FORT KNOX, Ky. – While the holiday season often brings joy and excitement for many, it can also be a stressful and sad time for some.
It’s important for people to find ways to stay resilient during the holidays and the 1st Theater Sustainment Command’s Special Troops Battalion chaplain offered a few tips he’s drawn from his own experiences over the years.
Chaplain (Capt.) Jeremy Davis talks about the four Fs and their relation to Christmas. He explains how faith, family, finances, and food all have their price.
Recounting several lessons learned based on personal experience, Davis encourages everyone to make thoughtful decisions this holiday season by asking themselves, “How much is this going to cost me?” – both in dollars and sentiments.
As a Lutheran Chaplain, Davis celebrates Christmas in the Lutheran faith and finds his resiliency in that Christian faith-based celebration. He hopes that members of 1st TSC will attend their own faith services to find a community that’s very welcoming this time of year, he said.
“Faith is the foundation of holiday resiliency for me,” the chaplain said.
Having that place of feeling grounded in the good times and the bad is something that Davis described faith is for him and for a lot of people. He notes that it is very apparent this time of the year, especially since this holiday season is historically faith-derived for many different religions.
“This is not a time to be alone,” Davis said. Besides the church community, Soldiers always have their Army family, and they’re not going anywhere! Whatever group is your community, Davis wants everyone to “take a knee,” and relax with them a bit.
Everyone isn’t able to go home for the holidays. Single Soldiers might not have leave to visit parents or other close family. Those deployed are not able to be with their children or spouses. Whatever situation keeping families apart, faith can also help them maintain resiliency during difficult times of separation
During this season, many people enjoy spending time with immediate and extended family. However, Davis also said that sometimes being with family can become stressful, especially if they do not fulfill expectations; so he cautions to avoid family overload.
Families often have holiday traditions, in addition to just gift giving. “Watching a movie together on Christmas Eve is one of my family’s traditions,” Davis shared.
Continuing those traditions or starting a new one are good ways to enjoy time together.
There is the literal financial question relating to how much money is available in a family’s budget for gifts or travel during this time of year. Finances are a common source of stress as there may be an issue with the commercialization of the season and gift-giving expectations. Travel can be expensive if four family members want to fly across the country to visit loved ones, so it’s not always doable.
It’s important for people to understand where they are financially and to make responsible choices they are comfortable with during the holidays to help manage stress.
Davis recommends evaluating how much something will actually add to our wellbeing.
Finally, food can be a big part of seasonal and holiday traditions. Davis said that it’s easy to eat a few too many cookies this time of year. Balance and moderation can allow the opportunity to sample desserts and other foods.
“We eat some cookies now and then freeze some to enjoy later,” Davis said.
Davis wants Soldiers to enjoy the holiday food, but he encourages them to be mindful about their indulgence since there is a mandatory height and weight in January for the 1st TSC.
While enjoying the four Fs this Christmas, Davis wants us to save some for the two months following the holidays and to remember our Army family and our teammates who are deployed.