Can you believe we’re already at Thanksgiving time of year? Don’t blink . . . Christmas is coming soon! This newsletter sets up some history of the holiday, some ideas for your kids to consider and some funny quotes from some of our best comedians and famous people. Next month, we’ll return to a Podcast. Happy Thanksgiving!!
What do you do when you don’t know what to do?
Wait, wait, wait! That is probably the hardest thing to do. People want us to act and act now. The problem is, God may not be finished putting all the pieces together, yet. Big we jump in too early, we mess the whole thing up. Can you wait and see what will happen, or will you act first and watch how you mess the whole thing up for God? Hmmmm, what will you do?
Disaster Relief – What To Expect As First Responders Return Home
As first responders begin to return from Hurricane Harvey, it is vital that we pay attention to their well-being. Large scale disasters demand significant physical and mental amounts of energy that public servants readily give of themselves. However, the recovery process for these amazing first responders is frequently overlooked. If you are a public safety professional who has deployed to the hurricane, a family member, friend or colleague, here are some things from Dr. Tania Glenn, PsyD and LCSW, to consider:
First responders take about half a second to ramp up mentally and physically. The fight or flight response is immediate and vital to the roles that first responders take on during dangerous and even life-threatening situations. Coming off the response however, is very different. Think of this analogy: launching into response mode is fast like a microwave, with immediate heat and energy. Coming off response mode is like an oven that has been cooking at 500 degrees cooling down, slowly and gradually.
During Harvey, all first responders utilize the fight or flight response, which involves the sympathetic nervous system and copious amounts of adrenaline, glucose and cortisol. In the aftermath of the activation, rescuers will experience the counter effect of the fight or flight response, which is a parasympathetic nervous system backlash. This means rescuers hit the wall. They get very tired and irritable. They sometimes catch colds or simply don’t feel well. At the same time, they also begin to deal with reality as the sights, smells and sounds begin to replay in their minds.
Please understand that human beings are not light switches. We don’t simply “turn off” an experience and “turn on” normal life. We ask that every first responder give himself or herself time to recover.
For First Responders:
- Specifically, please consider this:
- Get rest. Take plenty of naps if you are not sleeping well through the night.
- Stay hydrated.
- Take Vitamin C and zinc to help prevent or shorten the nasty cold you might have.
- Talk to your family, your peers, peer support or a clinician.
- Resist the urge to skip the gym. Yes, you are tired, but moving your body is the best way to get the fight or flight chemicals out of your system.
- Resist the urge to drink too much. Heavy intoxication will only make matters worse.
- If after two weeks you feel like you are not beginning to return to normal, get help immediately from a clinician who understands public safety.
For Family Members:
- It is important to give first responders the time and space to return to “normal life.” Try not to overwhelm them with requests in the first few days. They will need time to restore their resilience.
- If there were issues at home while your loved one was away and you are notifying him/her, be sure to include the solutions that are being implemented. For example, if your 10th grader is already struggling in biology, let your loved one know what steps are being taken for tutoring, etc.
- Understand that your first responder has seen significant human struggling. They will come home with a perspective that the little things in life that don’t matter REALLY don’t matter. It is likely that they will have little tolerance when the kids are arguing over what video game to play. They are dealing with a sharp contrast of reality coming from where they have been.
- Don’t be surprised if your first responder has no desire to go out in public for a few days. They have been over-stimulated by noise, people and chaos for several days.
- Understand that your loved one might not want to talk about it. It’s ok for little snippets to come out here and there, and also for them to be more inclined to share with their fellow first responders versus family members.
- Don’t take it personally if your loved one tells you that he or she wants to go back. This is normal. The work is very meaningful, much needed and ongoing in disasters. It is normal to want to return to continue to help.
For Coworkers and Supervisors:
- Be there for your colleagues as they return and allow them the opportunity to discuss what they have been through without judgment.
- Understand that they will view the normal workday as mundane for a while. Considering what they have been through, it is normal for returning first responders to be frustrated with the tempo, the paperwork and the protocol. They will feel restricted compared to where they have been.
- Encourage them to get help if things are not returning to normal.
- The main thing to remember is that it takes time and effort to restore your resilience after a disaster deployment. Also please understand that it is normal for all of the issues to crop up a bit later down the line. The delayed response is due to the fact that many first responders employ a healthy amount of internal numbing, and when the numbing wears off, the reactions occur.
Please take good care of yourselves and reach out to CIT / Peer Support Team or Chaplains if things are not improving.
Those Who Would Do You Harm – Psychologically
Believe it or not, there actually are people out there who would do you harm, psychologically. They want to make sure you believe everything wrong is wrong because of you. This article is about the tools and tactics of those who would choose to create within you a sense that you are the problem, not them and their way of thought.
Be aware, there are difficult words that are not culturally appropriate and may make you cringe. However, work through the article because the information contained within the article will help you to not be duped by those who would use these tactics to cause you to doubt yourself.
Whether they be friends, family or spouse, we need to all be aware of the psychological techniques of those who would choose to do us harm
Identifying the Spiritual Needs of Your Student in Today’s Culture
Many parents today are asking the question, “I know my teenager is entering a difficult world. How do I help my teen continue to be strong and encouraged?” This article can help you with some suggestions for understanding what comes up in your teen’s life and ways you, as their parent, can understand and guide them in these difficult times.
Parenting With Intention
What does it mean to parent with intention or purpose? It means making a plan for bringing up your child and sticking to that plan. This article is not an exhaustive study, but perhaps it can give you some ideas. Also, there are resources at the end that can give you further help in parenting with intention.
Raising Children Alone
If you are a single-parent, you are to be praised. Most of us would be so intimidated alone that we’d probably go crazy. But you! You have been given the great responsibility and joy of raising a child or children alone while being given an enormous task. This article will help you find a way forward if you haven’t found one and give you some tools that will help you through this time, as well.Raising Children Alone
So, You’re Going to Have a Teenager
How do you prepare your child for the teenage years? For that matter, how do you prepare yourself for those years? This study will give you some helpful information to answer both of those questions. Fear not! These years can be great and fulfilling for both of you.
Introducing Your Child to Faith
Our children are so precious to us that when they have a need or desire, we will bend over backwards to make sure they have the most helpful and best quality service. The spiritual life is certainly as important as any other part of life, if not the greatest since it is an eternal decision. As parents we sometimes don’t feel qualified or comfortable helping our children in this area. Nothing can be further from the truth. This article is a help to parents who are wanting to lead their children to faith.
March Chaplain’s Chat Newsletter
So many of us have recently been going through grief for one reason or another. This newsletter is dedicated, mostly, to that subject. I’m praying that some of what you find in this newsletter will be helpful to you if you are going through grief, or helpful to you when you find yourself dealing with people who are grieving. This is certainly not exhaustive, but perhaps it can be a beginning to give you information in order to deal with grief.