What is truly essential

  • Published
  • By Chaplain (Capt.) Timothy Dahlstrom
  • 446th Airlift Wing Chaplain Corps

Spring isn’t typically a season of high stress.

It is usually in the winter months that we struggle to keep a good attitude amidst the gloomy weather, but 2020 hasn’t exactly been a year of typical, normal, or ordinary.

The last few months have brought a great deal of uncertainty and change. Everyone has been impacted by COVID-19 in the United States in ways that, as 2019 closed out, we didn’t imagine. Thousands have lost their lives, hundreds of thousands have lost their health, and millions have lost their jobs in this health and emerging economic crisis.

During every UTA, I have the opportunity to speak to numerous squadrons within the 446th Airlift Wing, and my message is often the same: “You are not alone. Reach out to the people around you; listen, share, live life and if you need to, pause, take a deep breath and give your mind a minute to reset.”

Now more than ever, I believe in the importance of these little reminders to be resilient.

Are you feeling strong as you take life one day at a time, or are you overwhelmed by these circumstances and starting to shut down? For most of us, I’d guess that we are a little bit of both, feeling confident and strong at times and later ready to run away when a new update comes out on the news.

This spring has been a season of talking about what is essential.

In my civilian role working in law enforcement, I happen to be an employee on the “essential” list in Washington State and have continued to work through this pandemic. There are days when I feel confident and strong, almost like nothing has changed, and days that leave my head spinning, trying to grasp this new “normal.”

As the word essential becomes all too common, we need to remain focused on what really is essential. My faith, family, and friends are the most essential aspects in my life. They bring a sense of normalcy to these topsy-turvy times, even though both relationships and my faith community have gone mostly virtual.

Take five minutes today and ask yourself: What is essential? What do I need today to make myself stronger?

The reminder I give during every UTA, to put in the work to be a resilient person, is even more important today.

Remember, you are not alone.

Reach out to your Chapel team if you need a listening ear, talk with neighbors from an appropriate distance, and utilize technology to connect with friends and family. Take a few minutes each day to find new ways to engage with community.

 It’s good for you and good for others.

Remember to seek out available resources if you have needs in this time. The 446th has financial advisors, Airman & Family Readiness team, and Psychological Health available to help you.

In addition to accessing the community that surrounds you, remember to be intentional to pause and let your mind relax. Try breathing exercises or meditation, read a book just for fun, or do some push ups to take your mind off what is happening.

Doing something for just a few minutes every day to help relieve stress will have a significant impact.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve already deep cleaned the house, planted a garden, and picked up a new hobby or two. Keep it up. Find the things that bring a sense of normalcy and move forward one day at a time.

Whether you need spiritual guidance or a listening ear, your Chapel team is here for you.

Remember to check on your family, friends, neighbors, and the people you work with here in the 446th. The more we work together as a team, the stronger we will be as we walk through this season of life.