Transition: Balancing Life After The Military
In the military it is a challenge to create a work-life balance. In the corporate world, a work-life balance is encouraged. Sometimes it is difficult to remember that our lives are generally not at risk (unless you are employed in a dangerous career field), ) after you leave your military life. While during your military life you were on call 24/7, this is not always the case in the corporate world. It is hard to adjust and figure out how to create a balance. The five pillars of resilience or wellness you may have learned through your service can provide you a great foundation. The pillars of resilience include physical, emotional, social, family and spiritual.
Take care of yourself physically. Just because you are no longer in the military does not mean you should indulge in junk food and stop exercising. You may change your routine and indulge a bit more, but your physical well-being will suffer if you stop taking care of yourself. See if your workplace has benefits for a local fitness center. Some even have fitness centers on site you can take advantage of.
Not taking care of your physical self might also affect your emotional well-being. Leaving the military for the civilian world is a big adjustment. Be sure you take care of yourself emotionally. This means reaching out and talking to others when you are struggling, perhaps your spouse or a trusted friend. Do not hesitate to reach out to the Vet Centers for support. Acknowledge your challenges and face them, but not alone. With the military you had multiple resources at your disposal for emotional care and assistance, similarly in the civilian world many employers have Employee Assistance Programs that provide this type of support as well. Do not hesitate to reach out, the adjustment challenge is real.
Often, when we leave the military we move, and we are not always near a military community. It is important that you connect to others in the workplace and outside of it. Perhaps request a mentor who might help you navigate the corporate world. Some companies have veteran groups who meet to assist each other, join these groups and participate. Connect to others through veterans groups, work activities, or even community organizations.
Sometimes the military life prevents family time. Now is a great time to connect to your family and spend time together. Plan activities and find ways to reach out. This includes your spouse and children, as well as your parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles. Your family has a vested interest in your well-being and loves you, so take time to connect with them. Discover a new relationship, especially if you have moved to be closer to them.
This is the most neglected aspect of well-being for many. It is equally important to have a spiritual balance in your life. This is not just about attending services for your religion, although that can be part of it. It might include yoga, meditation, spiritual reading or prayer. It may be going for a hike and connecting to nature. Make some time for your spiritual well being.
Civilian and corporate life is very different than military life. It is not meant to consume you, but it is easy to continue that 24/7 mentality that you may have had in the military. It is important to find a balance between the two, and take care of your overall well-being. So step back and take some time to consider how you will create your unique work-life balance.