To manage stress you must first acknowledge stress

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ethan Sherwood
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic the world has had to adjust to a new way of life, a new way to find happiness and peace. 

The first step to managing stress is admitting it to yourself.

“I would hope that people are being honest and upfront," said Master Sgt. Elizabeth Aguilar, 17th Training Wing Equal Opportunity superintendent.  “Let somebody know if you’re not having a good day. Take the moment to pause if you need to.”

Aguilar received an email from a fellow EO member and shared it so everyone could benefit. 

She knew that if she was feeling trapped and stressed then everyone else on base, especially essential personnel, must feel it too. 

The email contained ways to cope with the stress of teleworking, working all day in a stressful environment, or even just being locked inside. 

The first way, and Aguilar’s favorite way to cope, is to find some sunshine. Our options for outdoor activities are limited, and it is important for us to follow the shelter in place orders, but you can still go out on your balcony, open your window, or sit in your yard. Sunshine has many proven health benefits both mentally and physically. 

“After staying inside all day my walls feel like they’re closing in!” said Aguilar. “I can’t keep cleaning! Quarantine triggers my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and claustrophobia. Sunshine is my outlet!”

The second way, reduce your screen time on social media and news platforms. Don’t cut yourself off from the outside world. News and coverage from the pandemic should be consumed in limited doses. Get your news from reliable resources like the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Don’t overwhelm yourself with negative stories. Find some light in the dark. 

The third way, another one of Aguilar’s favorites, practice self-care. With COVID-19 happening we tend to forget about the person we spend the most time with -- ourselves. Try some of these self-care techniques to help boost your mood:

    -Leave positive messages for yourself where you will see them regularly.

    -Write down three things you appreciate about yourself and tape it to a mirror.

    -Pamper yourself by doing one of your favorite relaxing and rejuvenating activities.

“Those that know me,” said Aguilar, “know I keep scripture in my OCP hat pocket and at home. ‘Be still’ is my go-to for 'telefrustrating' days like today.”

The fourth way, and arguably the most important, is to be kind. Familiarity breeds contempt and with everyone in close quarters day after day it’s going to be a rough ride. If we’re kind to each other we’ll make it together. 

“I saw a recent chat with Chief Wright and a doctor in regard to resiliency,” said Aguilar. “Sometimes a day isn’t perfect, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, I don’t try to live like that. But I try to look at the positive side of that, knowing this is all temporary. Let somebody do something for you even if you don’t need it.”