JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas –
As we enter the holiday season, many of us often use this time to reflect on the past year and spend time with loved ones. For some, it may be a time filled with joy and happiness as there is “no place like home for the holidays.”
However, for many, the holiday season can generate a series of mixed emotions due to dealing with a difficult occurrence such as changes in a living situation, distance from their loved ones, or coping with a loss.
The pandemic has also caused inflation of stress and isolation for many. While these challenges and emotions may cause distress, it is important to remember you are not alone. Whether traveling or staying local, AFW2 encourages our Warriors and Caregivers to utilize the following ideas from our Wellness and Resiliency, or WAR, team as ways to stay resilient, connected, and mentally strong through the holidays.
Around each holiday work alongside your loved ones to coordinate an organized plan that allows you all to stay connected. For those that are spending the holidays without their loved ones, remind yourself that being apart does not mean that you have to miss out!
One way to combat isolation is to utilize technology and set a time and a place for everyone to come together. Prior to meeting online, ensure important logistics such as internet connection and sound, and make sure all your devices are working properly. Knowing that these are good, can eliminate any additional stress.
“We use Zoom a lot. Hearing our families’ voices is amazing, but seeing their faces, the smiles, and having the little ones not lose touch with their grandparents is amazing,” said Lt. Col. Michael A. Lee, AFW2 Ambassador. “We send little video clips back and forth and do Zoom calls to maintain that connection.”
Additionally, you can create an interactive experience for everyone who is in attendance. Fun games that can be played are trivia, bingo, charades, or Pictionary. If games seem like a hassle, you can always resort to a simpler activity such as karaoke, dancing, or listen to music together.
For those whose favorite holiday tradition is gathering around to watch classic holiday movies, stay connected and continue this tradition by hosting a virtual watch party. You can invite anyone to watch the same movie or television show from the comfort of their own home.
If you are not interested in incorporating technology, you can always resort to a more traditional method such as writing and mailing letters. Writing letters allows us the opportunity to slow time and invest in the process of communicating and sharing special thoughts with loved ones or individuals within your community.
“We are a bunch of people who have lived our lives in the service of others and sometimes bringing a small bit of joy to others, reminds us that we have a greater purpose and that there is happiness in that,” Lee said. “This holiday be someone’s purpose. Someone’s purpose to put their mask on, to get out of bed, to smile, to laugh, to get back in the fight. That’s what the holidays are, that is what my AFW2 brothers and sisters are for me.”
Be sure to visit our AFW2 social media pages to tune into the virtual social events hosted by staff and warriors. To learn more about the AFW2 Program, or to refer an Airman, visit www.woundedwarrior.af.mil for additional information and resources.