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As you begin your exit out of the military, it’s easy to get carried away in the To-Dos of a transition. Any lifestyle or career change comes with work, but it also comes with the chance for a fresh start and reflection on one’s self. Here are three ways we encourage you to reconnect with yourself when transitioning out of active duty.

Mindfulness activities have been shown to make a positive impact on reintegration into civilian life. Most notably, meditation is being used as a tool to help prevent and decrease symptoms of PTSD in soldiers. According to numerous studies on the technique of transcendental meditation, regular meditative practice has far-reaching and long-lasting benefits; including restorative relief from anxiety, depression, ADHD, PTSD, and addiction. This article, co-authored by SAVI’s Adrianne Phillips, dives deeper into the scientific and anecdotal evidence that’s making transcendental meditation the treatment of choice for a growing number of suffering Veterans.

Take a Celebratory Vacation
Vacations have long been touted as a way to prevent worker burnout and increase overall quality of life. Research shows that taking a vacation in between major career changes is an ideal time to get away. This is why taking time off before you delve into the civilian life is an important part of reintegration. And if you need further convincing, here are a few reasons from wellness coach Elizabeth Scott:

  • A good vacation can lead to fewer stressful days for at least five weeks after your return.
  • Vacations help us to reconnect with ourselves, promoting self-discovery and creativity.
  • If you have a family, taking a trip with them (and without distractions) helps to strengthen bonds with loved ones.
  • Vacations can lead to increased quality of work when back on the job.

Serve Others
As a soldier, your job was to serve others by improving or protecting their lives. That’s why continuing your service to others is key to staving off those purposeless notions many soldiers feel post-military. In fact, a 2015 study by the Association for Psychological Science found that helping others can actually reduce the impact stress has on our emotional functioning. Since getting out of active duty has proven to be an emotional hardship for many Veterans, finding ways to combat negative feelings should be your focus when transitioning. Start by researching nonprofits in your area that align with a cause you’re passionate about. Or, reach out to friends and family and ask them how you can help make their lives easier. Being out of the military likely means you can see your loved ones more often. Take advantage of lost time by being there for them in ways you couldn’t in the past.

Going from active duty to Veteran status is a huge change. Your life was dedicated to your country and now it’s yours again. Set yourself up for success by taking your time and reflecting on what’s important to you. Contact SAVI to learn what we can do to support your transition.