November 20, 2015

Plan to relax, leave holiday stress behind

Commentary by Col. Lisa Pike
Commander, 436th Mission Support Group
(U.S. Air Force graphic/Corey Parrish)

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. — When we talk about getting back to basics, it often is used in a professional sense with business rules in mind to create efficiencies at work. I offer this same approach is equally important with family and friends, especially during the holiday season, when both our calendars and homes become full of celebrations and gatherings with family and friends.

I know what you are saying–much easier said than done!

First, ask yourself what does the holiday season mean to you? Is it all about obligations…do you have a long list of things you must do? If so, that’s OK but step back for a moment and ask yourself if those obligations are all really required or are they self-imposed and perhaps causing unnecessary stress.  Then, take a look at what you could do with your family or friends. There are numerous inexpensive community programs available at Dover AFB and in the local community to get you out of the house. Come see us at our outdoor recreation center, where we have a little of everything from information about the local area, to self-directed programs and organized trips. Whether it is directions to a campground near the beach or letting us take the wheel for a bus trip to NYC to do some shopping, let our team help find the right option for you. In case you are feeling like staying really local, the outdoor recreation center also has a climbing wall to get your endorphins going!

Give something new a try, you may find there are many ways to have fun and at the same time minimize the stress of the holidays with friends, both old and new. While I risk sounding like a salesman for our programs my intent is to remind you to take a minute for yourself, think of what you want the next few weeks to be about and don’t let the holidays stress you out. Look out for yourself and for others and if you see someone getting too stressed or alone, give some of the mentioned activities or others you come up with a shot and see if you don’t have some fun.

Whether you have a household of 12 or it is just you, take time to get together with friends and share your holiday traditions; you may find some new ones to add to those you already celebrate. Put together an outing to do something together. If you are not in to organizing, sign up for the Adopt an Airman program and learn more about the great community we live in from our downtown partners in the City of Dover, or join a Single Airman Program trip and see your dorm mates in a new light hanging from a zip line! Get out and see new things. If you have family, offer to host someone who is here alone and introduce them to your traditions. Learn a bit from each other.

What about when that first snow comes? Remember being a child?  I grew up in Georgia where it almost never snowed so I still am a kid at heart when it snows. Bundle up, get outside and play…build a snowman, have a snowball fight or just have fun and relive the excitement of being a kid at heart! Your children will thank you for it.

I could go on and on giving examples of things we can do. The point is take time to reflect on what the holidays mean for you and have a plan to NOT let it be a stressful time; instead, connect with family and friends and make it a great holiday season where we see our families grow even stronger.

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