patient with yourself
Don’t put pressure on yourself to seamlessly reenter your old routine. Things may have changed while you were gone, and it’s normal to feel frustrated or even out of place after returning home. Be sure to communicate your feelings to loved ones. These feelings are valid, and you should adjust to life at home at a pace that is comfortable for you.
Use your support system
Connecting with others is a key part of maintaining mental health. Try to talk to people you trust about how you’re feeling and adjusting to being home. Although you may feel uncomfortable opening up at first, bottling up your emotions will only cause you harm. If you feel your loved ones are unable to support you, there are other resources available. Look for counselors or veterans support groups to find individuals who can relate to your experiences.
If you’re not sure how to verbalize what you’re feeling or you aren’t ready to open up, it’s still important to find a way to express yourself. Try writing your feelings down in a journal. Incorporating an outlet for your emotions into your routine can have a positive effect on your mental health and help you process your feelings in a healthy way.
Take care of your body
Make sure you are prioritizing your health. Incorporating regular exercise into your self-care routine can improve your mood and help you get more restful sleep. It’s also important to be mindful of what you put in your body. Try to eat a balanced diet, as junk food can lead to sluggishness. Limit or cut out alcohol as it may increase symptoms of anxiety and depression. Relying on alcohol to cope with your feelings can also lead to dependency.
Make time for you
After returning home from deployment, it’s natural to want to see all of the loved ones you’ve missed, but make sure you are still making time for yourself. Try not to overextend yourself too soon and make a conscious effort to check in with yourself regularly. It’s ok to ease back into your routines. Don’t feel pressure to resume interactions and life as if no time has passed. Making sure you have time to rest is a crucial part of self-care.
If you are struggling to adjust to life after deployment, you don’t have to go through it alone. Oceans Healthcare is proud to offer specialized behavioral health programming to veteran and active-duty service members. Learn more about our STAR (Support Through Active Recovery) program today.