Our heroic soldiers typically find the transition from combat to civilian life quite challenging. This drastic lifestyle and daily changes can make the strongest soldier feel uncomfortable and behave oddly. Here are a couple of tips to help a returning soldier transition to civilian life comfortably.
Utilize Available Resources
While soldiers may not receive all the help they deserve after coming back from battle, there are still plenty of resources to take advantage of. Even if not severely wounded, talk to someone to see if you meet the requirements for aide. You could qualify for housing or health benefits. You can also find a Transition Assistance Program (TAP) workshop. These simple three-day workshops can be utilized by soldiers who have been out of service for 180 days or less. They emphasize career services and will help you build a resume and search for jobs. In the initial stages, you might be offered a full program to help with returning to base, getting temporary military housing, and re-learning basic daily tasks. Don’t be shy to take advantage of the support offered right after arrival.
Transitioning to civilian life is hard enough as it is, and it’s very difficult to do if you’re going through it alone. Surround yourself with family and friends who love you and can help you through your transition. Unfortunately, family and friends may not be able to understand exactly what you went through. Look for support groups for other soldiers who are in similar situations. These groups may be able to offer support and understand certain things that your friends and family simply can’t. You may also meet new friends in the process. These friends could be valuable in your job search and future civilian life.
Drop Military Habits
While transitioning to civilian life, you may still find yourself stuck with certain habits. Do your best to drop unnecessary or unhelpful military habits. Stop using military language that the people in your home and family don’t use. It may take a while to drop but correct yourself when you use military time or jargon whenever possible.
Care for Your Mental Health
Unfortunately, many people give mental illness a negative stigma. You do not need to be ashamed about your difficulties transitioning or any mental problems you may be facing. Many soldiers experience PTSD, and this disease can actually ruin relationships and work opportunities. Admit any problems you experience and find help.
Soldiers deserve the utmost respect for their service, and it’s important that they get the best care after serving our country. Sometimes, soldiers need to take it upon themselves to get that care. Use your best judgment and find someone who will listen. Time is a great healer, and through it, you’ll be able to navigate both worlds.