By Amber Porter
For seven months, Sailors assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 9 travel from their home station in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii to Sigonella, Sicily to perform operations and missions for the Sixth Fleet. During these seven months, Sailors face stress, long work days, upwards of 18 hours, with little downtime. Many lament about missing their families, their liberty, their pets, and so much more.
This stress isn’t just related to the Sailors of VP-9. A 2010 study done by the Navy’s Personnel Command interviewed 2,800 military members. 82% of these Sailors said they had ‘some’ or ‘a lot’ of stress in their jobs, compared with 58% of Sailors in 2005. An interesting note on this data was that the greatest difference was in the percentage of Sailors who said they had ‘some’ stress, 44% compared with 30% in 2005. Another significant increase was sea and shore duty for military members. 86% of sea-based enlisted Sailors report stress in the ‘some’ or ‘a lot’ categories compared to 74 shore-based enlisted.
What this data means for Sailors is that perceived stress is a real health hazard, and finding a way to combat that stress is becoming more important. The study did find that Sailors were already utilizing some healthy habits to relieve stress. According to the Mayo Clinic, a more productive way to relieve stress is to exercise, laugh more, get social, and learn to say no in order to assert yourself. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, one stress-reducing exercise that can help in more ways than just one is yoga. Yoga has been known to improve overall fitness and even manage chronic conditions, such as heart disease and high blood pressure.
The study also found that some Sailors may look toward unproductive ways to release stress, such as drinking or smoking. With the harmful affects of these habits, there are healthier sources to help relieve stress and anxiety while deployed. Navy Combat and Operational Stress Control has developed a program known as the “Stress Continuum”. More information can be found at http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmcsd/nccosc/serviceMembersV2/stressmanagement/pages/default.aspx
Rosenfeld, P., Braddock, L., & Patrissi, G. (2010, May 18). Navy OSC Assessment – PowerPoint PPT Presentation. Retrieved December 1, 2015, from http://shareanalysis.org/view4/4eba20-MWE2M/Navy_OSC_Assessment_powerpoint_ppt_presentation
Stress Management. (n.d.). Retrieved December 2, 2015, from http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmcsd/nccosc/serviceMembersV2/stressmanagement/pages/default.aspx
Stress management. (n.d.). Retrieved December 2, 2015, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relievers/art-20047257
Yoga for health. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Retrieved December 2, 2015, from https://nccih.nih.gov/health/yoga