Tag Archives: holidays

Thrive During the Holidays wrap-up: keeping the momentum going in 2014

Over the past few months, the Navy Operational Stress Control team has provided a variety of resources to help Sailors and families Thrive during the Holidays. While many of those resources were geared toward navigating the stress of the holiday season, the heart of each is applicable all year long—from seeking to have better control of your budget, to strengthening relationships or committing to healthier living. Don’t let your efforts to thrive fall by the wayside (like so many New Year’s resolutions do). Reflect on the strategies that worked best for you and try to incorporate them into your daily life and routines in 2014. Empower yourself to take control of stress proactively so that you can enjoy all that life has to offer. Challenges may emerge, but with a strong sense of self, the support of your community, and guidance from the Five Principles of Resilience, you can make 2014 your best year yet.

If you find yourself in need of something to make you smile this year, take a look at these wonderful coloring page submissions from our NORAD Tracks Santa collaboration (artists ranging from ages 1 to 35!). Here’s a recap of our Thrive during the Holidays blog posts and Navy.mil stories:

Navy Announces New Holiday Stress Navigation Campaign, ‘Thrive During the Holidays’
Food Savvy for the Holidays
Spring forward, fall back and THRIVE
Taking the Stress Out of the Holidays while your Spouse is Deployed
Helping Navy Families Thrive During Deployment
Thank Your Body this Thanksgiving
Thankful to Serve Those Who Serve
Balance Your Holiday Spending
Unwrap Some New Tools this Holiday Season
December is Impaired Driving Month
Sailors and Families Track Santa
Getting Ahead of the Humbugs
Comfort Foods Can be Healthy, too
Resolving to THRIVE in the New Year
The Credit Card Statements Are In…Now What?

Stay tuned for more from our NavyTHRIVE campaign in 2014! In the meantime, check out the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center’s NavyTHRIVE infographic.

Navy Operational Stress Control would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of our guest bloggers who contributed to the “Thrive during the Holidays” campaign. We appreciate your continued support.

Balance Your Holiday Spending

Stacy Livingstone-Hoyte, AFC®, is an experienced Financial Counselor who has worked extensively with U.S. Armed Forces members and families. She is a recent volunteer blogger for Navynavstress.com, but contributed previously while serving at the Fleet and Family Support Center, Millington, Tenn. Prior to government service, she worked as a Financial Services Representative for several brokerage and insurance firms. As a military spouse, Ms. Livingstone-Hoyte knows firsthand of the financial challenges and opportunities that face military families across the globe. To that end, she embraces a steadfast belief that financial success can be simple, just not easy.

To be prepared is half the victory.” – Miguel De Cervantes

 Tis’ the season… the decadent smells, the embrace and comfort of friends and family, boxed surprises and gasps of excitement! But before you dedicate yourselves to holiday festivities, do your due dilligence and address the matter of personal finances. What is your holiday financial plan?

First you write down your goal, your second job is to break down your goal into a series of steps, beginning with the steps which are absurdly easy.” – Fitzhugh Dodson

Develop your plan. Set your goals to be both qualitative and quantative and start with something as simple as stating that a total holiday budget for gifts and related expenses will be $1,000. With this in mind, evaluate where you are financially. Do you already have funds set aside, or are you already near your goal? If you plan on using credit, ensure that you have the funds set aside to pay in full before you make your purchases, or pay immediately after purchase. This type of accountability will not only tame uncontrolled holiday splurging, but will also reduce stress.

Balance your expectations. This is, perhaps, one of the biggest challenges to financing the holidays. It is important to share your expectations with whom you celebrate the holidays so that they recognize your limitations to help guard against feeling overburdened with unrealistic expenses, subsequent disappointments, and worst of all, unplanned debt. You can do this in a number of ways – a sitdown chat with those involved  about your planned total holiday budget or by creating affordable gifting pools, such as a white elephant gift exchange. Travel plans, accomodations and the like are other areas to address, as well.

Maintain your checks and balances! Adhering to a plan can bring additional challenges that can test your resolve – balancing your wants versus needs. Do your best to not give into  the “I deserve just this one more item” rationale, or the “it’s just money” line. To keep yourself in check and balance, try these simple suggestions:

  1. Write down your goals and plans.
  2. Do your homework – look for price matching opportunities, coupons, deals, etc.
  3. Make your shopping list, and check it twice.
  4. Time and target your buys to get the best deals.
  5. Track your spending, progress and failures.
  6. Consider homemade gifts or gifts of time.
  7. Remember your plan and your limits.

All of these tips can help you firmly ground yourself in the reality of the holidays and reward yourself with reduced stress and increased feelings of accomplishment. So, before you commit your hard-earned dollars, take care of these fundamentals first: build your emergency cash reserves and budget your interests to secure your household before additional spending is done. Consider this remorseful soul’s words of wisdom:

If I had known
There would be this woe
Then I would have planned
Oh forgive me so!

1. Holiday Budget Calculator
2. Holiday Budget Worksheet

Thankful to Serve Those Who Serve

Lt. Byron Johnson is the Command Chaplain on USS COMSTOCK (LSD 45). After entering seminary at Baylor University in 2004, he became a chaplain candidate serving with the Navy Seals, Coast Guard and at the Naval Academy. Upon graduation in 2008, he finished chaplain school and became a chaplain in the reserves for two years, serving in Panama and Japan. In 2010, he came on active duty and served with the Marines, completing a tour in Afghanistan in 2011. Chaplain Johnson resides in San Diego, Calif., with his family.

Growing up with our neighborhood kids, we enjoyed nothing more than exploring the creek behind our homes that led to the great Trinity River, free to venture out like Tom Sawyer and friends.  Much like those childhood memories, we are blessed with the opportunity to explore the world with our Shipmates, our second family… our home away from home.

I am honored to write about how thankful I am to our Sailors and families. Military life is not always an “easy” path, but the lessons learned from our predecessors and those we pass to our future generations are how our military thrives.

For me, I feel so blessed to serve in my path and explore the world. Growing up, two of my greatest role models were my grandfathers. One was a pilot in the Navy during World War II in the Pacific, and while he never mentioned his time in the service, I know he felt honored and blessed to have served our country. He was our spiritual leader in our family and loved to serve others. My other grandfather served in the Army during World War II and was captured by the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge. After months of captivity, he and a few others escaped. My grandfathers’ war stories, their resilience and faith, inspired me… their sacrifice planted a seed of service in my heart.

Our nation’s military and especially our Navy (no bias here!) are the finest in the world. It’s the Sailors, Marines, Airmen and Soldiers who give it their all protecting our freedom day after day. The sacrifice of these men and women and their families is at the heart of our nation’s past, present and future.

At this season of Thanksgiving, I am truly thankful for your service to our country and the sacrifice that our families have given to support us as we continue our mission. I am thankful to God for our protection and for keeping us on track.

As I reflect on my childhood, I also remember my mother reading me a book called The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. I was inspired by the dedication and friendship the tree provided the young boy throughout his adolescence and adult life. The tree was the boy’s trusted agent and served him by giving everything she had so that he could succeed. What a great story to remember as we continue to serve our God, family and country throughout the year.

Thank you, Sailors and families, for your devoted service.  Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Chaplain Byron Johnson

Food Savvy for the Holidays

The holidays are fast approaching and before you know it you’ll be waking up to the dawn of a New Year. Recognizing that the last thing you will want is to make your New Year’s health resolution more difficult to start, attain and manage, the best thing you can do for yourself and your family is to carry out the old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Set yourself up for success! Start now by staying food savvy, realize your holiday eating habits and focus on the dining experience rather than gorging on multiple plates of food. “It’s all about give and take,” says Lt. Cmdr. Amit Sood, OPNAV N17 Dietitian. “Know yourself, realize that if you tend to enjoy meal times a bit more during the holidays, either watch your portions or balance your intake with a little more physical activity time, perhaps with the family or with those close to you.”

Here are 5 simple strategies and tips for staying healthy and resilient through the holidays:

  1. Don’t shop hungry! Grocery shopping when you’re hungry can lead you to buy those unhealthy foods you crave instead of opting for the healthier choices.
  2. During meal times, serve a generous portion of veggies first (fresh and/or cooked), then the main entrée with the sides and keep room for fruit as dessert.
  3. At parties or potlucks, savor a bite or two of every food item by making a ‘sampler’ style plate instead of piling up the plate with just one or two of your favorite items.
  4. Don’t starve yourself for that large meal later on! Snack on nutrient packed veggies and fruit (fresh, dried, canned, etc.) throughout the day so that you’ll be less likely to overeat during evening meal times.
  5. Incorporate a 20 minute walk with your family each evening.

These strategies can help you thrive during the holidays and reduce unwanted post-holiday stress.

For more tips and strategies visit:

  1. Navy Nutrition Resources has several resources that can help you stay energized during the holidays and curb the negative impact to your body—and mind.
  2. Navy Operational Fueling Series outlines how to choose the right foods and portions—something we can all do a better job at during the holidays!
  3. Eatright.org Holiday Eating has several articles on eating healthy during the holidays.

Rear Admiral Herb offers Stress Tips

In the following video Rear Admiral Martha Herb, Navy Personnel Command Director, offers several tips for Sailors and their families on how to navigate stress.