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NEWS | June 7, 2024

JBAB hosts all-inclusive retreat to combat burn-out and promote wellness

By Airman Shanel Toussaint

– The Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling Chapel hosted an all-inclusive wellness retreat weekend in Herndon, Virginia May 3-5, 2024.  The event was led by Air Force Lt. Col. Meosha Wilson, the 11th Wing Joint Base Senior Chaplain at JBAB. More than 45 service members, military family members and Air Force civilian employees participated in the three-day event, which prioritized mental wellness and burnout prevention.


With a commitment to provide attendees with essential tools for stress management, the retreat aimed to instill a lasting skill set to foster healthy coping mechanisms. This initiative emphasized JBAB's dedication to the mental well-being of its team, offering not just temporary relief, but tangible strategies to navigate the demands of military life.


Wilson emphasized the importance of filling your own metaphorical cup. “You can’t serve the mission if you have nothing to pull from within yourself,” Wilson said.  “The best way to prevent burnout is to be proactive about effectively managing stress and prioritizing your mental wellness.”


From stress-management courses that equipped the participants with invaluable coping strategies to spa treatments, yoga and paint therapy, each session was tailored to promote an atmosphere of prioritizing mental vitality. 


Paint therapy served as a creative outlet, allowing team members to express themselves through art. Many participants said they realized that this session was their first time painting in their adult life. 


“My wife and I have been together for 20 years and this is the first time she has ever seen me paint,” said Master Sgt. Anthony Forrester from the 11th Civil Engineer Squadron at JBAB.


Through this therapeutic practice, the attendees found relief from stress and fostered emotional resilience, enhancing their overall well-being and mission-readiness.


Overall, the wellness retreat served as a vital resource for participants by offering practical strategies to tackle the challenges of military life head-on and equipping attendees with tools to boost mental resilience and combat burnout. "Through this process of self-reflection, I gained valuable insights and expanded my toolkit of coping strategies.  It enables me to develop a practical self-care plan that resonates with my core values," said Kristina Hernandez, the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program Manager at JBAB.


By promoting proactive self-care and providing actionable solutions, the JBAB wellness retreat emphasized the Air Force’s commitment to ensuring the health and vitality of the team.