We continue to work toward our goal of taking and passing a PT test; however, we both notice that it is not as easy as we thought it would be. Initially, our motivation was high and our day-to-day jobs were a little less hectic since we were still new and it was the holiday season. Now, our work days are much busier and our bodies have various aches and pains from increased exercise and working under-used muscle groups, which makes working out tougher. We remind ourselves that progress is slow, and we respect that our bodies need a bit more recovery time now than they did when we were in our twenties and thirties.
It gets us thinking about service members in the National Guard. Active duty service members typically do PT together in an organized group, and as a required part of their daily work routine. Guard members, on the other hand, often live and work apart from each other, and must rely on their own initiative to maintain their physical fitness in order to pass their PT test. It makes us very much appreciate their commitment, dedication, and self-discipline to being in the National Guard. They inspire us, along with a deep desire not to flunk, to keep chugging toward our goal.
We have received so many good tips and strategies for building our strength and physical fitness. It is interesting to note that all of these tips and strategies are helpful, yet different. Each takes a unique approach to accomplishing the same goal or task. We see the same occurrence in mental fitness. There are varied ideas about how to maintain mental fitness and increase coping skills; all good, yet different. We compiled a list of coping skills, some that are our favorites and some that are borrowed from others:
• Ask for help
• Create a support system
• Accept imperfection / Be gentle with yourself
• Take a relaxation break
• Monitor inner thoughts
• Take care of your (physical) health
• Have a friend and be a friend
For more ideas and suggestions about coping and emotional health, check out: https://www.jointservicessupport.org/PHP/Emotional.aspx
Commentary by Courtney J. Lynch and Tracy K. Ward, Psychological Health Coordinators