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When a military family member returns home from a deployment cycle, it is understandable for everyone to be both anxious and excited. However, what family members may not realize is that when service members reintegrate into society after deployment, the soldier may be dealing with a lot more negative emotions that the family will not understand. Post traumatic stress is a very real disorder that many returning service members suffer from. Whether it’s their mental health they are struggling with or just normal adjustments back into civilian life, a healthy transition is the main goal for soldiers long term.
Be patient with yourself.
If you’re a service member who’s trying to reintegrate into society after deployment, the main thing you need to remember is to be patient with yourself. Whether you’ve spent six months or over a year on your deployment cycle, coming home is going to be difficult for you. You weren’t just away on vacation. You were in an active war zone, completely separated from civilian life and your family members. It’s understandable that you’re going to need time to adjust. Don’t expect so much out of yourself right away. Be patient and let yourself feel whatever it is that your body and mind tells you to feel.
Go to counseling if needed.
If you’re trying to reintegrate into society after deployment and you feel that your emotions may be getting the best of you, it may be time to go talk to a counselor. Your family members aren’t going to be able to understand your mental health condition the way a licensed counselor will. Also, it sometimes helps to talk to someone who is separated from your daily life. You can confide in this person and let out all of your baggage without feeling like a burden. You never know how much a counselor could help with your post traumatic stress until you try it.
Limit alcohol use.
It’s crucial that you limit your alcohol use if you’re a returning service member, especially if you’re dealing with any sort of mental health issues during the transition into civilian life. During deployment, you were unable to drink, so your tolerance will be much less than it was before you deployed. Also, your drinking habits may have changed, and you may be wanting to use alcohol as a numbing device. This can lead to alcoholism very quickly, and this is a problem seen in many veterans. Don’t fall into this trap.
Watch your spending.
Service members who are trying to reintegrate into society after deployment usually have a lot of money in their bank account. Just because you come back with a huge lump sum of money doesn’t mean you need to spend it all right away. Be smart about your spending when you come home, especially if you plan on getting out of the military soon. The Department of Defense may not always be there to offer you a paycheck, and many veterans end up in bad situations with no money to fall on because they aren’t smart with their spending. Learn how to not go broke when you return from deployment in order to avoid this harsh reality.
Stay busy but don’t overbook.
When coming home from deployment, there needs to be a balance between staying busy and giving yourself time to transition and heal from your deployment cycle. To successfully reintegrate into society after deployment, you’ll need to give yourself a few weeks to adjust and then get back to life again. Start socializing with friends, look into the best careers for veterans in 2018 and start looking into potential career shifts, or find some hobbies to envelope your time with. If you stay sedentary for too long, you’ll become depressed.
Know that it’ll be hard on everyone.
While deployment cycles and returning home will be hard on you as a service member, it’s important to remember that it will be hard on your family members as well. They have been patiently waiting this whole time for you to come home, and now, they must be patient while they wait for you to adjust to civilian life and deal with your emotions. Deployment isn’t easy on anyone, so take others’ feelings into consideration.
Don’t isolate yourself.
Whatever you do, when you reintegrate into society after deployment, make sure not to isolate yourself. Isolation will only make your mental health worse. It will cause depression and loneliness. The support of others can work wonders in improving post traumatic stress and getting you through any hard times you may face. Don’t push people away because you are suffering; and if the thought of people is too taxing, remember the ample reasons troops should have pets and consider saving a furry friend.
Keep a fitness routine.
On deployment, it’s essential that you stay physically fit. One way to reintegrate into society after deployment and keep some of your sanity is to keep your fitness routine going strong. Exercise is a great way to boost endorphins and feel grounded. By keeping a fitness routine in place, you’ll have something each day to look forward to.
Keep a good diet and sleep schedule.
Going along with your fitness routine, staying devoted to a proper diet and sleep schedule will also help you successfully reintegrate into society after deployment. Make sure you’re getting at least eight hours of sleep each night, and you aren’t binging on junk food every day. Also, make sure that you’re eating enough. If you have self-discipline in your mind and body, you will live a healthier life over all, and your transition will become much easier.
Know that it will get easier with time.
It’s important to remember when you’re trying to reintegrate into society after deployment that ultimately, the transition takes time. Every service member is different, and whether your transition is harder or easier, faster or slower, or remains stagnant for a while, just remember that time heals all. You will begin to feel better as the days go by, and though you may never be the same person you were before this deployment, these experiences have shaped you into someone new.