May 30, 2017, by Eileen O’Shanassy – The period of time immediately following a tour of duty can be very challenging for returning veterans. After living life on a rigid military basis, an individual has to plan out their own existence very carefully. In addition to returning to the workforce, learning new hobbies after your tour is an excellent way to reorient oneself to civilian life.
The best hobbies for returning veterans usually promote a sense of peace and relaxation. Therapists recommend forms of photography, art, or music that serve as a calming influence to participants. Especially after a long-term deployment, these hobbies work to integrate an individual further into their family and amongst their peers. Here are a few hobbies to consider after your tour.
Reading and Writing
Books have always been a wonderful way to place oneself in another place or time. Many returning veterans seek solace in fantasy series or other works of fiction. Recording one’s thoughts and feelings in a journal is also extremely helpful. If you tend toward literature and fiction, reading and writing can be a good therapy option.
Keeping fit is one goal everyone should have on their to-do list. However, when it comes to returning veterans, continuing to remain both physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy should not be forgotten and you need to find that balance. Slower forms of exercise such as Hatha Yoga and Tai Chi will not only keep a person limber well into old age but offer a form of meditative therapy as you practice. Rigorous training can also be helpful to get your mind off things and keep you focused, but be sure to balance this practice with some meditation, relaxation, and rest.
Automobiles and Motorcycles
Returning to a former hobby is another way to bring back pleasant experiences and memories from the past. This may mean resuming a love of getting behind the engine of cars and motorcycles. Exploring this pastime could be as simple as taking a course in auto repair, while others may already have a beloved motorcycle they just can’t wait to take on the open road. Be sure to take those first rides cautiously, as insurance rates are high.
It’s been said that dog is man’s best friend, and this connection can be even more beneficial for returning veterans. While dogs are routinely used for therapy, a variety of domestic animals including cats and birds regularly provide solace to veterans with PTSD. If you will be living alone for the first few months you get back, see if getting a pet can help make your transition a little more enjoyable.
Horseback riding has been found to be especially helpful for returning veterans. While riding a horse along a country trail, the combination of animal and nature is quite soothing. For beginners, just taking the time to lovingly groom an animal makes pet therapy a hobby that brings a lot of real joy.
Coming back from a tour of duty is always an adjustment, and knowing some ways to make the transition better and more manageable can really help facilitate a smooth switch.
Author Bio: Eileen O’Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy.