5 Mental Health Tips for First Responders During the COVID-19 Pandemic
When you think of a “high-stress career,” the first thought that might cross your mind is a first responder. The nature of the job has first responders consistently exposed to emergencies. In the best of times, it is challenging to keep your mental health in check. Doing so during the pandemic can seem downright impossible. Here are some COVID-19 pandemic-specific tips to protect your mental health as a first responder.
Don’t isolate yourself. Make sure to check in with your family and friends regularly. Establish a support circle, and be sure to keep in contact with them regularly and frequently. Luckily, we live in a time where we can connect virtually - take comfort knowing that your closest people are just a text message, phone call, or video chat away.
Don’t confine yourself at home. As much as possible, try to seek a change in scenery, especially when you feel “stuck at home” during a lockdown. Be sure to spend time outside (safely), taking walks, getting fresh air and sunshine whenever possible.
Expect stress. Anticipate the periods in which you are likely to experience stress. Prepare for them as needed. For example, if you know that you are working a double shift on Wednesday, be sure to plan for adequate rest on Tuesday and Thursday.
Develop a care plan. As we now understand very well, mental health and wellness are closely tied to physical fitness and wellness. This means eating well, staying hydrated, sleeping adequately, and frequent exercise will not only do wonders for your body - it will nourish your mind, as well.
Seek support. When all else fails, know when you need professional assistance before it is too late. It is essential to know your own body well enough to realize when you need to let go and seek help.
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