Editor’s Note: The following is a guest blog post provided courtesy of the Real Warriors Campaign. More information and tools are available at www.realwarriors.net.
The demands of military life can cause stress. It’s best to work through tough times in a positive way instead of taking part in behaviors harmful to your health. Practice healthy behaviors to maintain your well-being. This includes limiting alcohol and tobacco use, eating healthy foods, exercising often and getting enough sleep.
Benefits of Behavioral Fitness
Being “behaviorally fit” means controlling your actions to the benefit of your health. Taking on hobbies and activities, spending time with family and friends or using relaxation methods such as yoga and meditation can help you:
- Cope with stress
- Stay healthy
- Be in a good mood
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Sleep well
- Lower your chances of getting sick
Behavioral Fitness Tips
To improve your overall health, try these tips:
- Follow a nutrition plan. Keep a balanced diet and avoid unhealthy foods to gain proper nutrients.
- Create an exercise routine. Exercise regularly to increase your energy levels, cope with stress and stay fit.
- Identify people you can turn to. Find a trusted friend, family member, counselor or chaplain you can lean on for support.
- Rest and take care of yourself. Try to get enough quality sleep when you can.
- Stay connected. Enjoy time together with family and friends on a regular basis.
- Reach out for help. If you are feeling troubled, ask your provider or Military Family Life Counselor for behavior change tips. You can also contact the DCoE Outreach Center at 866-966-1020 or Real Warriors Live Chat to speak confidentially with a trained health resource consultant.
What Line Leaders Can Do
Line leaders can increase behavioral fitness in their units by sharing the benefits and tips in this article. Leaders set the tone that it is OK to seek help for psychological health concerns. It is important for line leaders to:
- Model healthy behaviors such as exercising regularly
- Talk openly with unit members if they notice unhealthy behaviors in their battle buddies
- Point unit members to useful resources
- Promote peer support so service members look out for one another
- Encourage group activities that bring service members together
Service Specific Resources
- Army: Behavioral Health “My Health” Page, U.S. Army Command Headquarters
- Air Force: Behavioral Health Optimization Program
- Navy: Navy Program Reduces Sailor Stress
- Marine Corps: Behavioral Health Information Network
- National Guard and reserve: Psychological Health Program, National Guard Bureau and Guard Your Health
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Depression
- Free Mobile Apps to Improve Psychological Health
- How Stress Affects Your Health
- Human Performance Resource Center
- Operation Live Well
- Psychological Health Information
- TRICARE Mental Health Care