Navigating life after retirement can be difficult for a navy officer and presents some unique challenges. It’s not easy to transition from structured military routines to a civilian lifestyle. Adapting to this lifestyle wisely requires careful planning and a special focus on your well-being.
Go through the tips mentioned in this blog to ensure a healthy, prosperous retirement journey. Learn how to avoid the common pitfalls of post-retirement life planning by taking good care of your health: Get regular health checkups
Go through the tips mentioned in this blog to ensure a healthy, prosperous retirement journey. Learn how to avoid the common pitfalls of post-retirement life planning by taking good care of your health:
- Get regular health checkups
Schedule regular medical checkups to monitor your health and address any potential issues early. As a US Navy veteran, you’re more vulnerable to certain diseases due to the nature of your job. For instance, a rare form of cancer called mesothelioma is more common among veterans. Data shows that 33% of mesothelioma cases in the military occur to personnel who’ve spent time on navy ships and shipyards; that’s because asbestos was commonly used in these vessels in the 20th century.
Early detection of mesothelioma can prolong your lifespan and improve your quality of life. VA benefits are also available for mesothelioma navy veterans who were exposed to asbestos while they served. These VA benefits will help you afford treatment for mesothelioma.
- Focus on your mental health
Make your mental health a priority; it’s directly linked to your physical well-being. Unfortunately, 41% of veterans struggle with mental health problems and need professional intervention. Many retired Navy officers have trouble adjusting to a civilian lifestyle because of mental health issues. Hence, focusing on your mental health can help you embrace life after retiring from active duty.
- Keep yourself physically active
A life beyond uniform shouldn’t be just about sitting idly in your room all day. You must be more active and engage in physical activities to boost your well-being. Excessive physical inactivity makes you addicted to a sedentary lifestyle, affecting your overall health.
Instead, you should go out more often and pursue active hobbies. For instance, you can learn how to swim, take dance lessons, or cycle around town to enjoy some time in nature.
- Make some dietary changes
It’s a no-brainer that making the right dietary choices greatly influences your overall well-being. Navy veterans should avoid consuming pre-processed, high-calorie foods. Only eat nutrition-rich meals and add more fruits/vegetables to your palate. A well-balanced diet is the key to staying healthy while you grow older. Also, limit alcohol consumption and drink fewer cups of coffee.
Smoking and drinking are common coping mechanisms for veterans dealing with stress, anxiety, PTSD, or other undiagnosed mental health conditions. See a professional if you’re having trouble getting rid of these nasty habits. Rehab is a great option to overcome an addiction.
- Plan your finances properly
Ensure your retirement finances are well-managed by seeking professional advice and budgeting. Many veterans struggle with finances after retiring; some have trouble finding a job, while others find themselves incapable of keeping civilian employment.
Financial worries lead to stress and anxiety. Manage your finances properly for retirement by hiring a financial advisor who can help you devise a savings and retirement plan.
- Go to your support network
Surround yourself with the people you love and care about to improve your quality of life. Refrain from isolation by socializing with your family, friends, and neighbors. Isolation makes you more vulnerable to depression and may harm your cognitive abilities. However, socializing with your loved ones makes you happier, healthier, and live longer, so connect with your support network.
You can foster healthy connections by rekindling old friendships and developing new ones. Make new connections by volunteering and dedicating some time to social work.
- Seek professional assistance
Never hesitate to seek professional mental health assistance when needed. Therapy, counseling, and other forms of professional intervention are necessary to promote wellness in veterans and help them face their demons. Seeing a shrink can drastically improve your self-confidence and mental stability.
The statistics related to veterans and PTSD are astounding. Data shows that 7% of veterans will have PTSD; women and post-9/11 veterans are even more vulnerable to it. Seeing a therapist will help you regulate your PTSD, overcome self-harm thoughts, and focus more on your transition.
- Stay in touch with your navy pals
Stay in touch with your friends in the Navy and other retired officers to combat isolation, keep your mental health intact, and get a sense of continuity in your sense. Data shows that almost 57% of veterans feel a heightened sense of isolation due to losing a sense of camaraderie and belonging. But there’s no reason why you can’t share the same bond of friendship with other retired officers.
Engaging in regular meetups and conversations with your friends from the US Navy can also be a source of information. Here are some beneficial online communities where you can converse with navy guys:
- r/navy: A go-to site to meet active-duty and retired Navy men/women
- r/newtothenavy: Guide newcomers to the Navy with your precious experience
- r/militaryfinance: Have your queries regarding financial benefits for veterans answered here
- Travel and explore the world
Use retirement to broaden your horizons, explore different countries, and enrich yourself with a lot of new cultural experiences. Traveling and sightseeing will combine the benefits of engaging in different physical activities with the rewards of pursuing new hobbies. Along with keeping your mind sharp with aging, traveling also keeps you on your feet most of the time.
You meet new people, get exposed to new languages, and rekindle that sense of adventure you were accustomed to back in the US Navy. It’s a fair way to alleviate stress, boost cognitive function, and combat loneliness. So, make world exploration a part of your post-military lifestyle routine.
If you’ve just retired as a US Navy officer and wish to improve your well-being, follow the guidelines mentioned above. You can only enjoy life as a civilian today by taking good care of your mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Stay physically active, exercise regularly, eat a nutrition-rich diet, and stay in touch with fellow retirees. Visit your doctor for regular wellness checkups and detect a disease in its onset. That’s how you can stay on top of your health and improve your quality of life.