Robins Proud: Fighting holiday blues

  • Published
  • By Kisha Foster Johnson
  • Public Affairs

Learning how to bounce back from adversity was the focus of the last Robins Proud forum of the year.  It was held Dec. 16 at the Refuge at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.

Col. Brian Moore, Robins Installation Commander, Col. Rosalie Duarte, 78th Air Base Wing vice commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Carlos Labrador, 78th ABW command chief, led the discussion about the importance of being resilient

“It’s a relevant topic given the holidays, the ongoing COVID-19 fight we are in, as well as the personal challenges we face. We are better together,” said Moore. “We assembled a great panel of leaders that come from different perspectives - mental, physical, social and spiritual resilience.”

Team Robins experts gave words of advice about overcoming troubled times and remaining strong.

Stuart Bapties, 78th Air Base Wing Violence Prevention integrator, suggests scheduling a time to video chat with someone who may be feeling alone.

“The holiday season is difficult for people, even in normal years, but in 2020, we have a lot of people struggling this season from isolation because they are not going to visit their families,” said Bapties. “I encourage people to reach out to their co-workers before they leave for the holiday. Let them know how much you care and that you want to see them after the holiday.”

The Integrated Resiliency and Prevention Program Office started focusing on resiliency in April and that is when the H.O.P.E. campaign was created.

H.O.P.E. was designed to help Airmen who are battling fears and anxieties. H.O.P.E. stands for Help is available; Opportunity exists, People care; Expect good things.

Keeping a healthy mental state can also be achieved through spiritual resilience said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Matthew Boarts wing chaplain at the Robins Air Force Base Chapel.

“The author, C.S. Lewis, in his book ‘The Problem with Pain,’ makes the point that people were relying on religious faith and spiritual fitness long before the invention of anesthesia, modern medicine and modern pain relievers,” said Boarts. “The point is our spiritual fitness does not shrink away from problems, but it activates and gives us strength to meet those problems.”

The chapel offers many ways to build spiritual resiliency and connection.

There will be in-person Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services for different denominations inside the chapel, but with limited seating.

Those interested can reserve a seat by going to the chapel’s Facebook page. While some struggle with resiliency, others have trouble pushing their plates away.

Registered Dietitian Kendra Hill with the 78th Medical Group Health Promotions office suggested eating a healthy snack and drinking a large glass of water before attending any festivities.  Doing so, will help a person feel full and eat less.

If you get carried away consuming too many calories, Patrick Stone, 78th Force Support Squadron exercise physiologist, recommends exercise to keep the holiday blues away there is something you can do, exercise.

“Exercise has a profound impact on the immune system, as well as improving your mood. So after eating a meal, get to moving,” said he said “Walk at least 10 minutes after each of your three main meals to get your metabolism going. This is another way to get in the minimum 30 minutes of exercise we all should strive for daily.”

A staple of the Robins Proud forums is honoring Gold Star families and remembering their loved ones killed in action.

On June 23, 2007, 22-year-old Senior Airman Jason Nathan of Macon, Georgia, was killed in action while deployed in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Nathan, a member of the 48th Security Forces Squadron, was riding in a convoy vehicle when they were struck by an improvised explosive device.

“He was an awesome Defender. He had a big personality and loved being an Airman,” said Moore. “He was awarded the Security Forces Airman of the Year at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, prior to deployment.”

Nathan’s mission was to train and protect Iraqi police officers. His dream was to work for the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

A gate at Lakenheath was named in Nathan’s honor.

“He was resilient in so many ways and will never be forgotten,” said Moore.

The forum can be viewed