There’s no question that firefighters sometimes endure large amounts of stress on the job. The amount of physical and emotional stress they can experience can sometimes be quite debilitating, not to mention the risks they face with regards to the health of their lungs.
Firefighters often work irregular hours and have to remain on call all night long. While on duty, they face the risk of heat exhaustion, serious injury, and smoke inhalation. The state of anticipation as they respond to an emergency can also be stressful.
In this post, you’ll see some key ways on how to manage stress and improve one’s overall well-being while working as a firefighter.
How to Recognize and Accept Stress
Some firefighters may indeed suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The first step towards dealing with this particular condition is to recognize its signs. What this often means is that you have an honest conversation with your doctor to see if you have any symptoms of this condition.
Unfortunately, some firefighters may refuse to acknowledge that they’re stressed or are suffering from emotional disturbances. As risk-takers, they’re unlikely to disclose emotional turmoil as this is usually viewed as a weakness. Some of them may resort to self-medication while others may become moody, emotionally volatile, and withdrawn.
All this can be prevented if one recognizes and admits the signs of stress. When correctly identified, chronic stress can be managed before it gives way to mental and physical problems.
Stress Management Techniques
There are Critical Incident Stress Debriefing Interventions among firefighters. Although they are useful in supporting these professionals to increase their emotional resilience, they need more than this.
Other stress release mechanisms for firefighters can be used at a personal level, such as the following:
Exercise, both light and intense, is often a great approach to dealing with stress. It applies not just to firefighters but everyone who’s trying to manage their stress levels.
Regular exercise is effective at clearing the mind from cumulative stress. Firefighters should be on the lookout for training programs that encompass workouts for firefighters. It would help to create a routine that builds on core strength and balance.
Pick Up a Hobby
Having a hobby to pursue can also significantly help to reduce stress. Bird-watching, fishing, writing, painting, and playing music are some excellent activities that can bring happiness if practiced regularly. Feel free to think outside the box to see what it is that you deeply enjoy doing on your days off of work.
Quality Time with Family
Friends and family can be handy in helping firefighters overcome stress. Talking to them and knowing that someone cares can go a long way.
Firefighters can undergo a lot of stress and trauma in the course of their work. Without a supportive circle, it can be very challenging for them to overcome their situation. While they can get professional help, it also helps to take action on a personal level too. Good exercise, eating right, practicing mindfulness meditation, and talking it out will go a long way in helping to reduce their stress.
Here at Psych Times, you’ll find a plethora of articles related to psychology, mental health, and overall well-being. Our goals are plentiful and include increasing the awareness of mental health, educating the public about why people think and behave the way they do, as well as helping to counteract the unfortunate stigma associated with mental illness.