Fire season is a busy time of year for firefighters. They must stay alert and prepared, which means they can’t afford to let their mental health slip. Firefighters are under pressure to perform well at work, but it’s also critical that they don’t get burned out. Learning tips on how to take care of your mental health during fire season can help you avoid becoming exhausted by all the demands that being a first responder brings with it.
Take Time for Yourself
As a firefighter, you will be exposed to stress and pressure. In order to stay healthy, it’s important that you take time for yourself when your shift is over or before the next one begins. This can mean simply catching up with friends and family or indulging in leisure activities like going for a walk or watching your favorite movie.
Finding a Quiet Space
Create your own quiet space. Find a room that’s free of distractions and keep it free of clutter. If you can’t find a single room, create a quiet space in your workspace with pillows, blankets, or even screens if you want to block out sound. Anything that provides some privacy and comfort will do the trick.
Use this space as needed to decompress after work or during busy times of the year, like fire season. You can read in the space, listen to music, meditate or pray. Whatever helps you relax is fair game.
Focus on Mindfulness
When the world seems to be falling apart around you, mindfulness can help you stay grounded and focused. Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judging them as good or bad.
When you allow yourself to become mindful of your experiences on an ongoing basis, you develop greater insight into your self-defeating thoughts and actions. As a result of this insight, you can gain more control over how you react when faced with difficult situations.
When firefighters are mindful during fire season, they are able to:
- Focus on their immediate task regardless of what’s going on around them
- Stay calm in emergency situations where others might panic because they’re not allowing their emotions to dictate how they respond
- Identify dangerous situations before they arise so they can avoid putting themselves or others at risk
- Accept reality entirely, including things that may not be acceptable by society’s standards but which happen anyway, like fires
Social media can be a great way to stay in touch with friends and family when you’re on the go. Try using platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to share exciting news about your experiences as a firefighter and your life outside of work. You can also use these platforms for more personal communication.
It’s also important to keep up with hobbies outside of work. It’s easy to get caught up in being an active firefighter, and it’s important that you stay focused throughout the fire season. However, make sure not to neglect other aspects of yourself.
Hobbies are an excellent way for firefighters to relax after long shifts at work. Try taking time out of each day, even if only ten minutes, just for yourself. Do something creative like painting or drawing, go running, read a good book, take up photography, whatever works best for you personally.
Focus On Sleep
When you’re facing a long and busy fire season, sleep is essential. It’s a great way to unwind and relax your body, mind, and soul. Sleep also helps you stay healthy and maintain important relationships with friends and family members who rely on you.
Here are some tips for getting more sleep this summer:
- Go to bed at the same time every night so your body can get into a regular sleep rhythm
- If you need help falling asleep at first, try reading or listening to music until your eyes become heavy
- Don’t take naps during the day if possible; napping can interfere with nighttime sleep patterns by disrupting circadian rhythms
- If napping is necessary, keep it short, no longer than 30 minutes
- Create an environment conducive to restful slumber by turning off electronics well before bedtime or leaving them outside altogether, dimming lights in the room where you’ll be sleeping, and using soft music instead of loud noises
Think About What Makes You Happy
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it can be challenging to remember what makes you happy. Take some time to reflect and make a list of things that bring you joy. Then, look at ways that you can incorporate more of those activities into your daily life.
If spending time with friends or family is something that makes you happy, ask people if they want to spend time together and then set up a date or plan an outing. Or, if reading is your thing, consider setting aside some time every day, either before bed or during lunch, so that it becomes part of your routine and doesn’t feel like a chore. You’ll probably enjoy the activity even more than usual when it’s scheduled.
The fire season can be stressful for firefighters, but it’s essential to take care of yourself so that you can take care of others. Firefighters are often faced with challenging situations that can take a toll on their mental health.
It’s essential for them to take care of themselves to continue their work without compromising safety or effectiveness. During this busy season, it is crucial to focus on your sleep, doing things you like to do, connecting with friends and family, creating a quiet space for yourself, and supporting the other firefighters around you. The long grueling hours can start to take a toll on you and your mental health.
If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health during this busy fire season, reach out to Acera Health. Our evidence-based programs can help you find mental wellness. Call us today at (949) 647-4090.