Disaster workers have usually been through professionally training and are capable of handling different kinds of emergencies. However, the commitment to help and the demand to push through limits may make some disaster workers fail to recognize the need to care for themselves at and after work. Keep in mind that self-care will not only benefit yourself but also your colleagues and those you want to help:
Maintain a close contact with other colleagues and be each other's keeper. Watch and see if anyone is over-stressed.
Open up yourself at work and cooperate with other colleagues. Minimize the pressure interpersonal conflicts may bring.
Arrange frequent and short breaks away from the scene if possible. Relax and set aside all worries and pressure from work during the break to replenish your physical and mental energy.
Abandon the common thoughts that will hinder self-care, for example:
- "It's selfish to take a break."
- "I must keep working and make the biggest contributions possible."
- "I'm the only one who can accomplish these tasks."
In case of a prolonged operation, try to maintain regular patterns of sleep and diet. Stay hydrated and have sufficient carbohydrates intake.
Monitor your stress reactions. If there is anything unusual, contact your supervisor immediately to seek help. Over-stretching yourself will only bring harm to your own health and jeopardize the quality of disaster work.
Jot down key information on notepads if necessary. This can help spare mental energy and organize your work.