Developing social resilience during the holiday season

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Colin Perkins
  • 319th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs

 As the temperatures drop and holiday season arrives, fostering connectedness within not only the community, but oneself is vital towards developing social resilience.

Social resilience can be defined as engaging and building healthy and authentic relationships that allow you to be who you are, developing aspects that help one feel a sense of belonging.

“There are several ways to practice social resilience,” said Kelly Painter, 319th Reconnaissance Wing Integrated Resilience Office prevention coordinator. “Doing things you enjoy, engaging with the community, celebrating good news with co-workers, friends, or family, and taking care of oneself are all examples.”

An important factor towards developing resilience is to understand and nurture traits within yourself, being at peace while also being able to instill confidence not only helps you with the things you enjoy, but also by being able to help others discover that as well.

Social resilience will also look different for every person. Large gatherings like Grand Forks AFB’s annual tree lighting ceremony may appeal to more extroverted people, or those who enjoy conversing in a busy, lively setting. Conversely, some people may prefer online or small group gatherings that many of the on-base clubs, like the crochet or soccer club offer.

“Another huge factor to remember is to build resiliency throughout different aspects,” said Painter. “Individual goals like going to the gym or picking up a hobby, organizational and community roles like joining a club or volunteering, and societal roles like supporting a cause.”

The Air Force’s Comprehensive Fitness Domains: mental, social, physical and spiritual, are a vital resource that describe factors for developing resilience through actions like making healthy life choices with nutrition, exercise and sleep, having a friend/family group as an outlet, while also providing support; believing in a higher power and most importantly remembering to have a good balance of work and life.

“An important thing to remember is to move from awareness to action,” said Painter. “Showing others what resiliency might look like in your daily life, telling others how you have adapted to certain situations and mentoring them about certain skills that contribute towards building social resilience.”

The spontaneous events of the holiday season also provide a huge outlet to help put these newly learned skills to the test, with the harsh winters that engulf Grand Forks AFB it’s important to remember to stay connected with not only yourself but others as well, help promote the importance of social resilience and help develop a ready and resilient base community.


The helping agencies, Community Action Team, private organizations and individual community members of Grand Forks AFB regularly offer events in a variety of settings to encourage Airmen and their families to come together, converse and try something new. You can find upcoming on-base events on the Wing Events Calendar here: and a consolidated list on the AF Connect app.

You can also find a list of both on- and off-base hobby clubs here:

Grand Forks AFB community members wishing to organize a Wing event can get more information here:

Airmen and DoD civilian employees, both APF and NAF, may also participate in the Air Force’s UNITE program that offers squadron commanders funding for resilience-building and recreational activities, you can find more information here: