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Building resiliency during the holidays

A Reserve Citizen Airman waves a U.S. flag from a B-52 Stratofortress prior to a sortie at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, March 3, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Ted Daigle)

A Reserve Citizen Airman waves a U.S. flag from a B-52 Stratofortress prior to a sortie at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, March 3, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Ted Daigle)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --

For many, the holidays can be a time of joy.  They revel in the familiar traditions such as giving gifts, enjoying great food and watching football.  

For others, though, the holidays can be a time of stress, making it difficult for them to cope. These stressors may result from a variety of factors including the recent loss of a loved one, financial problems, or relationship problems.  Fortunately, the Air Force offers many resources to help Airmen build resiliency and better handle stress.

Financial strain often is a big contributor to stress especially during the holidays. The mad rush of holiday parties, shopping, and other obligations can have the potential to overwhelm people. Unit resources, such as Airman and Family Readiness, are ready to give assistance for Airman trying to get their finances under control.

Gary Hunkins, 307th Force Support Squadron community readiness consultant, said his office, along with the Barksdale Airman and Family Readiness center, can offer one-on-one assistance with personal budgets. 

He can also offer a host of practical tips to help Airman avoid common holiday financial pitfalls.

“Often, avoiding financial stress is simply a matter of understand the difference between a nicety and a necessity,” said Hunkins. “It’s important for Airman to understand that, if they plan accordingly, a big purchase does not have to be a financial burden.”

Lt. Col. Kenneth Brown, 307th Bomb Wing chaplain, recommends Airmen be aware of their emotional needs during the busy holiday season.

“The holidays amplify our emotions, so if someone is going through a particularly tough time, those difficulties are amplified,” said  Brown.  “People’s calendars often become very full during the holidays, and that can cause coping systems to become overloaded.

Brown encouraged Airmen having difficulty during the holidays to consult with him or one of the other chaplains in the 307th Bomb Wing.  They can provide help, especially in helping Airmen to recognize what is most important in their lives.  He maintains that Airmen who practice their spirituality have a better understanding of their priorities.

“Ask yourself what your priorities are. Everything you do should be based on those priorities,” Said Brown. “If you don’t have those, we need to figure out what they are.”

Both Hunkins and Brown pointed to Military One Source for those looking for a whole host of in-depth resources to help Airmen and their families to develop a resilient lifestyle. For those who want a more local source they can contact Gary Hunkins at (318) 456-1807 or the 307th Bomb Wing Chaplain’s Office at (318) 529-3150.