“If stress burned calories, I’d be a supermodel.”

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Ruben Rios
  • 514th Air Mobility Wing

STOP. Your heart pounds. No, it races. It pounds while it races. The air around you gets hot and your body follows. Your temples surge with a sharp pain. Breathe. You only have seconds. No, you make those seconds minutes in your head. Time slows. You NEED it to, if you don’t, you WILL fail. Think. What’s wrong here? What’s actually wrong here? This is nothing, life is way more. You’re back.


Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 514th Air Mobility Wing, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., attended a “Coping with Stress at Work” seminar led by Jacklyn Urmey, 514th Air Mobility Wing director of psychological health, here, Feb. 09, 2019.


“Talking about work stress can help things,” said Urmey. “People handle stress differently.”


The class was designed to help people identify, on any given day, what stressors they encounter, how they feel about them, and how they react to them.


“The point is to take a step back and see what’s going on,” said Urmey. “Ask yourself how you are reacting, what can you do to change the situation and have you done everything you can to remedy the situation?”


Ignoring or incorrectly coping with stressors can lead to burnout.


Signs of burnout include, but are not limited to, fatigue, sleepless nights, high anxiety, weight gain, anger issues at work, and depression. 


Contributors to burnout include chronic work overload, unfair treatment, impossible expectations, unsupportive or hostile coworkers, inadequate training, lack of recognition, conflicting values, lack of direction, and miscommunication. 


“There are five major steps to coping with stress and avoiding burnout,” said Urmey. “Identify, anticipate, try a change, negotiate and pace/balance yourself.”


When identifying a stressful situation, write down the stressor, your feelings toward it, your thoughts in the moment, and your behavior or reaction to it. Dissecting work stressors will lead you to analyze and ultimately change negative behaviors.


The next step is to anticipate stressful situations by setting goals to respond more effectively to work stressors. 


“No matter what the stress is you’re dealing with in the moment, you can always do something to help your body and mind,” said Urmey.


After anticipation comes trying a change. One can achieve this by changing the external stressor, changing your thoughts, or changing oneself physically.


In addition to changing factors, negotiation may help. Create a win-win solution in which both sides of the conflict get something positive.


Arguably the most important step, pacing and balancing yourself is key. 


Life will always be full of stressful situations. With an inconceivable amount of situations that can occur in one’s lifetime and over seven billion personalities on the planet, everyone is bound to meet stress. Our ability to deal with stress is one of many factors that make us human and quite frankly makes life worth living. It’s difficult to imagine how one can know joy if one does not know sorrow. 


So set optimal performance times, engage in pleasurable tasks and activities, take a mini-break every now and then, vacation, and don’t forget to smile.


For more information or to attend the next “Tools to Strengthen your Inner Self” class, please RSVP to Jaclyn Urmey at Jaclyn.urmey@us.af.mil by March 1, 2019.