Five Tips From an Army Sniper On How To Stay Sane in Self-Isolation
When it comes to self-isolation, snipers are no stranger to the idea of being alone. When on a mission, they can find themselves away from their team for days at a time, all alone. Obviously, being in the field is a little bit more difficult than roughing it out on your couch with a bowl of ice cream and every streaming service known to man at your fingertips.
1st Sgt. Kevin Sipes, a US Army sniper, gave some tips that he uses himself to keep from going crazy.
- Remember Your Mission- "You’re the eyes and ears for the battalion commander. There’s always something to look at and watch.” He said he might not be looking for a specific target through the scope the entire time, but he's watching the roads, buildings, and people, analyzing his surroundings. "Think about the work that needs to be done."
- Break Down The Problem- When he gets in a difficult situation, 1st Sgt. Sipes doesn't look at how many days or weeks, but sets small goals. Make it through to the next meal, count a few hours and minutes away, not days.
- Work to Improve Your Position- 1st Sgt. Sipes said "You're always trying to improve your position. Whether it's improving your cover, looking to make yourself more comfortable, or work on your weapons.
- Take Note of Things You Wouldn't Normally Notice- “What is going on in your own little environment that you’ve never noticed before? There is activity going on, whether it’s the bugs that are crawling across the floor or the mouse that’s coming out of the wall. You get involved in their routine."
- Find New Ways to Connect With People- In the field, snipers typically are accompanied by a spotter, but they can't talk and engage like people normally would. There still can be a sense of confinement from human contact.
“We spend a lot of time doing sector sketches, panoramic drawings of the environment. We always put different objects or like draw little faces or something in there. And, you always try and find where they were in someone’s drawing. We write notes about what was going on, pass information on things to look out for, and even write jokes to one another.”
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