Helpful Articles for Veterans & Their Families
Veteran Family Perspectives: Navigating changes in sense of identity
Transitioning from military to veteran life can impact every family member’s sense of identity. While this experience is unique to every military family, common themes arise across the board.
As you finish one chapter, you start a new one.
As a military family member, you’ve experienced more change during your time as a CAF family than many civilians do in a lifetime. While it may not seem this way during the heat of your transition, you have already written many chapters in your life story.
Think back to your first posting as a military spouse or child. Were you excited, nervous, or a little bit of both? In order to push through the nerves, you had to accept that change was on the horizon and that your current chapter was coming to an end.
Continue to build community around you.
There is an instant connection when you meet a fellow military family member. They understand your life and its challenges, and you understand theirs. You may have used this common ground to build a network around you, but don’t put this skill to rest just yet.
Veteran family members connect in the same way – they can just connect to a wider audience. As a veteran family member, not only can you relate as a military family member, but you also understand the transition from military to civilian life and know all about the unique veteran lifestyle.
Transitioning families often express concern about losing this sense of community. However, there are many ways to stay in touch. Connect with other military families who are experiencing the transition too, join a veteran community group, and even volunteer at your local Military Family Resource Centre – these are sure ways to make great connections and stay involved in your community.
Find what brings you joy.
As you transition from military to veteran life you may also be looking for new ways to fill your spare time. One great way to deal with this is to find new hobbies or interests.
Have you ever enjoyed doing something so much that you lost track of time? This is a key indication that you have found a hobby, or interest, that really brings you joy.
You might already be thinking of a hobby that makes you feel this way – fishing, baking, exercising, the list goes on. But, if you aren’t sure where to get started or what is available in your area, there are people and resources in place to help you find your way. Reach out to your local Veteran Family Program Coordinator as a great starting point.
Lean on your support system.
Just like the mixed feelings associated with your first posting, you will have mixed feelings about the release transition. Great days are always great. But everyone has the occasional bad day, and even the most resilient people can use a listening ear every now and then.
When you’re experiencing those mixed feelings, lean on your support system. Whether you confide in your partner or parent, best friend, neighbor, counsellor, or your friendly MFRC Social Worker, try to talk it out so that you can acknowledge your feelings and focus on the opportunities that lie ahead.
Access the resources available to you.
All of the above are great ideas to get your wheels turning as you think about your sense of identity and your family’s transition. However, they are no help unless you know what resources you can access!
Whether you know exactly what you need or aren’t sure where to start, we’re here to help. We can set you up with a Veteran Family Journal full of helpful information, work with you to address specific needs, and make sure you are well informed about your resources.
For more information about how the GMFRC can support your releasing or veteran family contact our Veteran Family Program Coordinator at email@example.com.