A house fire is one of the most stressful events anyone can ever experience. Whether it’s a small kitchen fire or a whole-home inferno, seeing the place where you live in flames is incredibly distressing. Once you know everyone is safe and the firefighters have extinguished the blaze, the stress levels taper off slightly – but there’s still a new, overwhelming job ahead of you: getting life back to normal.
Navigating the route back to normal can be very difficult on your romantic relationship. All of a sudden, plans and routines have been disrupted, a tremendous list of new expenses have to be dealt with, and every member of the family has to work through their own complex set of emotions associated with the fire. Children and adults often experience nightmares and insomnia; in some instances, there may be fear, grief, anger or blame associated with the cause of the fire.
Knowing this, you can take steps to help your relationship stay strong throughout the recovery process. These steps include:
Keep The Communication Channels Open:
Everyone handles stress differently. Some people want to talk, while others prefer to process in silence. Let your partner know you’re open to hearing about their feelings throughout the recovery process – but don’t press them to talk if they’re not ready.
Recruit a Support Team:
You’re going to be bombarded by people asking you how they can help. In the moment, it can be hard to think of anything – but in the days and weeks to come, don’t be afraid to reach out to those who have offered to help you. Something as simple as watching the kids for an afternoon or picking up the dry cleaning for you can slash your stress levels – and the less stressed you are, the easier it is to get along with your partner.
Pick a Fire Restoration Company:
There are many fire restoration companies who will help you get back on your feet after a disaster. The disaster recovery process can take some time. You want to work with someone who will keep you informed about what’s going on, and how to help your family cope through the process. Many couples’ fights start when one partner or the other has a question that they can’t get the answer to, generally about the timeline or the finances. Having someone who will answer your calls or emails makes all the difference.
Understand cycles of grief:
It is common for people to experience several stages of adjustment including shock, anger, depression and hopelessness. Ultimately, however, people can reach a stage of acceptance and become able to move beyond disbelief, bitterness and sadness. Positive feelings can begin to re-emerge as the focus shifts towards the future. Safety, security and comfort are regained, and life moves forward once again.
In the middle of a crisis, it can become difficult to take care of yourself with so many other worries preoccupying your mind. However, this is a good time to think about your personal resiliency, healing and a sense of normality. Some self-care strategies you may want to consider are:
- Practicing proven stress-reduction techniques, such as regular exercises, meditation and deep breathing.
- Allowing yourself to feel bad, cry and release negative emotions in a healthy manner.
- Giving yourself permission to feel good. You can have periods of joy even when coping with loss.
- Making small decisions daily in order to feel in control of your life once more.
- Putting off major life decisions, such as switching jobs, if possible.
- Lowering your expectations of what you “should be doing.”
- Not isolating yourself too much. Spending some time with people is healthy in recovery.
- Talking about your ordeal with friends and family.
- Taking advantage of community support.
- Consider talking to a therapist
- Focusing on what you are thankful for in spite of your loss.
- Staying away from unprescribed mood-altering substances, such as alcohol and other drugs.
- Getting plenty of rest when possible and maintain a normal sleep/wake cycle.
- Eating well-balanced meals.
Take A Break & Get Away:
After a fire, it can seem like every waking moment of every day is consumed by dealing with its aftermath. It’s very important to build some time into your schedule where you don’t have to even think about the fire. Getting away with your partner for a walk in the park doesn’t sound like such a big deal – but simply taking a break and changing the scenery can do a ton of good for your well-being and happiness.
Find Ways to Laugh:
Laughter is not only great stress reliever, it builds bonds between people. Laughing with your partner is a great idea all of the time, but it’s particularly important after a disaster. Watching a comedy or visiting with your favorite funny friends helps boost your emotional resilience – essential for recovering after a fire.