Seminar reinforces importance of mental wellness during holidays, pandemic

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

The holidays can normally be a rough time of the year for some people.

Factor in a pandemic and the usual holiday blues become that much bluer.

While there are things going on in the world that are out of our control, we can at least try to address our own perspectives as they affect those around us as well as our own mental health.

Reserve Citizen Airmen from the 514th Air Mobility Wing, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., attended a “Love Unscripted: Perspective” seminar, led by Capt. Michael G. Fuentes, 514 AMW chaplain, and Jacklyn Urmey, 514 AMW director of psychological health, via the Zoom app, Dec. 6, 2020.

 “When we step back from a situation, we can see how resilient we really are,” Fuentes said.

The seminar asked attendees to consider how they viewed situations and themselves, as well as how they faced struggles, adversities, or “giants.”

“Imagine looking in the mirror,” Urmey said. “What do you see? How do you talk to that person? Compare those answers to how you talk to other people and I bet you will find you treat yourself much harsher.”

Throughout the seminar, the theme of the discussion was how we need to analyze and possibly adjust our perspectives on ourselves.

“If you look down on yourself it’s going to impact other’s ability to see the potential in you,” said Urmey. “Try to find something you like about yourself and instead of repeating the negatives, repeat those positives.”

Fuentes utilized an anecdote from Numbers 13 of the Bible to drive home the point. In short, the story tells of men who were supposed to engage in reconnaissance of a new land. Upon return to their commander, all but one recommended they should not proceed to the land as there were man-consuming giants.

“Something that jumped out at me was how they saw themselves,” Fuentes said. “Sometimes we sell ourselves short.”

The giants served as a metaphor for obstacles, such as one’s own perspective, that get in our way, whether physically, mentally, or emotionally.

“It’s not that there aren’t any giants, but we need to take time to look at the good things in our lives,” said Fuentes.

The seminar also addressed the importance of trying to understand the perspective of others especially during these times of highly subjective and emotional social discourse.

“There is never just one perspective,” said Urmey. “If there are five people in a room, there will be five perspectives. It’s important to understand each perspective is valid.”

The holidays can be rough for sure, so this year, give yourself the gift of perspective and self-love.