Hull Veterans Support Centre

Life Skills That You Can Build At Home

When people from the Forces retire, we can often be a little overwhelmed by the huge amount of spare time that we have at our disposal.


From a civilian’s perspective it can be difficult to understand the retirees plight.

Most people look on retirement as a golden chalice, something to be aspired to, the reward for years of hard work and perseverance. Of course, these aspects are present when a military man or woman retires, but these feelings of accomplishment are also coupled with the nagging sense that we are somehow not pulling our weight as much as we used to.

Our working lives in the army is dominated by team work. It’s rare that we ever have to work by ourselves, if this ever happens, our work is always contributing towards our troop. Working in the forces is synonymous with team work, so when we retire, we can often feel lumped with a sense of emptiness or even shame. This feeling of guilt; that we have left many of our colleagues still in service to pick up the slack, can lead to us feeling bad about ourselves. Negative emotions such as these can lead on to us developing¬†a low self-esteem or even depression.

Before you go down this road, it’s important to remember that just because your professional career in the army has ended, that doesn’t mean that your professional development has to as well. There are tonnes of skills that you can learn, for free or relatively little, that can help give your retirement the sense of purpose and drive that you need.


For men and women retiring from the Forces today, it will feel like they are entering a strange new world where technology trumps everything. There’s no need to feel like you’ve been completely left in the dust when it comes to the future of computing though! Basic coding can be learnt for free online and text books for more advanced techniques can be bought for a few pounds.


What this can lead to: Although it might take you some time to pick up the various languages required, it’s not impossible for you to pick up a job as a programmer after a few years of practice.¬†Other potential avenues include digital marketing and social media management.


When soldiers leave the army on a permanent basis, the thing they often miss the most is the food. Comparisons are often drawn to leaving prison. If you’re in the military for a number of years then you simply become acclimatised to receiving your meals at the same time every day. Life at base camp is repetitive but reliable, you can guarantee that you’ll always get a sturdy meal from the mess. But when you leave, this could leave you a little lost and at risk of putting on weight.

Use cookery shows on television and recipes on the internet to develop your own techniques so that you can safe on money and keep trim.


What this can lead to: The catering industry is one of the biggest employers in the UK. Good cookery skills can put you in line for position as a chef or catering assistant.

Reading and Writing

Simply picking up and reading any book or magazine increases your ability to read and understand text at speed. Writing is something that we’re not necessarily called on to do very much whilst we’re employed in the Forces, but you’ll find the more that you practice it the easier it will come and the wider your vocabulary will develop. It can be as simple as keeping a diary or even writing a blog on your favourite hobby.


What this can lead to: Once your literacy skills have increased beyond the ordinary you’ll be considered for professional positions in offices. Or you could strike out on your own as a freelance writer or blogger.

The important thing to remember is that any personal development on your part, after your retirement, should be celebrated. For many, retirement signals the end of progress and the beginning of the end of your life.

Don’t let yourself fall into this trap – the more you can achieve in this period of life the happier you will be.