KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. – Editor’s Note: This is the third in a four-part series on how individual wellness contributes to mission success and why it’s beneficial for Reserve Citizen Airmen to preserve health, manage stress, create balance and find meaning.
Finding balance and fulfilling all of life’s demands can be difficult for anyone, but Reserve Citizen Airmen have an extra layer they weave into their lives. This layer involves giving away one of their weekends every month, completing rigorous training and being prepared for the potential to have to drop everything else to serve their country.
Lt. Col. Edith Cobb, 403rd Wing judge advocate, is also an attorney at a two-person international agricultural law firm and travels from her home state of Texas every month to complete her reserve duty.
“You have to stay on task,” Cobb said. “Organize and prioritize and figure out what needs to be a priority at which time. If you don’t keep that balance something is going to happen, and you’re going to let something fall that needs to be done.
Nicole Mayzner, 403rd Wing director of psychological health, said it’s important to understand that balance does not mean every aspect of a person’s life receives equal attention.
“Balance is not achieved by equally dividing the amount of time spent on the different demands in your life,” she said. “One way of doing this is by maximizing the quality time you have with your family during the moments you can.”
One technique Mayzner suggests to analyze where an imbalance may be coming from is to spend a week assessing exactly how time is spent.
“Often times, people are able to realize a ton of time is used, or wasted, doing things that are not important or useful to their packed time schedules,” she said.
She suggested documenting how time is spent throughout the day in real-time, then reviewing it to determine the areas that can be limited or eliminated. A few examples include mindlessly scrolling through social media, continuously searching for items in a disorganized desk or binge watching videos or television.
Mayzner said another thing that can take away from balance is always saying yes to everything.
“There are times when we may feel obligated to be a “yes man” in regards to requests from colleagues, bosses, family members and friends, which results in us feeling overextended, depleted, and overstressed if we are always saying yes,” Mayzner said.
She also said that learning to say no to certain things like extracurricular activities, additional responsibilities or social gatherings on occasion is healthy.
“If we continue to pull ourselves in many directions and do not say no to additional responsibilities or requests at times, the version of ourselves that completes the task or shows up to the event is going to be exhausted, not as efficient, or not the healthy version of ourselves,” she said. “Learn to protect yourself and your personal time by saying no when needed.”
Mayzner also said that to create a balanced life it’s critical to carve out time for activities that bring you happiness because they help you recharge.
“As much as it may sound crazy to add more activities to busy life that seems out of balance, incorporating pleasurable activities will have the extra benefit of increasing life satisfaction and rejuvenating,” Mayzner said. “It’s not uncommon for someone to tell me the activity that brought or brings them the most happiness is something they have not done in months, years or even decades.”
She said that sometimes this may be because of geographical or financial reasons, but more often it’s because of a lack of time in hectic schedules.
“We cannot create extra hours in the day, but we can change the way we spend our time,” Mayzner said.
A few suggestions Mayzner has for people who want to create more balance are becoming more organized with both physical objects and time, not comparing their lives with others, and understanding their needs will change over time.
“Life makes many demands on people, causing them to feel as if their lives are out of control, overwhelming and out of balance” Mayzner said. “Make the amount of energy you spend at work equal to the amount of energy spent on the people and things you enjoy and love, including yourself.”
There are several resources available to 403rd Wing Citizen Airmen and their dependents.
403rd Wing Mental Health: 228-806-0913 or email@example.com
403rd Wing Chaplain: 228-297-7288
Air Force Employee Assistance Program: 800-222-0364 or http://www.FOH4YOU.com
WorkLife4You: http://www.Worklife4You.com (to register click “Start Now,” and use registration code: USAF)
Moving Forward: https://www.veterantraining.va.gov/movingforward
Psychological Health Advocate Program South Region Coordinator: 678-655-2464; cell 470-428-0635
Yellow Ribbon 228-365-1400
FOCUS Project– Families Overcoming Under Stress: https://focusproject.org/
Military Family Life Consultant: 228-365-5834 or 228-365-5927
DoD Safe Helpline: 877-995-5247
Military OneSource: www.militaryonesource.mil or 800-342-9647
DISCLAIMER: This article was originally published at the Defense Video Imagery Distribution System Hub (www.didvshub.net). The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.
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