Sharpening the Sword

  • Published
  • By Lisa Delgado, Director of Psychological Health
  • 439th Airlift Wing

“Sharpening the Sword”; an ancient phrase that, at its foundation, identifies the importance of preparation and self-care. Sharpening the sword refers to maintaining the “tools” used to carry out our mission. Maintaining our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual selves is the foundation that allows us to be fully prepared to carry out our mission.
Self-care habits are those preparation steps we take that result in responding productively to life’s ups and downs. Self-care habits include what you feed yourself physically, and your physical activity; as well as the emotional, mental and spiritual health activities you engage in. We have a physical body and need regular physical maintenance; we have emotions, minds, and spirits that need emotional, spiritual and mental health maintenance.
What we feed our bodies, minds, emotions and spirits will determine how prepared we are for adapting to the demands placed on us.  Investing in our health in all four areas mean we are prepared to adapt and grow in life’s challenges. Through this we develop wisdom and peace, knowing that we have the capacity to handle the demands placed on us. Mental and emotional health come from having meaningful social connections, and developing our coping and problem solving abilities.  We do this through engaging in activities that enhance self-awareness, personal development, intellectual growth, spiritual growth and connectedness.

Wingman Day will be in May again, and is an opportunity to connect with each other, build resiliency as a team, and discuss coping skills and strategies. Connectedness and a sense of belonging are key to our resilience. At a minimum, connectedness as Wingmen is treating each other with dignity and respect. At its best, it is connection and a sense of belonging in our AF family. Consider where your unit is on this scale. AFRC’s 2019 Wingman Day focuses on the resiliency skill “Balancing Your Thinking” (BYT). This lesson is about having a balanced approach to how you interpret and respond to people and situations. The lesson also covers how we all have “thought traps” that we develop, like a tendency to see things in extremes i.e. things are all good, or all bad.  Interpersonal conflict often arise from thought traps and poor communication. The BYT lesson emphasizes knowing that we each interpret information differently; when we know where our thought traps are, we can anticipate these and more effectively communicate and interact with others. Promoting balanced thought processes in this way enhances resiliency and productivity. 

Engaging in self-awareness activities like Wingman Day discussions promote well-being, connectedness, and resilience skills.  When a unit engages with each other in a meaningful way, members of the unit are more connected, have a greater sense of belonging, and the skills to meet the demands of the mission. Real resiliency is about these factors. This doesn’t mean that all members are friends, but it does mean that they function more effectively with less discord.

Additional activities for developing mental, emotional and spiritual health include: participating in base helping-agency initiatives (Victim Advocates, Green Dot trainers, Special Emphasis Program etc); professional development; spiritual practices; recreational activities. These kinds of activities create meaning in our lives and connect us to each other and the world around us.   

Self-care habits keep your sword sharpened and maintain your readiness. The base helping agencies have an abundance of resources to help you build your skills and help get you back on track when you get out of balance.

Please let us know how we can help! 
Lisa Delgado, Director of Psychological Health, 557-2456

Base Helping Agencies are located in Building 1100
Airmen and Family Readiness 557-3024
Chapel 557-3031
Director of Psychological Health 557-2456
Sexual Assault Response Coordinator 557-3862

24/7 National Resources:
Veterans Crisis line and National Help Talkline 800-273-8255/ veterans press 1
Military OneSource 800-342-9647
Federal EAP 800-222-0364