Balance key to avoiding burn-out

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. David Hook
  • Commander, 5th Space Launch Squadron
2010 promises to be another challenging year for the 45th Space Wing, with a busy launch manifest and Guardian Challenge right around the corner. This high operations tempo can exact a heavy toll on your health and family life if you fail to forge a proper lifestyle balance.
Consider the recent story of Urban Meyer, the highly regarded University of Florida football coach who announced he was taking an indefinite leave of absence.
Meyer, who led the Gators to two BCS National Championships and accumulated an impressive 56-10 record with Florida, walked away from the game while at the peak of his profession.
Meyer left the game he loved because of declining health brought on by his tireless work ethic and stress; he has reportedly suffered persistent headaches, chest pains, and fainting spells.
Meyer's endless work hours also had taken its toll on his family life.
Meyer, who is married with three children, is now working to find a better work-family balance and to improve his health.
The cautionary tale of the Gator's coach is particularly relevant during this Year of the Air Force Family. Being able to manage a busy ops tempo with our personal life is both critical to a fulfilling life as well as for maintaining our personal readiness. Failure to find that balance can lead to burnout.
Remember that while each of us is critical to achieving the mission, no one single person is irreplaceable. Train and cultivate your replacement so you can take leave without concern for the continued mission.
Likewise, be a good wingman and be prepared to assume the responsibilities of your teammates.
Recognize there's never enough time to accomplish everything that needs to be done. Understand your commander's priorities and know where he is willing to accept risk, and then do the most important things first.
Lastly, time spent on your own health is always a good investment. Good fitness increases your resistance to stress and helps stave off burn-out.
You owe it to yourself, your family, and your team to work toward a healthy lifestyle balance.