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How Veterans Can Practice Self-Care and Live a Happy Life

While veterans are true American heroes, they don’t always think of themselves that way. Most are glad that they served, but they often see many terrible things during their years of service and they can often bring that stress back to their lives once their tour has ended. In order to live a happy, satisfied life, veterans need to practice self-care. Here at the American Legion Department of Connecticut, we try to do everything we can to help those who served our country, so we have some tips on how to care for yourself post-service.

Get Enough Sleep

If you feel stressed throughout the day then you need to put your mind at ease, and the best way to do that is to get enough sleep at night. Doctors recommend a minimum of seven hours of sleep at night because doing so will allow you to wake up well-rested and ready to take on a new day. The American Psychological Association explains that sleep helps us to fight stress because it helps to calm and restore the body while also regulating our mood and sharpening our judgment.

After some of their military experiences, it can be difficult for veterans to fall asleep. If you have issues, then you may have to adjust your schedule. Go to sleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning, even on weekends. Avoid looking at your cell phone or other screens as you lay in bed because the blue light they emit can keep you awake. Reading before bed is a great way to doze off.

A Peaceful Home Environment

Once you wake up, you can continue to feel stress-free by creating a healthy and peaceful home environment. In many cases, a messy and cluttered house can cause anxiety because we feel like we don’t have control of our surroundings. For many veterans, minimization may be key but don’t feel like you need to clean your entire house in one day. Instead, you can put an hour aside every day to fill a box with stuff you no longer need, and over time, you will have a clean house that is good for your body and mind.

In addition to helping our mental health, a clean and organized house also makes life easier overall because when we can find what we need right away, we save time and we can move on to more productive tasks.

You also add to the comfort and vibrancy of your living space by sprucing up a few walls. Room colors can have a surprising influence on mood. You can always put on a new splash of paint with soothing colors like blues or soft greens, or if painting isn’t your thing, you can try this peel & stick wallpaper. This type of wallpaper makes application super easy and non-messy, and because it’s removable you can either reposition it or replace it and use in another room. You also have plenty of colors, designs and textures to choose from.

Connect With Others

Sometimes the best way to deal with hard memories and anxiety is to talk to someone who will understand, and this is especially important for veterans. The best way to go is to search out veteran-specific support groups like the American Legion Department of Connecticut where you can talk to people that are going through the same thing and can offer advice. If you feel that talking about your issues in an informal setting is not providing the help that you need, then it may be time to get professional help by talking to a therapist or other mental health expert who can give you great advice and provide additional resources.

Exercise Is Key

Another great way to fight stress and stay in shape is to exercise every morning for at least 30 minutes. Exercising as soon as you wake up is a great way to infuse your body with natural energy and you will get your mind right so you will be ready to take on a new day. Exercise can include cardio, weight lifting, or a mix of the two. Just try to stay active for that full half-hour. In addition to the physical benefits, Mayo Clinic points out that exercise also helps us to fight stress by boosting our brain’s production of endorphins which are the feel-good neurotransmitters that help to keep us in a positive mood.

While it may not seem like your cup of tea, other forms of exercise including yoga can also be a great way to relax and put your mind at ease. Meditation can help as well.

In the end, veterans deserve the chance to relax and enjoy their lives, and these self-care tips can help them live every day to the fullest.