Stress: don't let it gain control

F. E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. -- It is the job of commanders and first sergeants to ensure Airmen are physically and mentally fit to both deploy and perform their home station mission. We all know the importance of physical fitness, but mental fitness is often neglected and daily stressors can become overwhelming. Stress can affect sleeping and eating habits and work performance. Additionally, if left unchecked, stress can lead to anxiety and depression.

The Mighty Ninety historically has a high operations tempo including deployments and missile field operations, not to mention the numerous inspections we endure. This leads to long, irregular work schedules sparking relationship, legal and financial issues. This can push stress to an unhealthy level affecting those in the Personnel Reliability Program and, ultimately, our mission.

So what can we do to deal with our daily stress and who can help us? A good place to start would be your immediate supervisor. Believe it or not, they are there to help you, and more than likely, they have dealt with the same stress you are experiencing. If you are not comfortable talking to them, some additional agencies include your first sergeant, chaplain, Family Advocacy, Military Family Life Consultant and Mental Health.

As wingmen, we must be vigilant to watch for sudden behavior changes in our peers and those around us. Airmen may not seek help for their stress on their own and may require your help. Seeking help to deal with stress before it reaches an unhealthy level will keep all of us focused and productive. Ultimately, we all benefit from dealing with stress and become productive contributors to the Wing and Air Force missions.