Transitioning from military to civilian life


LEAVING the armed forces can be a complete upheaval of life as you knew it. Whether you’re leaving for medical, disciplinary or personal reasons, facing life after the military can be a scary and bewildering time. There are services there to support you, but the process is often a very personal journey and one that each individual tackles differently. In this article, we discuss some of the main challenges that ex-service personnel face and provide some key focus areas for you to consider whilst you’re making the transition.

What are the challenges?

Several challenges can be difficult to face upon leaving the armed forces. For many, it’s the loss of identity, purpose and status that was so familiar to them whilst they were serving. Transitioning to civilian life can be a dramatic change to your surroundings, routines and lifestyle, and some suffer great losses in confidence and self-belief. However, there can be light at the end of the tunnel and life after the military might just open your eyes to newfound freedom and happiness. To help you narrow your focus whilst you are transitioning back into civilian life, below we walk through some of the main areas to focus on in the interim.

What to focus on during your transition

Coming to terms with life after the military

Depending on your circumstances and reasoning behind leaving the military, you may benefit from taking time to process everything that’s happened. Coming to terms with realities can’t be rushed or forced and everyone will take this at their own pace. You might want to consider the services of military solicitors if you feel that your discharge was unjust or you sustained life-changing injuries on duty at the hands of someone else’s negligence. Or you might just need time to reflect on the past and the future. 

Financial considerations

Financial worries are all too often causes for concern in people leaving the armed forces, and this may be true in your case if your time in the military was cut short for any reason. Speaking to friends and family about living arrangements, financial issues and any other concerns is very important to ensure that you don’t put yourself in danger or financial strife. If you have no one to talk to, get in touch with any of the charities and trusts that help ex-service personnel with the transition to life after the forces.

Healthcare and wellbeing

The importance of your health and wellbeing in the immediate and long term can’t be understated. Upon leaving the armed forces, ensure you go through the right steps to transition your healthcare services from military to civilian or veteran – the NHS has a handy guide to help you here

Alongside this, be sure to take care of any health and wellbeing concerns and look after yourself to the best of your ability. A healthy body is part of the key to a healthy mind, and it will help you to make the transition into civilian life that much more straightforward. There will be many challenges along the way, but if you can look after your health then you’ll be able to take your next steps much sooner.

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