Having jolly days during the Holidays

Photo by FotoDuets/Shutterstock.com

The holidays are great for spending time with loved ones, having special meals and relaxing by the fireside — or playing a few games with some air fried pizza rolls.

There’s no specific template that makes for a happy holiday, yet every year many service members feel spiritless during the holiday season. It’s not without hope, however — there are helpful activities that can be done as well as resources available to every service member.

“Stay active,” said Staff Sgt. Nelson Pacheco, 86th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of deployment medicine. “I do enjoy my peace and quiet, but around the holiday time when you see that change in the weather and it gets darker earlier, I try to hang out with friends and go to the gym more.”

According to The National Center for Biotechnology Information, studies have positively linked exercise and improved mental health, citing aerobic exercises such as jogging, swimming, walking, and even gardening as beneficial to an individual’s mental well-being.

“Last year, my wife had to leave to support Operation Allies Refuge,” said Staff Sgt. Kelvin Brown, 86th OMRS epidemiology manager. “For Thanksgiving, I ended up going to my supervisor’s house — a bunch of us got together and talked, joked and ate food. Things like getting together are important for combating loneliness during the holidays.”

Airmen have other resources available, such as joining one of the various clubs on base, speaking to a chaplain, or contacting Military and Family Life Counseling.

“We have eight embedded MFLCs for the base,” said Master Sgt. Hollius Holt, Family Readiness senior noncommissioned officer at the Ramstein Military and Family Readiness Center. “They’re available 24 hours a day; if someone is in need, they can call.”

The Military and Family Readiness Center also hosts LIFE talks every first and third Monday of the month at 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. These talks are open to everyone and provide a safe space to talk about anything a member may be going through.

Whether you spend your holiday season out and about or at home taking a breather, remember the Wingman concept — check in on each other, ask how your Wingmen are doing and stay connected.

Here is the contact information for some agencies that may be of help:

  • Military and Family Life Counseling Program: +49 (0)5156-74-8179
  • Military and Family Readiness Center: +49 (0)6371-47-5100
  • Mental Health Clinic: +49 (0)6371-46-2370