Some people are wired to work in a dangerous job. I wrote about our experiences with this here. Others parent these types, are closely related to them, or marry them. If you’re one of the people left at home, then you probably deal with a heap of worry at times. Whether you have a spouse or parent in law enforcement, a sibling that works as a first responder, or a child in the military, you know what it’s like to deal with worry. You probably have your own set of mind maneuvers to keep your anxiety chained in the cage where it belongs. If you’re like me, though, you can always use some new ideas.
What if you’re new to the Loved-Ones-In-Harm’s-Way Club? Did you leave your wedding night with all your stuff packed in a moving truck to head to a new military base? Are you a parent who recently attended an academy graduation and are wondering what’s next? Welcome to the lifestyle. Here are five ways I’ve found to maintain my sanity when my own loved ones are on duty.
The more I pray, the better I feel. My late mother-in-law was a police dispatcher, and she often sent my husband on intense calls.
When I asked her how in the world she managed to do that, knowing her son had such a dangerous job, she said, “Child, I pray the whole time.”
I’ve been praying ever since. Prayer does not stop bad things from happening, but it gets us through the worst times. I prayed us through day-to-day situations, numerous rescues, my husband’s heart attack, and other rocky times. No matter how terrified I was or am, prayer brings me back to a centered spot where I can deal with life.
If you’re new to the Anxious Loved Ones’ Club, talk to your Higher Power. Often. Trust me. This one is huge.
This is a big one for me. Getting the endorphins kicking helps clear my head and keeps anxiety at bay. More than that, accomplishing fitness goals helps me feel strong. There’s something awful about watching your husband take off on a rescue in a hurricane. It’s empowering to know that you’re strong enough to handle a chain saw and pull downed trees aside so he can make it back home safely. And, God forbid, if that Something Bad does happen, I know that if I’m tough enough to run five miles, I will somehow come out on the other side whatever the outcome.
Sometimes it’s okay to check out from what your loved one does for a living. Your worry is not keeping him safe. So pledge to forget about his or her dangerous job for a certain amount of time each day. I started my married life waiting up for my husband every night he got called out. Some weird part of me thought I could get him home in one piece if I was present on the front porch.
Needless to say, I was tired. And evil. I had to change tactics.
If you stay anxious, then allocate some time each day to forget what your loved one does. Start with a couple of minutes. Promise yourself you can get back to your worrying when that time is up. Extend the denial time a little each day. Before you know it, you’ll feel sane. You’ll also be well-rested. Everyone will thank you. True story.
Make some art. Turn your worry into something pretty. When our son was out doing some dangerous tasks for a few months, my husband took to wood-working. He would disappear into his shop and would tell me how clear his mind felt there. We’ve all reaped the benefits of his beautiful art, and he’s made some money. Bonus!
Art, writing, sculpting, making candles, creating soaps, and/or scrapbooking are ways to Turn Your Concern. The art you create from your worry is also a gorgeous message to your loved one about how much you love them.
Your loved one did not start doing this dangerous job, whatever it may be, without excellent training. People don’t generally head off into harm’s way without some background knowledge of how to stay alive. Military, police, fire, and first responder training is pretty awesome. I’d go so far to say that our people have the best preparation in the world. That’s probably why so many international students come over to learn skills from our loved ones in harm’s way. Trust the training. It will carry them through.
Staying sane while your loved one is busy putting his or her life on the line is no easy task. Hopefully, these ideas will help. What methods do you use to keep yourself calm? Leave them below in the comments!
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