Soldier’s Goldmine

Nuggets to Keep you Informed

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Don’t Let Stress Affect Your Health

By Else Seifu
The Bayonet & Saber

According to the American Psychological Association’s 2012 Stress in America survey, 65 percent reported work was a major contributor to stress. Whether you love what you do, any job can have some stressful elements and for some it could be overwhelming. Stress can be both physically and emotionally harmful and can impede your goal to lead a healthy lifestyles.

You may not always be able to dodge the tensions that occur at the work place; however, you can take steps to manage work-related stress. The Mayo Clinic offers the following tips to maintain perspective:

  • Get other points of view. Talk with trusted colleagues or friends about the issues you’re facing at work. They might be able to provide insights or offer suggestions for coping. Sometimes simply talking about a stressor can be a relief
  • Take a break. Make the most of workday breaks. Even a few minutes of personal time during a busy workday can be refreshing. Similarly, take time off when you can – whether it’s a two-week vacation or an occasional long weekend.
  • Have an outlet. To prevent burnout, set aside time for activities you enjoy – such as reading, socializing or pursuing a hobby.
  • Take care of yourself. Be vigilant about taking care of your health. Include physical activity in your daily routine, get plenty of sleep and eat a healthy diet.
  • Seek help. If none of these steps relieves your feelings of job stress or burnout, consult a mental health provider – either on your own or through an employee assistance program offered by your employer.

Through counseling, you can learn effective ways to handle job stress.

For more health and wellness tips like the Fort Benning Community Health Promotion Council on Facebook Benning-Community-Health.

Counseling, Coaching, and Mentoring — A “Leaders” Responsibility

Counseling, Coaching, and Mentoring: During our Inspector General Inspection and staff assistance unit visits, we have observed overall deficiencies in the areas of Counseling, Coaching, and Mentoring. Deficiencies in these areas sometimes lead to leader and individual Soldier issues that could have been avoided or prevented. The primary references for Counseling, Coaching, and Mentoring are FM 6-22, Army Leadership – Competent, Confident, & Agile, October 2006, and ADRP 6-22, Army Leadership, August 2012. According to FM 6-22, leaders have three principal ways of developing others:

  • Counseling – occurs when a leader, who serves as a subordinate’s designated rater, reviews with the subordinate his demonstrated performance and potential, often in relation to a programmed performance evaluation.
  • Coaching – the guidance of another person’s development in a new or existing skill during the practice of those skills.
  • Mentoring – a leader with greater experience than the one receiving the mentoring provides guidance and advice; it is a future-oriented developmental activity focused on growing in the profession.

Of these three developmental methods, counseling has the most direct effect on reducing potential leadership and individual Soldier issues. When we encounter IG issues, regardless of the circumstances, we typically find that proper counseling has not been conducted. This trend represents an Army-Wide issue that can be mitigated by actively involved leaders who acknowledge that counseling is a non-negotiable requirement central to leader development and professional growth. According to FM 6-22, there are three types of counseling that are used:

  • Event Counseling – Covers a specific event or situation. It may also follow events such as an exceptional duty performance, a performance problem, or a personal problem (always use DA FORM 4856, Aug. 2010).
  • Performance Counseling – Review of a subordinate’s duty performance during a specified period. Performance counseling is required under the officer, noncommissioned officer (NCO), and Army civilian evaluation reporting systems.
  • Professional Growth Counseling – includes planning and discussion for the accomplishment of individual and professional goals.

All three types of counseling are essential. Performance Counseling and Professional Growth Counseling can help to reduce the frequency of Negative Performance Event Counseling. Let’s work towards creating an environment where leaders emphasize the importance of counseling, coaching, and mentoring and Soldiers expect to be counseled, coached, and mentored.

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