First Responder Partners: Taking Care Of Yourself
As First Responder Spouses we often look after everyone else before ourselves. We can fill in our calendar with roles and responsibilities, forgetting to put ourselves on the list. It is no wonder we can end up feeling resentful, exhausted, overwhelmed, irritable and run down.
If you feel this way, I want you to know there is hope.
You can feel energetic, alive and passionate about the life you are living again!
How do I know? Because that was me ten years ago as a First Responder wife, homeschooling my children, working part time and caring for everyone else except myself.
If it is one thing going through PTSD as a First Responder Family taught me, it is that we CAN do hard things. ALL OF US. We can come out of it better than we entered it. When we choose to grow through the struggle, something new is rebirthed within us and our family.
In this season of our life, in this pandemic, it has brought grief, loss, discomfort and physical isolation. It has left us feeling uncertain, less connected, out of control, helpless and even powerless at times.
It has also brought an opportunity for growth, resetting and renewal within ourselves, our family, our community and our home.
As women, we are the glue that holds a family together. Growth might start with us, as First Responder Spouses, reclaiming ourselves.
As the seasons turn right now, we bear witness to growth. The renewal of spring emerges around us from the sleeping winter. Warmer days, grass turning green, buds on trees, baby birds and animals being birthed. It is a season of growth, birth and renewal. I have been grateful for the dependability of the seasons this year. When everything else seems unsure, we can count on May to bring May flowers.
How has this pandemic SERVED you? How has it been FOR you? What have you gained CLARITY on? What areas of GROWTH have become identified for you?
I have heard from many First Responder Spouses the relief of not juggling a million different things. The falling away of roles and responsibilities to volunteer at school, bake cookies for the bake sale, sell fundraising tickets, and be a million different places at once has brought peace. I have heard the shedding of these activities has brought a new perspective of how they were spending their valuable resources of time and energy.
First Responder Spouses what are you responsible for? In this week of mothering I want you to ask your sweet selves what is on your plate? What roles have you accepted? Who are you caring for? Most importantly how are you nurturing yourself, every day?
If you tell me, like most First Responder Spouses there is no time for you in a day, I want you to sit down and fix that right now. Look at your schedule, where can you plug in YOU? How can you commit to show up for yourself daily with ONE thing?
Choose a day and write down all the tasks and roles you perform in a day. Next day look at that crazy list and ask yourself what can go? What roles have you taken on out of guilt that doesn’t bring joy? What tasks are other people’s responsibility that you have picked up? How are you spending your time that doesn’t serve you or align with your values?
As First Responder Spouses we care about people and our community. We pick up our partner’s and children’s responsibilities maybe because it’s easier or will be “done right" if we do it.
Write down what a perfect day would look like if you only spent your time, energy and resources on the things that light you up. What roles, tasks and responsibilities are in this dream day. Assess what you can cut from your life that is not on that list. Maybe it’s holding a family meeting, to give family members back their responsibilities. Or a plan to step back from roles you have taken on in the community.
Take Back Your Schedule.
While we do not know with predictability when this pandemic will be over, we can start to assess what we are willing to put back on our plate when it is. The slate we have now, the schedule we have now has more white space. Think before you commit, take on a role or responsibility. Ask yourself how it will serve you. What are you saying no to in order to say yes to this. Is it taking time away from you, your family and time to do things you value and bring you joy?
Show Up For Yourself.
In this season of growth, what is one area you can create a daily habit and commit to do ONE thing each day?
Physical: Drink water? Focus on your nutrition? Try some new recipes? Move your body? Go to bed early?
Emotional: Write your story? Start a blog? Gratitude Journal? Art? Music? Conversation time with your partner and friends? Focus on Positive Self Talk? Tele-therapy session?
Intellectual: Inspiring podcasts, books or online courses? Puzzles, board and card games?
Social: Plan an ‘at home’ date night as a couple and family?Connect, while physical distancing, with neighbours or coworkers? Zoom calls with friends and family?
Spiritual: Online study, classes, courses and small groups? Daily devotions? Prayer? Meditation? Quiet time of Reflection?
Occupational: How can you find purpose, meaning and joy in your work whether a stay at home parent and/or working professional? Find balance to contribute between family, friends, work, and also yourself?
Commit To YOU.
Choose ONE thing you are going to do this week daily. Reach out and tag us on social media to share accountability of doing your ONE thing.
Happy Mother’s Day to you who are a mother, love and/or nurture those around you. Our hope is you will also feel cared for as you take time for yourself to be refreshed so you can show up as your best self, as the mother, mentor, caregiver, person you desire to be.
We have the following resources available if it might support your First Responder Family:
- Our 5 tools FREE download includes coping and grounding skills list, we hope it might be a helpful resource for your First Responder Family.
- Consider trying our Meditation Free download for you. It is a favourite amongst my First Responder Family clients. I hope it might be a helpful resource for your First Responder Family
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