Life After The Forces - How To Manage Your Emotions

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Life After The Forces - How To Manage Your Emotions


Regardless of length of service, everyone leaves the Army at some point. This can be a challenging time and involve a period of adjustment which can trigger a number of emotions from exhilaration to pain and anxiety.

Ex-Military Careers offers expertise and trust to guide you through your transition and resettlement period. Through our learning partners, we can provide courses targeted at ex-military retraining. We can also offer advice and support on general life after the forces and specific topics such as housing and welfare.

Some veterans will leave the Military happy and their transition to civilian life will be completed without any challenges. However, others in the Armed Forces may feel that their transition to civilian life is unwelcome, making adjusting to home, family and work life more difficult.

Transitioning to civilian life can bring uncertainty and anxiety but with our support and advice we can assist you and your family to cope with your transition journey.

Acknowledging the 3 core stages of change; Stage 1: Inevitability of Change, Stage 2: Breaking with Old Life, Stage 3: Building a New Community can bring a greater level of understanding on how to manage your emotions providing reassurance when you feel ‘lost’.


Stage 1: Inevitability of Change


During this stage it’s normal for ex-military veterans to feel as if they lost their identity and status since leaving the force in which they have been physically and emotionally committed to. Embracing transition early may reduce this feeling loss and assist the process of adjustment resulting in a new motivation and a sense of gratification.

Chief Engagement Director and Veteran, Joel Forrestor, said: “When service personnel sign off to leave the forces, nothing can prepare them for their first day, waking up as a civilian. You have spent several years with a clear personnel identity as a forces member, which is something you and your loved ones are always proud of, and you suddenly feel this is all gone. I deployed to Iraq in 2006 and Afghanistan 2008. In October 2008 I returned from operations after 7 months and went straight into POTL (Post Operational Tour Leave), I then had 2 weeks before my leave date. I served in The Parachute Regiment so had a highly recognised label attached to my name as a ‘Paratrooper’.”

“My first day in the civilian world was a strange sense of loss and mourning. I felt my family and friends were less proud of me and in some ways, I felt my life had less purpose – but I soon realised I just had to learn who the new Joel was going to be and take ownership for driving a successful future aligned to my life goals and aspirations. As soon as I switched into this mind set, my path became clear.”


Stage 2: Breaking with Old Life


There will be a period of the whole family adjusting to new routines and new ways of doing things. You may be at home a lot more than previously experienced and while this may be welcomed by family and friends, it could also present a challenge to the family routine which might cause frustration. A way of dealing with this period of adjustment is honest discussion and compromise.

Family relationships are vital during times so maintaining routines and family rituals/traditions can help in reducing stress levels as well as, ease the pathway to civilian life and reduce anxiety and emotional turmoil.

What’s more, developing a transition plan, which can be reviewed or adjusted throughout your resettlement period can often ensure a smooth transition. This should allow you to use your time and resources efficiently and hopefully reduce stress and anxiety levels and provide confidence, clarity of thought, purpose and a positive frame of mind which may assist in the process of securing work.


Stage 3: Building a New Community


Although building a new community can be an exciting time it can also be stressful especially if you’re feeling the pressure of civilian life. By this point you may have started to develop some stability to life and feel more settled at home. But it’s important to remember that not being able to meet your planned timelines or ambitions should not be a concern or lead to feeling demotivated. It’s normal to experience the odd backwards step or two during your return.


If you’d like tailored career advice and insight visit our news section and join our growing on-line community!

Alternatively, if you’re looking for your next career opportunity, view our jobs board to ensure a successful transition into a fulfilling career on Civvy Street.

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