Don't let the holidays bog you down

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Russell Kuck
  • 62nd Airlift Wing command chief master sergeant
While holidays can bring feelings of joy, the Air Force is a challenging culture where families experience unique stressful situations.

Whether related to separation, finances or other issues, it's not uncommon to hear stories of Airmen going through holiday stress.

One year, I remember putting my family on an airplane on Christmas Day to see family. It was my daughter's first Christmas and I was deploying the next day to Saudi Arabia.

Currently, there are more than 800 Airmen deployed from McChord. In our business of serving the country, there are plenty of Airmen who are separated from their husbands or wives, or sons or daughters.

While stressful situations like this can cause Airmen grief, we need to turn this stress into positive energy. Being a good wingman means helping other Airmen and their families get through the tough times.

This is what makes you part of the Air Force family.

I can't help recall the images on the evening news of those waiting for hours outside the stores on Black Friday ... waiting for those doors to open and rush in there to get the best deals possible. You see families lined up with hot chocolate, sleeping bags and chairs ... all singing songs until those doors open ... then watch out! If you listen real closely you can hear them yelling, "Let the games begin!"

Take a moment and reflect on what the holidays are really about. It means giving thanks for our freedom, health, jobs and, most of all, our families. It's not a contest on how much money you can spend on your families -- it is how much time you can spend with them.

The holiday season is a time to relax and reflect on your accomplishments throughout the year, not a contest to see how much you can buy in one day.

Stress, while uneventful, can be a great motivator when you use it to your advantage. Regardless of where it stems from, there's no reason to let the holidays affect your budget, or more importantly, your health.

The holidays only come once a year. Make the most of this special time and remember to enjoy the more positive things in life. Hooah!