What Does ‘Self Care’ Look Like for Maintainers?

Self-care is a necessary aspect of life, but is it feasible for an aircraft maintainer to incorporate it into their busy schedule?

Social Media and Self Care

The topic of self-care has become increasingly prevalent on various social media platforms and in the news.  COVID-19 brought about a significant shift in people’s perspectives regarding work/life balance. With many individuals being forced to work from home during extended quarantine periods, the importance of self-care has gained popularity. Nowadays, people recognize the value of taking time to recharge and maintain a healthy work/life balance. But is that possible for an aircraft maintainer who doesn’t make their own schedule? 

Working from home or attending virtual meetings has proven to be efficient for many individuals and businesses. However, this is not a feasible option for maintainers who engage in physical jobs. Rest and relaxation are crucial for maintaining one’s mental and physical health. But jobs that are highly stressful require even more self-care and rest to balance the pressure.

Air Force Aircraft Maintainers work on a plane

Maintainers perform some of the most challenging jobs.They are working on the flightline and are responsible for people’s lives. Self-care opportunities may not be as possible for them, since most maintainers lack control over their schedules and cannot take time off. Especially for something as simple as “needing to recharge.”

Even the Big Wigs Agree

The Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force (CMSAF) weighed in on the importance of self-care, stating that it is a necessity.

She did not provide any guidance on how members of the Air Force can ensure this for themselves. It’s easy to suggest something when you have control over your own schedule, but it seems that self-care will remain just a suggestion for maintainers. That is, unless real steps are taken to make it a reality for service members. Especially those in working-class career fields – which are the backbone of the service.

So, what does this mean for maintainers?

Maintainers have a job that requires consistent commitment. They often seek promotions and apply for extra positions just to gain a little more control over their work lives. The best way for a maintainer to ensure they have time for rest and recharging is to rise to a level where they have actual say in their schedule.

Ways to Get Ahead

There are several ways a Maintainer can get promoted:

  1. Time in Service and Time in Grade: One of the most common ways to get promoted is by meeting the minimum Time in Service and Time in Grade requirements. These requirements vary depending on the rank and can be found in the Air Force Enlisted Promotions References and Requirements Catalog.

  2. Completion of Professional Military Education (PME): Completing PME courses is also a requirement for promotion to certain ranks. These courses include the Airman Leadership School (ALS) for promotion to Staff Sergeant, the Noncommissioned Officer Academy (NCOA) for promotion to Technical Sergeant, and the Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy (SNCOA) for promotion to Master Sergeant.

  3. Performance: Airmen who demonstrate exceptional performance in their duties, leadership potential, and overall professionalism are often recommended for promotion ahead of their peers. Hint: You can use Aircraft Maintainer’s Host a Course tool to get noticed!

  4. Awards and Decorations: Earning awards and decorations, such as the Air Force Achievement Medal or the Air Force Commendation Medal, can also demonstrate exceptional performance and increase an Airman’s chances of promotion.

  5. Additional Duties: Taking on additional duties or responsibilities, such as being a trainer or a subject matter expert, can also demonstrate leadership potential and increase an Airman’s chances of promotion.

Although we at Aircraft Maintainer cannot guarantee that you will make Chief, we can help you get certifications that will make you stand out when you apply for your next promotion. Obtaining tangible items such as the FCC General Radio Operator License or the FCC Global Maritime Distress Safety System will bring you one step closer to having a voice and gaining control over your schedule, making self-care something achievable in your life.

Examples of Self Care to Get You Started

Since self-care is important for everyone, but not everyone knows where to start, here are some examples of self-care ideas that we use at Aircraft Maintainer:

  • Exercise Regular exercise can help reduce stress, improve physical health, and boost mood. Activities like weight lifting, running, or team sports can be great options for those who enjoy physical activity. Click HERE for an article on some great Stress-Relief Work Outs.

A Man stretches after exercise, on an open air porch

  • Grooming Taking care of one’s physical appearance can be a form of self-care. This can include activities like getting a haircut, trimming facial hair, or using skincare products to maintain healthy skin.

a man looks in a mirror, spraying on cologne

  • Hobbies Pursuing hobbies or interests can be a great way to relax and recharge. Examples of your hobbies might include woodworking or blacksmithing, or outdoor activities like backpacking, hunting, or fishing.

a man does blacksmithing in his shop

  • Mindfulness Practices like meditation, deep breathing, or yoga can help reduce stress and promote relaxation. Mindfulness can be particularly helpful for those in high-stress jobs or situations. Click HERE for a quick “Manflow” Yoga Stress Relief video.


a man does yoga in downward dog

  • Socializing Spending time with friends and loved ones can be a great way to connect and recharge. Activities like going out for a drink or playing a game of pool can be enjoyable and relaxing.

a group of smiling men, having a good time


Remember, self-care is not one-size-fits-all, and what works for one person may not work for another. It’s important to find self-care activities that are enjoyable and effective for you.

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