Emotions are often triggered unexpectedly. What happens in the next few seconds following a trigger determines the difference between whether an individual will react or respond. A reaction typically provokes more reactions that seem to have no end. On the other hand, a response typically provokes discussion that can lead to resolution. The more reacting we do, the less empowered we might become.
Stress in the workplace and at home is a reality for many first responders. Left unchecked it could impact your health in negative ways. Stressors have a major influence upon mood, our sense of well-being, behavior, and health. (Schneiderman, Ironson, Siegel. 2005)
Taking a few minutes each day for yourself can have a great impact on your overall health and wellbeing.
Meditation may actually help to reduce stress, improve focus, mood and even sleep.
Firefighters report that studying for promotion can lead to poor sleep habits, neglecting exercise, and unhealthy dietary choices. These individuals gain weight and see their fitness levels significantly decrease during this time. Many firefighters have difficulty losing the excess weight and regaining their pre-exam fitness level. These changes are often permanent and affect physical performance for the rest of their career.
'Tis the Season...
This is typically the season where there is a lot of emphasis placed on giving and being with loved ones. While spending time with loved ones and giving can be a great thing, this is also a time that can be extremely triggering, sad, and difficult for many people. It is easy to find oneself stressed and experiencing burnout during this time as well.
Public safety personnel are at an increased risk for stress related issues, including PTSD. While PTSD is linked to trauma exposure, not everyone who experiences or is exposed to trauma will have symptoms severe enough to warrant a diagnosis of PTSD. Often times, however, public safety personnel may instead experience chronic stress in response to repeated trauma exposure.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health issue that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. After being involved in traumatic events themselves or witnessing traumatic events, it is common for most people to experience symptoms like upsetting memories, bad memories, and trouble sleeping (ptsd.va.gov). However, if the symptoms continue longer than a month or several months, a diagnosis of PTSD is possible and you would want to meet with a mental health provider for accurate assessment and diagnosis.
We’ve all heard the word “mindfulness” being thrown around lately as if it’s a new trend. The truth is, the practice of mindfulness has been around for quite some time! Traditionally and historically practiced in Western cultures, the practice of mindfulness has been shown to have numerous benefits. Mindfulness, depending on who you ask, can have several meanings. However, at the most basic level, the concept of mindfulness simply means intentionally and purposefully paying attention to the present moment without judgment (Kabat-Zinn, 1994, as cited in Williams, 2017).
A program run by the National Volunteer Fire Council. They have a help line, text based help service, and have also collected a list of many good resources for people looking for help and support.