An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Take time to rest

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Marcus McCall
  • 451 AEW Chaplain's office
A story is told of two men. One had been a lumber jack for 40 years and the other served in the same capacity for one year. The younger lumber jack was known around the town as one of the fastest tree cutters in the area. He had broken every record in the business, except the record that was held by the older lumberjack. It bothered the young man that he couldn't beat his superior. Although he was highly regarded in the town, he knew he would never reach the status of the elder lumberjack if he didn't break his record for cutting trees. So, with this desire to beat him, he challenged the older lumberjack to a race. He challenged him saying, "Whoever cuts down the most trees in an hour will be crowned 'The King of Lumberjacks.' The older lumberjack hesitantly agreed. The race was on!

From the beginning the younger lumberjack was on a rampage cutting every tree in sight. One by one the trees fell. The older man seemed to move as slow as a snail. It was a foregone conclusion that the younger man had won the race; however, once the race was over the elder lumberjack had more trees than the younger lumberjack. With a puzzled look on his face the younger lumberjack asked the elder man, "How in the world did you beat me? I was cutting twice as fast as you." The older worker wiped the sweat from his brow, took a sip of his water, and then began to grin. He said, "Young man, the reason why I won was because while you were so busy chopping down all of those trees I took time in the middle to sharpen my axe."

In this high ops tempo we are bombarded with daily duties. Most of us work at least 12 hour shifts- if not more. There is never a dull moment. We are constantly on guard. The mission here is great. It is because of those things that we feel the need to constantly be on the run. We always feel the need to do a little extra. With all of the great things we do here, it comes with a price. By the end of the work week most of us are exhausted. Most of us have given our all, and we are running on "empty." This is why many of us are given a day off- to rest.

There is no substitute for it. Energy drinks can only last you for so long; power naps can only carry you for so far. When was the last time that you took time to "re-sharpen your axe?" When was the last time that you took time for you? When was the last time that you stayed away from work on your day off? For most of us we can't remember. When we don't get the proper rest that we need we are no good for the mission. Think about it: what good are you to the mission if you are exhausted? What good are you to people if you are always grumpy (a side effect from no rest)? And what good are you to yourself if you are not rested? We tend to think that if we don't show up, things won't go as smooth.

NEWSFLASH: The mission will go on without you.

The planes will still fly on your day off. The customers will get served. You don't have to be on every scene. The show will go on. So the next day that you have off (if mission permits) take the day off. Do something for yourself, even if it's just lying in the bed all day, or reading a book, or watching a movie, or going to the gym, or Skyping your family. Recharge your spiritual, physical, and mental batteries. You'll feel much better after you do. You'll be a greater asset to the mission, to the people that you serve, and most of all to yourself. You matter too!