December 15, 2011
By Lt. Tom Gordy, Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs
WASHINGTON (NNS) — The director for Personnel Readiness and Community Support offered ways to reduce stress during the holiday season, Dec. 12.
The holidays can be a joyous time for Sailors and their families, but they can also be stressful.
By doing some simple things, most people can manage their stress and have an enjoyable and safe holiday, said Rear Adm. Martha Herb, director, Personnel Readiness and Community Support.
“We can feel the full range of emotions during this holiday time. They can range from happiness and joy to extreme stress. And we can deal with the stress if we plan appropriately,” said Herb, a member of the explosive ordnance disposal community and a licensed clinical professional counselor.
There are practical steps Sailors can take to manage the stress of the holidays, to include: maintaining an exercise routine; ensuring enough sleep; taking time to relax; planning and keeping to a budget for gift-giving; and celebrating in moderation.
But if the stress and struggles seem overwhelming, Sailors are encouraged to ask for help.
“It’s ok to reach out and ask for help. In fact, it takes courage to reach out and tell somebody, ‘I’m struggling. I need some help.’ If you take the time to ask for help you can solve your issues and move on,” said Herb.
Sailors are also encouraged to help shipmates navigate stress by taking the time to be a friend and listen.
“Everybody needs a friend,” said Herb. “Everybody needs to be connected with another person. By connecting with somebody, you help them feel better and help them deal with stressors in life.”
Herb reminded Sailors that they can make a positive difference in the life of a shipmate who is struggling by taking a little extra time to A.C.T – Ask if they need help; Care enough to listen, offer hope and not judge; and Treat, take action, get proper professional assistance, and follow up.
Additionally, command leaders can maintain a healthy unit by being familiar with the resources the Navy offers and recommending them to their Sailors who are dealing with stress or thoughts of suicide. These resources include Military OneSource at www.MilitaryOneSource.com and 1-800-342-9647, the Veterans Crisis Line at http://www.veteranscrisisline.net and 1-800-273-8255, Navy Fleet and Family Support Program, Navy chaplains and medical providers.
By looking out for each other and planning ahead, Sailors can make sure that their holidays are happy for themselves and their shipmates.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.