Taking time to reflect, relax Published Jan. 22, 2013 By Lt. Col. Travis Edwards 344th Air Refueling Squadron commander MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- The "Ravens" of the 344th Air Refueling Squadron directly support the wing's mission by delivering mission ready Airmen, skilled in KC-135 Stratotanker operations to combatant commanders "Anytime, Anywhere!" Our squadron performs this mission with what appears to be great ease, but time spent away from home can be a challenge. Our crewmembers must continue to professionally excel while away from their loved ones. So how do we continue to support the warfighter without fail? We must take time to reflect and relax. The time spent on the road away from family and friends can easily detract from the mission if we don't maintain balance. Reflection is the act of looking back at previous events or personal experiences with the goal of learning and growing. It allows us to maintain a balanced life and continue to grow despite a high operations tempo. Have you ever really considered the power of reflection? When we look back at events in the past, they may invoke a variety of feelings. Regardless of the emotion that we feel, we should take time to ask ourselves questions like what worked? Why did it work? How could we have done things differently in that situation and, more importantly, how we will approach that situation should we approach it again? Reflection offers us the opportunity to learn and grow from past experiences. What is great about reflection is that we can do it throughout our day; we can reflect while driving to and from work. We can turn off the television and take some time to reflect. It doesn't cost anything, but is a key element to continued growth and health. Another important element to maintaining our battle rhythm is taking time to relax. In order to maintain a high level of mission focus, we must find time to simply relax, which means relief from negative tension; in short, not thinking about your job. We all have different ideas about what represents a relaxed state of mind, but it is important to dedicate time to relaxation. The holiday season was a busy time for our wing, and we then rolled into the installation excellence award visit. We are now in the process for preparing for our operational readiness exercise. As you can see, the fast-paced rhythm of our wing will continue in the short-term. With whatever is happening in your life that keeps you busy, it is important to find the time to reflect on our many achievements and find the time to relax to ensure we continue to excel as a wing.