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5 Burning Questions: Resiliency During Crisis

Four double exposures combine to represent the four pillars; social, spiritual, physical and mental, that makes up Comprehensive Airmen Fitness. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Airman 1st Class Philip Bryant/Released))

The four pillars that make up Comprehensive Airmen Fitness, social, spiritual, physical and mental, are key to maintaining resiliency during a crisis. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Airman 1st Class Philip Bryant)

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The four pillars that make up Comprehensive Airmen Fitness, social, spiritual, physical and mental, are key to maintaining resiliency during a crisis.

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. --

In an effort to answer some of your top questions about a variety of subjects, the Air Force District of Washington continues the “5 Burning Questions” series.

In this installment, the 11th Wing Community Support Team discusses resiliency during a crisis.

How can I maintain resilience during such unprecedented times?

It is understandable to feel helpless, uncertain or overwhelmed by the sudden and rapidly evolving changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Try focusing your efforts on maintaining the four pillars of Comprehensive Airmen Fitness. By balancing spiritual, mental, social and physical wellbeing, Airmen are better prepared to endure everyday life stressors and become more resilient in the face of adversity. Additionally, try to shift your focus from the limitations social distancing has imposed and instead find new and creative ways to thrive during this new normal.

How to combat feelings of failure when juggling home-life, work-life and crisis during the pandemic?

Now more than ever, it’s important to harness the power we possess over our thoughts, feelings and reactions. As COVID-19 continues its natural course, the fight to control its effects has been an upward battle for many nations, sparing the rest of us no rod. Don’t beat yourself up. Let go of the uncontrollable and focus your efforts on the things that are most valuable to you. Communicate your needs openly with yourself, family members, and occupational supervisors. Practice being patient, flexible, and understanding of your individual circumstances and those of others. We are all adjusting. Remind yourself constantly that the temporary sacrifices and adaptation you endure are required to preserve the health and safety of yourself and those around you. Don’t give up. Allow diligence and progress to act as a form of self-care.

Visit Military One Source (https://www.militaryonesource.mil/) for an array of articles and resources addressing stress management and coping mechanisms.

For information specifically relating to COVID-19 and the military community, visit Military One Source's Corona Virus Update page (https://www.militaryonesource.mil/coronavirus).

Resources are also obtainable at the Air Force Resilience website (https://www.resilience.af.mil/).

How can I experience connectedness in a time of social distancing and physical isolation? 

Now is a great time to explore the various uses and benefits of your favorite free social media platforms, virtual teleconferencing websites and chat applications. Make a habit of contacting, family members, coworker and old or new friends to continue strengthening those bonds and cultivating a sense of belonging from which both parties can benefit.

If you or someone you know becomes overwhelmed with feelings of isolation loneliness or are otherwise distraught contact the Military and Family Life Counselors, Military One Source or your installation’s mental health clinic.

What options are available during COVID-19 to help decompress?

Engaging in physical activity such as running, walking, yoga, dance, sports or games can be great sources of stress relief. Because social distancing measures have limited those opportunities for many, the Joint Base Andrews Fitness Center now hosts a list of free virtual exercise classes that can help you work up a sweat right at home.

Practicing mindfulness and gratitude are another great way to decompress by slowing down and becoming more present in the moment.

The AF Resilience website also offers several free mobile applications such as The Virtual Hope Box and Tactical Breathings that help facilitate mindfulness, gratitude, and other healthy mindset practices.

How do I help others in need during the pandemic?

Enduring crises and collective struggle has a way of provoking, for some, the urge to help, give or otherwise contribute to a solution. However large or small your urge may be, there are several ways to conduct your very own COVID-19 response missions as suggested by https://www.idealist.org/en/careers/help-others-coronavirus. Some suggestions are:

  1. Check on your neighbors
  2. Explore ways to connect and volunteer virtually
  3. Waste not, want not
  4. Give blood
  5. Make a donation
  6. Be a leader
  7. Find your local mutual aid network
  8. Remember those who are still out there on the front lines
  9. Take care of yourself!