Mental health is an important topic, especially for Veterans. Sleep problems, PTSD, Anxiety, and Depression are four of the top five injuries and health problems reported among the Veteran population. This is such a prevalent topic that the VA even offers Mental Health Services for qualified Veterans that includes everything from professional counseling to working with a peer mentor.
In addition to these amazing resources that are offered for the Veteran community, there are also small steps you can take on your own to help improve your mental health on a daily basis. Here are our top three ways to improve mental health for Veterans.
#1: Take care of your physical health
Exercise has been proven to help improve your mood and reduce signs of depression.
While you’re in the military, you’re required to maintain yourself at a certain fitness level. There were tests and workouts that you were expected to be able to complete. After you leave the military you don’t have to let your physical health decline just because you are no longer required to pass physical fitness tests.
If you sustained a service-related injury, you might not be able to work out in the same ways that you did before, but there are modifications and equipment available that can still allow you to work up a sweat.
Take a little time each day, even if it’s just five or ten minutes, to workout and get your body moving any way that you can. You’ll be amazed how much better you feel after a little workout.
#2: Meditation and Relaxation
Taking just a few minutes to relax your body and your mind can make a big impact on mental health.
There are tons of apps or even videos online that will help guide you through a meditation or relaxation exercise. This process is great for helping you reduce your blood pressure, slow your breathing, and relax muscle tension. If you have trouble sleeping due this is a great way to relax as you get ready for bed.
The great thing is meditation can be done in any position, so you don’t need to be able to sit on the floor to experience the benefits.
#3: Connect with others
You aren’t alone in your experiences and you aren’t the only one feeling lost or unsure.
Talking about your feelings or your anxiety is one of the best ways to help relieve some of the pressure that it might cause you to feel. You don’t always have to talk to a professional, you can talk to a friend or a fellow Veteran. Talk to someone who has gone through the same experiences as you and will understand how they can have a lasting impact on your mental health.
You can also use social media to help you connect with other Veterans through Facebook groups or other social platforms. This allows you to surround yourself with others who will have a first hand understanding of what you might be going through.
These might seem like simple steps, but don’t underestimate the positive effect that they can have on your health. It doesn’t matter if you use just one or all of these tips, what matters is that you find a way that works for you to improve or maintain your mental health. Some days are better than others, and on the hard days it’s important for Veterans to know that they have options.
Have a question about your Veteran benefits? You can email us today! If you are within one-year pre to post-military separation, you can enroll in our FREE program by setting up a call with one of our transition coaches.