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Commentary | Aug. 26, 2009

Take a breather

By Airman 1st Class Sylvia Olson 1st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Within the military culture of standardized procedures, protocols and regulations are people with characters and quirks. Although every Airman wears the same uniform, they remain the owner of their individual, unique personality.

Remaining professional is pivotal, but it's also important to maintain who you are, and not let the stresses of work get to you.

Keeping in touch with hobbies and passions is a great way to stay on track and lighten the work atmosphere.

There are days when work piles up, the phone rings nonstop and my e-mail inbox is filled to capacity; I feel like I'll never catch up and finish everything. Those are the times I sit back for a minute and take a breather.

It's easy to get stressed and frustrated at work, but it's important to recognize your limits and know the best ways to combat frustrations at work.

At work, when my brain starts to feel fried, I go outside for a few minutes and get fresh air or write down my feelings in a notebook. Writing has always been one of my passions, and is a good way for me to unwind and tidy up any unruly thoughts.

One of my coworkers is musically inclined, so when he hits a writer's block, he strums out a song or two on his guitar to get inspiration flowing again. Another coworker loves to exercise, so he keeps hand weights at his desk, or takes a breather to do sit-ups or pushups.

Different shops have different stress-relieving options. Most have a break room for relaxing, and grabbing a snack or beverage, while others periodically hold squadron picnics or parties. Our shop has a punching bag installed for Airmen to physically work out their frustrations.

Being an active-duty military member is a solemn responsibility, but it doesn't have to be an overwhelming one. The next time you feel uptight and frazzled, just remember you are your own person and in charge of how your workday goes.