It’s safe to say that the world as we know it has been turned on its head at the moment. You may be coping with anxiety over a host of things, financial, personal, or what will happen to your dreams of a Firefighter career.
You might be feeling a sense of ‘unreality’, heightened stress, even panic. You may be frustrated and upset that due to circumstances outside anyone’s control, 2020 is unlikely to play out like you’d planned.
You’re absolutely not alone – everyone will be feeling a similar way during these scary and surreal seeming times.
DON’T see it as a bad reflection on yourself, or your character, if you’re finding things difficult to deal with at the moment. It’s all a lot to take in.
Maybe you started self-isolation positively, setting yourself new goals. So many people share photos or posts of them doing daily workouts, learning something new or signing up for online courses – there can be a pressure to ‘keep up’.
It’s great to use the time productively.But don’t beat yourself up if you find it hard to stick to your routine (or if your enthusiasm flags) in these first few weeks. Let yourself settle into the ‘new normal’ and take everything in – this way you’ll be able to bounce back to getting on track faster that taking on too much and burning yourself out.
Don’t compare yourself to others, especially not on social media! What people post may not be a true reflection of what’s actually going on – in fact, it’s more likely it isn’t!
Some tips for coping, and using your time positively:
- Put limits on your time online. By all means stay informed, but obsessively scrolling through news stories won’t do your mindset much good. There are also a lot of unreliable sources online, and misinformation and scaremongering are rife on social media.
- Keep in touch with family and friends – even if you feel this isn’t something you’re good at! A phone call, video call or message can make a difference to someone’s day, and chatting can help your own mood too.
- Don’t feel guilty for resting. Tiredness is a natural response to stress. If you need to grab a nap in the middle of the day, and have the opportunity, then take it.
- Hear us out…but why not try some meditation. Yes we know, this may not really be your thing. But it really can help. Start off small, maybe with an app like Headspace which allows you to build up from only a few minutes a day.
- Feel like you’re having a panic attack? Try grounding yourself by distracting your mind. Name the five things closest to you, speaking out loud. Or five things made of metal you can see from where you’re sitting, five words to describe your pet cat even! The point is to distract your mind and relax your body – it may sound a bit strange but it really works.
- Limit communication with toxic people. You don’t need more negativity and stress in your life. Have a Facebook friend who constantly shares the wort kind of articles, or a gloomy WhatsApp group? Mute them, or leave the group.
- Keep moving! Try to do physical activity every day. This could mean a home workout, or even just getting moving at home – clearing out that spare room or overfilled cupboard you’ve been ignoring or giving your car a clean.
Remember, Firefighters are known for their ability to keep calm and carry on, in the most harrowing and challenging of circumstances.
You may be worried about how this will affect recruitment if you’re currently looking to apply – rest assured that the world will always need Firefighters, and even more so with currently serving firefighters being drafted in to help with other emergency services.
These suggested coping strategies aren’t just useful for self-isolation and the current pandemic, they can be adapted and applied to any period of your life when you’re experiencing difficulty.
We’ll keep you updated here at FRS Development, and remember out team are on hand to answer any questions you might have.
Here are some useful numbers and online resources if you need some advice or a friendly ear:
Anxiety UK 03444 775 774
CALM (for men struggling with their feelings) 0800 58 58 58
Samaritans 116 123
And this is a useful article for those worried about their rights and finances here.