Our DD214Direct.com Knowledge Center contains several blogs about the often difficult transition veterans must make from military to civilian life. We’ve talked about education, the job market, financial assistance, health-related resources, etc., but one very important aspect we haven’t covered is leisure time.

Taking part in constructive activities during downtime is beneficial for everyone, no matter their outlook or circumstances, but it’s especially valuable for veterans. It’s no secret that some veterans, especially those who have experienced emotional or physical trauma, can suffer from PTSD, depression, anxiety, substance abuse issues and suicidal thoughts; hobbies are a great way to keep minds active, engaged, goal oriented and calm.

We decided to take a look at some of the best stress-relieving avocations for vets, as listed by Military.com, and find out how vets wanting to get creative and/or busy can keep costs lower.


This pastime can be as inexpensive or pricey as the woodworker makes it, depending on scope-of-project and materials used. But whether you’re making a simple birdhouse or an eight-drawer dresser, you’ll appreciate the fine companies that offer vets a price break.

Lowe’s offers a 10 percent discount to all honorably discharged veterans, while Home Depot offers vets the same amount, but only if they’re disabled or retired military. Sears extends 10 percent off each $300 purchase through VetRewards. It also pays to call local stores or visit the websites of companies like Woodcraft Supply and Rockler to check for promotions and discounts.

Beer Making

A great activity for anyone who enjoys science, recipe tweaking and the taste of craft beer, home brewing can be as relaxing as it is interesting. Aspiring brewers can buy everything from starter kits to equipment to ingredients online, as well as tap into free instructional videos, web pages and message boards (just use your favorite search engine).

Northern Brewer gives eligible veterans 10 percent off all purchases, while disabled and retired vets get five percent with Mr. Beer. Both websites offer a complete line of beer, ale, lager, porter, etc. recipes; equipment; kits; ingredients; and bottles, as well as on-site instruction and message boards so brewers can compare notes.


Every veteran has already proven they have the stamina and grit for distance running and some never lose their affinity for it. So whether you’ve never stopped or are thinking of starting again, you know how beneficial running can be for the mind, body and spirit.

That’s why it’s a good thing that great sporting goods outlets like FootLocker, Eastbay, FootAction and Champs Sports all honor veterans with 20 percent discounts every day, while Nike and Under Armour both offer a savings of 10 percent.


Like running, kayaking is fantastic for the cardiovascular system and development of leg muscles, but it’s also an excellent way to boost arm strength and it’s easier on the joints. Best of all, it allows enthusiasts to commune with nature a bit while they benefit from all that is fun and therapeutic about being out on the water.

For kayaks and equipment, Eastern Mountain Sports leads the veteran-discount pack with 10 percent off all full-price items every day, while Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops offer five percent on select items. Target also sells kayaks and extends 10 percent off purchases of $70 or more.

Veterans who were deployed during any conflict are also eligible to enroll in two (one per year) of several free, 6-day Outward Bound kayaking, canoeing, whitewater rafting or sailing courses.

Other Constructive Pursuits

In case you were wondering, other hobbies mentioned in Military.com’s list included ATV & RC racing, guitar playing, BBQing, learning a new language and (ahem) pole dancing. If you’re interested in these or any of the activities we’ve covered, always remember to reach out to local suppliers, instructors and venues to find out what discounts may be offered.

Also, scores of companies and organizations offer discounted or free items, services and admission on Memorial Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day, making those especially opportune times for large leisure purchases. And remember, in order to access most veterans discounts, at some point you’ll need to produce your DD-214 form.

Need a Copy of Your DD-214 Sooner Than Later?

That’s easy. DD214Direct.com makes ordering and receiving your DD-214 a snap by allowing you to take care of the entire transaction by phone (we can even email your documents!), unlike the National Archives’ eVetRecs service, which requires you to print out a request form, sign it, mail it in and wait weeks, maybe months, before receiving a response.

DD214Direct.com’s courteous, highly experienced team members go to work for you immediately, following leads, asking the right questions and staying in continual contact with the National Archives until they track your papers down. Wouldn’t you rather be researching prospective hobbies (or just about anything else) while we do the grunt work?

Our three-tiered pricing makes it easy for you to choose your preferred delivery speed and our agents are ready and waiting to start the hunt for your records today.

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