Understanding Health and Wellness for Women Veterans

As a Woman Veteran, you probably hear a lot about access to health care. It’s an important topic, after all. But there’s one aspect of this that you probably don’t hear much about: wellness. Health and wellness directly impact your overall transition experience. From maintaining physical and mental health to redefining your identity, from building a civilian career to providing a secure home, your sense of post-military success is directly linked to your sense of health and wellness. 

Here’s how …

Your Sense of Health and Wellness

When it comes to health and wellness for Women Veterans, consider the “Circle of Health,” as presented by VA here. This concept is helpful in understanding the interconnectedness of several aspects of health and wellness.

You might consider three key takeaways from this model: 

1. Take a Holistic Approach

Your overall sense of health and wellness is influenced by a number of factors, including physical, emotional, social, and environmental aspects. If you strive to create a more balanced approach to health, consider all of these dimensions. 

2. Seek Personalized Care

    Your health needs are unique, so it’s essential to work with your healthcare provider to develop an individualized care plan that helps you reach your own goals and preferences. Proactively advocate for your needs and collaborate closely with your healthcare team.

      3. Empower Yourself

      You are in the driver’s seat! Educate yourself about self-care practices, set achievable health goals, and utilize the benefits that YOU EARNED. By taking an active role in your health, you can enhance your overall well-being and quality of life as a Women Veteran.

      Remember, as a Woman Veteran, you are dynamic and multi-dimensioned. Your approach to your health and wellness should be, too!

      5 Steps to Improving Health and Wellness

      By prioritizing health and wellness habits, practicing mindfulness, nurturing supportive relationships, and investing in personal and professional growth, you’ll set the stage to feel stronger, more empowered, and ready to live your best life!

      Take these five steps that are purposefully designed to support health and wellness for Women Veterans:

      1. Practice Mindfulness and Manage Stress

      Mindfulness techniques can help you manage stress and improve overall well-being. The VA offers excellent resources on mindfulness practices, including guided meditation sessions and stress reduction programs. Incorporating mindfulness into daily routines, even for just a few minutes a day, can have significant benefits.

      • Mindfulness Coach: Download this free app to develop helpful practices to ground yourself, reduce stress, and maintain focus. 
      • Moving Forward – Overcome challenges that are unique to you with this self-paced course. Topics include stress, relationships, injury, finances, adaptation, and more.

      2. Prioritize Physical Activity and Nutrition

      Developing healthy nutrition habits and staying physically active are essential for maintaining optimal health. Aim for a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Regular exercise not only improves physical health but also boosts mood and reduces stress. Consider joining local fitness groups or participating in recreational sports activities to stay active and connected with the community.

      • MOVE! Website – Move! is a comprehensive program designed to promote physical activity and improve your health. Access resources, tools, and support to incorporate exercise into your daily life!

      3. Build Your Community

      Surrounding yourself with a supportive community offers invaluable benefits to your overall health and wellness. Seek out Women Veterans organizations, support groups, or social networks both online and offline. Connecting with other Women Veterans who understand your experiences can foster a sense of belonging and camaraderie.

      • WVIF – We’re a little biased, but we’re going to go ahead and say that we, at WVIF, offer the BEST source of community for Women Veterans! Become a member, join a chapter, or attend one of our incredible events!

      4. Professional Development

      Transitioning out of the military presents opportunities for personal and professional growth. Explore educational and career advancement programs specifically designed for you. WVIF offers resources that focus on career counseling and leadership development initiatives. Plus, you might look into these great resources:

      • IVMFThe Institute for Veterans and Military Families offers numerous programs specifically dedicated to career advancement in the veteran community. One program, V-WISE, is devoted especially to Women Veterans and women military spouses who are interested in entrepreneurship! 

      5. Prioritize Self Care and Advocacy

      Self-care is essential for your overall well-being. Take time to prioritize self-care activities that bring you joy and relaxation, whether it’s reading a book, practicing a hobby, or enjoying nature. Additionally, don’t hesitate to advocate for your own health and wellness needs. Speak up if you encounter barriers in accessing healthcare or support services, and don’t hesitate to seek assistance from healthcare providers or advocacy organizations.

      • Women’s Health at VA – Check out VA’s array of resources to help you practice effective self-care techniques. If you’re unsure about something, you can also review their library of educational videos and guides.
      • Women Veterans Call Center – If you’re confused or you need someone to help you understand your benefits, pick up the phone or get online to talk with a Women’s Health Call Center representative.
      • Suicide Prevention Hotline – If you or someone you love is experiencing crisis or suicidal ideations, free and confidential support is available to you, 24/7. Here’s how:
        • Dial 988 and Press 1
        • Send a text to 838255
        • Chat online

      Honor Yourself in Your Transition

      Health and wellness for Women Veterans is a key part of your journey toward post-military success. Take steps today to access care, fill your cup, and experience the post-military life you dream of.