Commentary

June 14, 2013

Changing times add extra stress

Capt. JENNIFER PREYER
56th Medical Support Squadron

We can all agree that 2013 has been a challenging year. Budget uncertainty, looming sequestration and potential furloughs have forced change to normal operations. Interrupting the way we do business requires us to operate in an environment of uncertainty.

This uncertainty only compounds normal stress brought on by change. These changes affect our lives, increasing or decreasing working hours and removing temporary duty assignments or training opportunities typically afforded us. Having a toolbox to deal with change and the stress that comes with living is important.

Key points I’ve learned in my career and keep in my toolbox include:

Adjust your mindset and view the change as an opportunity versus a problem. A positive outlook enables you to cope better with stress. I have to admit, in some instances, this is easier said than done with obligations and responsibilities to meet. But in every situation there is a positive, a silver lining, no matter how small it may be. In my position, challenges with a new contract are causing an immense disruption to normal operations for my team. The silver lining here is that even though every day is full of challenges, they rise to meet them. I witness them doing everything in their power to help our customers, and I am motivated to work harder. This time has become an opportunity to step up and shine. So, like me, you may need to reframe the situation to see the silver lining.

Think realistically about the change. Ask yourself what can I control? What can I influence? Focusing energies in those directions versus areas that you cannot affect is a smart approach. It does no good to spend hours fretting over things you cannot control. With our new contract there is little control at our level, so our team has identified ways to make things work for our customers. While we can’t fix everything, we have done everything we can to positively impact what we can control. Take inventory of your situation. Identify what you can do, and do it.

Find your center. Your center is what guides you, builds your character and brings you back to a place of peace. Being able to access this center helps in everything we do: leading, following, making difficult decisions. A center is unique to each individual. A friend of mine looks to our Air Force core values of integrity, service and excellence. Another meditates. Yours may be religious or spiritual beliefs or quality time spent with your spouse, kids or hobbies. Identify what your center is; what brings you back to reality; back to what really matters.

Use your social network. Friends, peers and family play an important role in helping manage stress levels. Talking about the changes, chatting about the latest movie, visiting church or your book club can reduce stress and build relationships. Talk with coworkers who are going through the same change.
Having a laugh about the situation often helps. I enjoy talking things through with my friends. Their perspective is different and opens my eyes.

Understanding that change is not going away should motivate you to action. Build your toolbox to deal with the changes life brings. You’ll be happier for it.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Balance, key to successful AF life

I believe proper balance is the key to a successful life in the Air Force. Over the years I’ve come to realize that it takes a concentrated effort to maintain balance between a professional life as an Air Force member and personal or family life. Both require constant learning, adjustments, development and attention. It’s easy...
 
 

Avoid claustrophobic career

I have heard many times that education is the great equalizer. The Air Force takes in people of all races, cultures and backgrounds and unifies them under simple beliefs and values. The enlisted force structure serves as the common language for force development, and education plays a major role. We all know education creates opportunity,...
 
 

Dollars and Sense

Have you contributed to the Thrift Savings Program? Are you now considering taking a TSP loan? Before you do, consider the total costs of the loan and the impact upon your future benefits. TSP loans borrow from your contributions and accrued earnings. Additionally, you are charged a $50 loan fee that is taken from your...
 

 
Wolfenstein_The_New_Order_cover

Fly Over: ‘Adventure Time’ and ‘Wolfenstein: The New Order’

‘Adventure Time’ Usually when I want to relax or just have some “me” time I play a video game, watch a movie, work out or do something exciting. I usually don’t watch television shows, but when I heard about t...
 
 

New form second chance to do EPRs right

Without fail, every time I am around a group of young NCOs, there is one subject guaranteed to come up — the enduring question of “How can I write a stronger EPR for my Airman?” My answer to this question is fairly standard and is one that a chief shared with me many years ago....
 
 

Plan for final out

How many of you are prepared for life outside of the military? Seriously, if you were told tomorrow was your final out, what would you do? We are currently in an environment where Defense Department rollbacks are a serious issue we must all contemplate. Fewer officers are being commissioned. Last year there was only one...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin