December 18, 2015

Staying resilient in dark times

Airman 1st Class Jake Carter
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — The holiday season can be hectic for Airmen here. Some have the opportunity to go to their hometowns or have family come see them. But, some Airmen don’t have the opportunity to spend time with their loved ones during the holiday season or they don’t have anyone to turn to.
These situations could lead to depression or worse.
When is an Airman is down, it is up to their wingmen to pick them up.
“I think one of the ways to stay resilient is to stay connected,” 99th Air Base Wing chaplain Lt. Col. Dwayne Jones said. “It is so important to be with friends so that you are talking with someone to share ideas and stay connected. Try to call home and try to talk to family and friends.”
As the holiday season gets closer, there will be numerous programs available to those who celebrate Christmas as well as Jewish traditions.
In January, a new program called Storytellers is scheduled to begin which allows Airmen from around the base to share their own stories of personal defeat, triumph and rough circumstances where being in the military saved their life.
“Storytellers is designed to equip and encourage Airmen,” Jones said. “I strongly believe everyone has a story and every story is therapeutic in its own way for the person telling the story as well as the person listening. Every story will connect with someone.”
With the program’s first meeting set for Jan. 21, 2016, Airmen who are suffering during the holidays may find some peace in knowing Airmen before them have suffered through the same circumstances and have overcome them.
“When Airmen hear these stories, it’s going to transform lives,” Jones said. “We are going to hear that there is hope, we can be resilient in difficult times, and if life dealt you a bad hand there is always an opportunity for a new beginning.”
Being socially, mentally, physically and spiritually resilient will also help Airmen focus in on areas they might not have noticed.
“Airmen can stay resilient socially, mentally, physically and spiritually during the holiday season by identifying what is important to them and taking time to notice the little things,” Jenna Lightfoot, 99th Air Base Wing community support coordinator for Nellis Air Force Base. “Be mindful of your surroundings, actions and emotions. Turn off your cell phone to truly tune in. Find opportunities to connect with family, friends and fellow Airmen. Take advantage of this time to meet new people, try a new hobby or volunteer.”
“I believe that we are all resilient because we are all here right now. We may not look at it like that, but all have overcome problems, obstacles and dilemmas,” Jones said. “We all must realize we are resilient and we can overcome. Resilience is a great thing and situations bring out the best in us.”
With the end of the year and holiday season fast approaching, Jones credits the Air Force with being able to help Airmen in a time of need.
“If you feel disheartened and lonely, take time to connect with other Airmen who are away from their families. It is therapeutic and rejuvenating when we are in the presence of family and friends,” Jones said. “The military is different from any other organization, we are family. Air Force leaders are intentional and sincerely care about the wellbeing of Airmen.”

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