There are many adjustments to be made in a life after service, and settling into a new home and lifestyle is one of the most important to get right. The transition can be difficult and sadly, the statistics reflect this. Veterans are significantly overrepresented in the homeless population with close to 6,000 veterans becoming homeless each year. Carry On has a number of supports in place to prevent this happening, including crisis accommodation and subsidised housing. 

For those who do transition to accommodation of some kind, creating a place of your own is vitally important for your ongoing mental and emotional health and wellbeing. This is particularly the case for PTSD sufferers, whose nervous system can be significantly impacted by the disorder. The physiological change can mean the world often feels unsafe, unpredictable, and uncontrollable as a result. A home environment that provides respite from this is crucial.

Regardless of the accommodation we all find ourselves in, there are plenty of things we can do to make a space feel like our own and a house feel like a home. Going through this process is also a key part of re-establishing ourselves in an unknown version of our future. It could be some framed pictures of loved ones on display, or maybe a hand knitted rug or cushion cover on a favourite chair. A small vase that can hold some flowers picked on a walk someday is a nice touch, as are paintings, displays of medals, or sentimental family treasures scattered around the place that personalise a room. A big effort is not necessary, and local thrift shops are home to some inexpensive but wonderful finds. You can also reach out to friends and family for ideas they may have to make your home, well more homely!

In addition to surrounding yourself with things that make you feel good, it’s worthwhile incorporating some sensory components into your home to further evoke a state of calm and tranquillity. A fragrant candle or an oil burner can become part of a daily ritual. It can be lit as a marker for an activity – for example, if you decide to take up yoga, or read a book over a cup of tea in the afternoon in your favourite chair. A nice lamp can create a calmer ambience in a room too. Plants are a great way to bring colour and life into a space also. They need care and attention semi-regularly so can add a nice recreational component to your routine at home, because of the care they need.

Creating this space for yourself not only improves your quality of life, but it also gives you a place that is entirely yours – a place where you can be the best or worst versions of yourself with freedom and safety. Pride in our own living environment is a great marker for building self-esteem and making daily life worthwhile. A curated, pleasing home environment can reduce feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression and provide a nurturing place to return to if you’re experiencing lengthy periods of mental health challenges.   

Carry On encourages those in subsidised housing to reach out of they need support or advice about the property they live in. If something needs to be fixed, a property needs painting, or a carpet needs to be replaced, property managers are available to discuss the issues and arranger for repairs or work to be done in various situations. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at Carry On for more information.