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Resilience: Reflect on 2021 and rest

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Kristen Nichols
  • 436th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron

As 2021 comes to a close, it is time to reflect on the past year and all the tremendous accomplishments Team Dover has delivered. Over the last 365 days, Team Dover played an integral role in support of over 20 percent of the United States’ total outsized airlift capacity. Additionally, Airmen from each group across the wing contributed to the largest noncombatant evacuation operation mission in U.S. military history. We transported thousands of passengers and pallets of cargo in support of Operation Allies Refuge and helped resettle vulnerable Afghans during the transition to Operation Allies Welcome.   These amazing feats were accomplished as a result of the dedication and commitment from each and every Team Dover member who worked together to deliver every aspect of these important missions.

Everyone has heard leaders tell us “our Airmen are our greatest asset.” But the question becomes, “What are each of us doing to fully reinforce the most important weapon system in our entire inventory?” 

The four pillars within Comprehensive Airmen Fitness address taking care of our mental, physical, social and emotional self. Each pillar requires different attention levels at various times throughout the day or year and over the course of our career. For each Airman, certain pillars may be easier to strengthen than others. As we grow and develop personally and professionally, the strength of one pillar may diminish while another remains steady. We must all stay self-aware of this intricate balance so we can recognize when help is needed, either by focusing on strengthening one of the other pillars or simply reaching out for assistance from one of the various support agencies on base, such as the chaplains, mental health, Military One Source or Military Family Life Counselor.

Self-help authors Jon Fitch and Max Frenzel recently collaborated and wrote the book “Time Off: A Practical Guide to Building Your Rest Ethic and Finding Success Without the Stress.” This book discusses the necessity of “rest ethic” to help maintain a good “work ethic.” Rest ethic is intentionally scheduling and taking time off for ourselves. It is a way to practice self-care and to balance our pillars. Their writings go on to explain that rest gives us inspiration, ideas and recovery techniques so we can remain resilient in accomplishing our mission. When our work becomes a sole and singular focus, the fullness of our mental, physical, social and emotional pillars are challenged and pushed to the side. We then struggle to find the inner strength and motivation necessary to stay aligned with Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown’s charge to accelerate change or lose. It is crucial we commit to this important balance between rest ethic and work ethic to remain steadfast in our goals for continued personal and professional growth, inspiration and excellence in all we do. 

If we want to accelerate change and deliver, we must commit to taking exceptional care of ourselves.  The start of the new year provides us the perfect opportunity to reflect on all we accomplished and achieve clarity towards a New Year’s resolution that will help us find the right balance we need. So, what’s your New Year’s resolution?