Season 2 Episode 77: Dealing with the Emotional Challenges of the Military Transition with Olivia Nunn

Olivia Nunn retired from the US Army in 2021 as a Lieutenant Colonel. You may recognize her as the host of the US Army’s Soldier for Life Podcast. Olivia gets honest with us in the podcast about some of the challenges and struggles that she went through during her transition out of the military, many of which have driven her to be a passionate advocate for mental health.

On the surface her transition was seamless, she landed a great role in marketing that aligned with her background in public affairs and communication. Although Olivia had access to all the best resources available to support her in her military transition, the emotional and mental process of the transition caught her off guard.

It is important to know that there are tools and education available to service members to support them with dealing with the emotional and mental health struggles that they may face during this process.

In her transition, Olivia practiced what she preached. She started early and began planning at 24 months before her retirement. She created a LinkedIn presence early on and began to post authentic, branded content. She attended events and built a solid network. When she made her announcement that she was preparing to wrap up her Army career, within a short time she started getting leads on opportunities because of the work she had done to prepare.

The early parts of the 24-month preparation period need to be spent on research, determining what you want to do in your career after the military, where you want to live and figuring out your personal brand. Once you decide what you want to do in your career, you may find you will need additional training, certification or skills. This extended prep period will give you time to get ready for what is next!

Olivia found herself struggling with mental health issues during her transition. She felt very much alone and was not willing to ask for help and support. She found that the resources available to her during her struggles, especially during the COVID crisis, were seriously lacking and that the system was overtaxed.

Once you get past the shame and guilt of asking for help, or even needing help, and share how you are feeling, you will find that there are so many people willing to help and just listen to you. Olivia shares her personal story of how she came back from her struggles. She leaned on her faith, prayer, therapy and a handful of friends who she talked through her issues with.

You may be used to being the strong one who supports people, but you have to be willing to reach out your hand and ask for help so that it does not weigh you down.

Olivia talks about she is constantly figuring out who she is as a person outside of the military. She has been trying new things and has launched her own business.

Though the Soldier for Life Podcast lives on without Olivia as a host, she is now hosting the Never Stop Serving Podcast for the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA). You can find that new podcast series here:

You can connect with Olivia Nunn on LinkedIn:

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