RELATIONSHIPSFirehousePlanning For The Expected

Planning For The Expected

By: Geralyn St Joseph – Relationship & Life Coach

Don’t underestimate your day. Each person has only so much ‘bandwidth’ to deal with stress and trauma.

For most people, it’s hard to shift from work mode to home mode. This is especially true after a particularly difficult day. Not every day is going to look the same, so your transition may need to reflect how you are feeling as you approach your home [ or any after-work activity]. First responder marriages are TOUGH but little things like planning a return home from shift, can make big differences.

Do you find yourself being triggered by innocuous things? 

Partner wanting…anything? Kids being loud, laughing, etc? Do you overreact when things are more relaxed? Do these things happen especially when you first get home from work? 

To help us through this time, we can build a transition period into our schedule. We can take steps to cool down, just like we would after a workout. Our muscles and circulatory system need a transition period to work most efficiently, and so does our mind, heart and psyche. 

What would this look like? 

First, be aware of your needs and that of the family. Maybe you need 30 minutes of uninterrupted alone time to decompress. Or you may prefer physical contact. If you have children, this can mean sitting and watching one of their favorite shows/cartoons.  The point is, MAKE A PLAN.

The Plan 

Your plan is essential to support you in times of great stress. Your partner must be involved in creating your plan. Your plan works best when everyone involved knows what it is and WHY you need this. Daddy/Mommy needs some alone time before he/she joins us in the living room. Your plan gives you what you need to be present and ready to engage with your family. 

Don’t underestimate your day. Each person has only so much ‘bandwidth’ to deal with stress and trauma. Although, as someone who has been called to such an intense vocation, you may have more ability to deal with these things, but that doesn’t mean you have unlimited bandwidth. 

Your plan can change. It needs to be flexible to accommodate the flows of life. There will be days when your plan cannot be accommodated.  For instance, you may have a meeting with your child’s school, or your partner may need you for some kind of an emergency.  Even so, having your plan in place long term allows you to have the bandwidth to deal with things that come up on occasion.

Consider what you need to help you feel more relaxed.  You may need to read a book, spend time alone, watch a little television, or maybe you feel most relaxed when your cooking or your partner is helping you.  The point is, that we are all different.  You need to find what works for you.  And doing so with your partner and your family is most helpful.  Taking care of yourself helps you take care of your family and your job much better.

Photo by Joshua Ness

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