As Veterans Day nears, we should take time to think about how we spend our time off. 54% of families in the United States end up not taking all their time off, according to Project: Time Off, and veterans are no exception. With deployments and training assignments, veterans spend a lot of time away from their families, so it is even more important, when they do return home, to rebuild relationships and connections.
Each time a deployment ends, service members are briefed about reintegration into their normal lives. Whether it’s three months or several years, things will have changed at home. From haircuts and routines to children growing older, changes affect the relationship dynamics of families. Type in “military return home” in Google and you’ll be confronted by an endless stream of videos sure to make you tear up as veterans are greeted by wives and husbands, dogs, and children. But after that initial “welcome home” moment, settling back into normal life after so much time away can be awkward and difficult, mixing emotions of happiness, relief, anger, and guilt can arise and often PTSD can make the transition even more fraught with difficulty. It will take time to adjust.
We recommend using time off to rebuild relationships. After all, individuals who participate in higher levels of leisure activity are more likely to have an increase in positive moods, attention span, and the ability to reflect on problems.1
In a study that analyzed the letters of 67 veterans who attended a therapeutic fly-fishing program in Dutch John, Utah along the Green River, it was found that the outdoor activity helped veterans with PTSD rediscover purpose in life, improve relationships, feel a sense of success, and work toward recovery. One veteran wrote, “Spending time with the (…) program has shown me it’s okay to enjoy what God has to offer. You support helped (…) to remind me to live life instead of hide from it.”2
Travel has a way of transforming. Our CEO, Dan Janes, is both a veteran and a family man. He encourages our employees to use their time off to explore locally, nationally, and abroad, finding unique destinations that provide the setting for memories to be created and relationships strengthened. Having been through deployments himself, Dan says, “Being a veteran often requires sacrifice, not only by the service member, but also by their families: those who keep things running a home so the service member can put their country first. I think it is important to make use of the time we do have with our families to reconnect and strengthen relationships.”
This Veterans Day we encourage you to spend time with your family. Take the time to travel and create new memories. Take the time to laugh and enjoy the outdoors. Work will still be there when you get back.
For active duty and veterans, we recommend checking out the deals compiled on Military.com. You’ll find links to specials and deals like B&B offering complimentary rooms and museums and parks with free admission.
1 Mayer, F. S., Frantz, C. M., Bruehlman-Senecal, E., & Dolliver, K. (2009). Why Is Nature Beneficial? Environment and Behavior, 41(5), 607-643.
2 Mowatt, R. A., & Bennett, J. (2011). War Narratives. Veteran Stories, PTSD Effects, and Therapeutic Fly-Fishing. Therapeutic Recreation Journal, 45(4), 286-308.