I grew up in a healthcare/first responder family and am still in one with my husband being a first responder. It’s a difficult place to be, but here are some things to keep in mind and hopefully find some validation and support for what you are going through.
Circle of Control
Being on the front lines during natural disasters or crises, you are used to being in control of a lot of things. Whether it is battling a fire, getting someone out of a wrecked car, bandaging a wound, or working all hours of the night. You are used to staying busy when things feel out of control to everyone else. Although you are still in that role, the circle of what you can control is different than other disasters, and it’s OK to feel anxious. Remember, you can still control some things! Let’s focus on those.
You can control the safety precautions you are taking within your scope of work. You can control what information you are taking in (or not). Don’t add stress about things that are not necessary right now. Focus on the information given to you by your management team. Focus on the immediate task in front of you. Don’t get lost in the jungle of information you can’t do anything about.
Trust Your Training
You have spent years in preparation for this! Maybe this exact situation wasn’t in your mind during school or your years of work. Nevertheless, you have been preparing and you ARE prepared to be on the front lines. Lean on that. Lean on your training that told you how to handle crisis situations. Remember how instructors talked about keeping your calm. Hold onto those teaching moments when your mentors told you about how they were calm in the storm during crises in their time. This is now YOUR time. This is YOUR teaching moment.
Caring for the Caregiver – YOU!
I know you are good at caring for others and going above and beyond what is required. But who cares for the caregiver when they are out of commission? That would be professionals like myself and your loved ones. We are here to take care of you! To help keep you from burning out. Keep you functioning. Look over your list of priorities and what you feel like you need to do. Honestly evaluate…is there something you could take out? Is there something you could delegate? What can you do that gives you more energy to handle what’s going on? Maybe you need to take some more time to yourself in between calls. If you are a gym rat, make sure you still get your work outs in. If you are having to miss time with your family, make sure you still video call them as much as you can. Hold on to those things that give you a sense of normalcy and remind you why you chose this career in this first place. It’s not for everyone, but it’s for you, and you are exactly who we need during this time. Breathe. Hang in there. You’ve got this.
If you or your family need additional support during this time. Please reach out to us and we will be happy to talk with you and be the responder you need. You can reach us 832-421-8714.