Balancing AF and you

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. William Mickley
  • 7th Airlift Squadron commander
Our organization is without a doubt the greatest on the face of the earth. We recruit, mold, and retain energetic highly competent driven professionals with "can-do" personalities and attitudes. Otherwise known as you! Each of you is the reason our Air Force succeeds. You get the job done no matter the personal cost. When lives are at stake and the mission can't fail, you are there to ensure success. That is an immense capability. It is also an immense responsibility. In our 24/7/365 mobility operations environment, the mission never ceases and can never fail. That makes for a high stress work environment that can very quietly and insidiously wear people out. Balancing the demands of our Air Force and mobility lifestyle with personal and family needs is paramount.

Here are five ways to add balance to your life:

1. Exercise:
The most successful people I've ever worked with, or for, all valued their physical fitness. Making a commitment to yourself to find 30 minutes to an hour every day to perform some strenuous (non-work related) activities is vital to maintaining focus and mental acuity.

2. Hobbies and Recreation:
Finding enjoyable off-duty activities is a great way to relieve stress. They feed a person mentally and physically. So don't put off learning that "thing" you've always wanted to do. Carve out some time on a recurring basis to perform activities that make you feel fulfilled.

3. Travel and Leisure (Leave):
Everyone needs to kick up their feet and relax from time-to-time. I've heard it said the average person needs at least 10 consecutive days away from work to truly decompress from the related stressors. By my simple math an active duty service member can have up to three leisure breaks a year. Make a commitment to take some time off to relax.

4. Family and Social:
Family is foundational. Whether it's by blood, acquaintance, or Air Force family, they're always there to help and support us. Don't neglect them. Take time to enjoy their company and let them enjoy yours, without the distraction of work. Put away the blackberry, stop thinking about that project that's due, and give your family and friends your undivided attention.

5. Personal Growth and Development:
The defense business, our profession of arms, is fast paced and demanding. If you're not careful four years will slip away in what seems like a heartbeat. Set personal goals that lend to your individual development. Education and personal development are springboards to future opportunity.

We all have a responsibility to take care of ourselves physically, mentally, and socially. Creating balance in life through exercise, hobbies, travel, family, and personal development will enrich us all, our families, and our Service.

What's the bottom-line of my message? Remember to make you and your family a mission priority!