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How to Adjust to Civilian Life

Civilian Life


Tellakos | A huge 49% of veterans struggle to adjust to civilian life after serving in the military, according to the Pew Research Center. Emotional trauma and the stress of losing close friends or other civilians is a heavy weight to carry. After years within an environment that most of us can’t even begin to imagine, veterans often need a holistic help adjusting back to every day, civilian life. 

With this in mind, we’re sharing several tips to help veterans adjust, or to guide families through the difficult adjustment period. 

Post-military employment:

While there is no rush to dive back into the working world, a lot of veterans already have a job lined up for when they leave, or at least are on the lookout. Having a routine in place and heading to work each day can help the adjustment go a little smoother. 

Veteran entrepreneurs may find the flexibility and freedom of being self-employed a better fit. Perhaps during service, you had an idea for a small business that you can now pursue. There are several funding options available to veterans looking to start their own business, which can be found at

Join a veteran community:

Military and civilian life are on two completely different sides of the spectrum. While family and friends can offer support, they may not have all the answers, or the capacity to understand entirely what you’re going through or struggling with. There are veteran community groups just about everywhere, but if you can’t find one that suits you, there’s always the option to start your own. 

Community groups aren’t just for veterans themselves, either. Families and spouses can benefit from meeting others in similar situations.

Reconnecting with family:

Depending how long it’s been since you were last home for a long period of time, it can be difficult to settle back into the domesticated setting. The family may have created new habits or traditions, all of which you have to ease back into. The important thing to remember is that these things take time, and with the right people around you, there will be no rush to take too much on to start with.

Communicating openly:

Unlike during service, communication can be much more open when back home. While not everyone will be able to help or understand, those around you will likely be more than happy to sit, listen and support you in any way they can. It can be incredibly difficult to open up, and the process of letting people in again needs to be taken at your own pace. Eventually, talking things through with a friend or partner will become easier. However, if you’re really struggling, counsellors specializing in veterans or PTS may be able to help. 

As mentioned above, adjusting to civilian life is a difficult process, and one that should only be taken at a pace you’re comfortable with. By creating a reliable support system of family, friends and other veterans, the adjustment can be slightly less daunting and a little easier to manage. 

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