"Los Angeles Firefighter Talks Burnout, Depression, and How To Rise From The Ashes"

Sean Percy Travis, a Los Angeles Firefighter sat down with MDF Instruments to talk about burnout, depression, and how to combat both. The number one cause of line of duty death among first responders is suicide. As a firefighter himself Sean knows all too well the high stress environment, the sleep deprivation, and the long shifts that first responders face. He created Functional Hero to combat the breakdown of the first responder's vessel, through strategic physical implication of recovery and biohacking practices. Check out this informative podcast episode! Whether you are a student facing burnout, a first responder, a healthcare worker, or in the military, you will find helpful advice on how to get through your toughest days!

MDF Interview - Sean Travis
MDF Interview - Sean Travis


SPEAKERS: Sean Percy Travis and Brooke Smith

Sean Percy Travis 00:00
We found out that the number one cause of death of line of duty death for first responders; a job that's a calling that's supposed to be the best in the world is suicide; And it's not even close comparative to you know, in fires or even cancer, stroke, heart disease. It's suicide. Begging the question, what are we doing wrong? This isn't an overnight thing. This is a chronic thing. This is something that doesn't happen overnight like we're doing something wrong our lifestyle that's leading us to this point.

Brooke Smith 00:36
Hi everyone on behalf of MDF Instruments Welcome to our crafting wellness podcast. And today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Sean Percy Travis for everyone who doesn't know who you are. Can you kind of just give a little rundown of yourself?

Sean Percy Travis 00:52
Yeah, Sean Percy Travis I live in Southern California in the beautiful city of LA I'm in one of the beach cities for most of you guys are familiar. It's gorgeous down here full time firefighter paramedic at the engineer rank been a first responder now for a little over 12 years. And also dive in all walks of life. You know, I love music, love the beach activity, sports, you know anything active, reading. I'm a little bit of a science geek and which kind of parlays into the next topic of you know, the company has started functional hero towards health and longevity practices for first responders. Yeah, happy to be here Been a long time affiliate with MDF and yeah.

Brooke Smith 01:33
Amazing. Yeah, I can't wait to dive into all of this stuff. You went to Loyola Marymount University, right?

Sean Percy Travis 01:39
I did. Yeah. Yeah. study biology and healthy body sciences. played some baseball there. So yeah, that was a, it was a fun, good time.

Brooke Smith 01:48
I would love to kind of talk to you about how you fell into firefighting and kind of what led you that way.

Sean Percy Travis 01:56
So actually, growing up, I kind of never lost those childhood dreams of wanting to be a professional baseball player or following in my dad's footsteps and be a doctor carried him all the way into college. And so I was pre med and a baseball player, which is horrible for each because my academic advisor the whole time is telling me to quit baseball. And my baseball coach the whole time is telling me to change majors because they don't just they don't go together right there. It's really, really hard. There's a lot of extra hours in the science of engineering colleges, a lot extra labs, and then any sport, at the collegiate level is going to be all encompassing, you're up at 5am You know, you're coming home after sunset, you know, classes kind of intermittent between different practices. And I was a catcher. So I was going to pitch your practice and position player practice. So doing double time and you know, doing the science word. So it was tucked in for a few years and stuck with it for the most part. But as an 18 year old trying to figure out the next steps of your walk in life, you kind of don't know the left hand from your right. And we're trying to make major decisions like, Oh, yeah, I want to follow my dreams, follow my passions, as if we have any idea what those are at that age, right? We'd like to pretend we do. But we have no clue what the next 20 years holds. And we're, you know, trying to make the best decision on it. So I'm started asking advice started looking towards my mentor started, you know, my dad, my cousins, people in like fields. I'm blessed to have a family with quite a few doctors in it, you know, cousins and uncles and whatnot. And so I was able to kind of bounce off of that and ask, you know, the career path that you see me doing. And then I was also able to do that with all the brothers all the friends. Baseball is this career path you can see me doing and now getting long story long. Essentially, they all came back with the same theme. And it's if you want anything else in life, go do that. But if this is your one, all encompassing passion, if you wake up live, breathe and die, want to be a doctor, wake up live, breathe, and I want to be a baseball player. Go do it. No one's gonna tell you different. But we see you as kind of like jack of all trades, like you have tons of passions, tons of experiences, like this might be a tough one for you. So if you want to go do something, anything else like will fully support you either way. And it was obvious, right? You know, and just like if college was enough, I can't imagine what a full time career would be like, you know, kissing away your 20s to whatever you decide. And I started getting interest in the fire department. I had a few neighbors that were firefighters growing up. They always seem to be the happiest guys on the block. You know, they're always around for their, their kids. They were always like big family man. They were always going on amazing trips. Like they loved what they did. And I stopped are getting interested in that sort of talking with them. And turns out, if you're a paramedic, you're practicing the medicine side of life. And if you're a firefighter, you're practicing the athletic team side of life. And I'm like, holy cow, did I just find something that's combining, you know, my two childhood dreams into one? The answer is yes. And you know, you talk to any firefighter, they're always like, Yeah, dude, if you can hack it at this job, there's no other job you should go do this is like best job in the world. You know, this is absolute calling, you're gonna love it. Not for everyone, right? Not everyone can handle blood and some of the really intense stuff that we have to deal with but it was that was it, that was the trigger pull for me and I decided to like walk that path, and 12 years down and still running so here we are.

Brooke Smith 05:47
I love how you know, I always say that sometimes, you know, you can find your passion for what you want to do by finding out like, what you don't want to do. But it's interesting talking to you, because it sounds like there were so many things you're passionate about, that you really could have gone so many different directions. But with the job that you're in now, the career I think it does really facilitate both the athletic part because as a firefighter, you obviously have to be really strong, you have to be really athletic and, and brave, which I think in sports you have to be brave too. And that I think just taking your interest for and passion for just coming from kind of a medical background with the family and the desire to want to help other people. I think you found a really great kind of niche there for you. That sounds like it fits you perfectly. Do all firefighters have to be paramedics or EMT's.

Sean Percy Travis 06:43
So good question depends on the department. The bigger the city, more advanced your personnel are going to be. So LA, we're very dynamic Fire Department, meaning we're very dynamic city. So you call 911 for anything we show up. So we got to be able to solve that issue. If it's a belly a to a heart attack to a car accident to a fire, whatever it is, you get the same people. And it's just it's how they structured where your tax dollars go. best bet. So that parlayed into yes and no EMTs paramedics, some departments run them separate. And then some departments run them all under the same umbrella. So for the most part every firefighters an EMT, so we know how to handle basic life support. But depending on the department, your firefighters will be your paramedics which is your advanced life support and to understand the difference, because they're kind of under the same umbrella. EMT is all of the maintenance and then paramedic has all of the interventions. So they compare it we're not anywhere near the level of a doctor, but they say like the paramedic is like your road doctor and your EMT is like your road nurse. So it'd be like that level of difference, right? We're helping each other we're part of the same team. But there's a big difference in your qualifications. So yes, most departments most big departments are all firefighters or EMTs. And then somehow, that paramedic classification,

Brooke Smith 08:07
Thank you so much for that, that really was a great way to describe it. For everyone who's listening and watching who's not quite sure the difference. That was a really great way to explain that. You talk a little bit about burnout with first responders primarily with firefighters, because it's such a high stress job. And I know that you touch base a lot on kind of figuring out how to not be running at 1,000% all the time, and how to kind of like turn that off, so that your body can rest that your brain can rest. And I think for people who are listening and watching, it's relatable, because even though if someone's not in that field, if they're not in the army, or they're not a first responder, sometimes, you know, especially young people can feel like everything is so stressful and so important in the moment, you know, as we get older, we understand like, Okay, this isn't so life or death as I felt like when I was younger, but when you're younger and you fail a task, or you're like in this kind of heightened sense of, of urgency of making everything the next, you know, alright, who's a cook for the day? All right, who's given the drills? And I'm just like, holy cow, are you kidding? And the science geek in me went on fire, cuz I love research. I love reading about stuff, especially if it's directly impacting yourself, right? You want to know, well, how do I prevent that? Like, I'm willing to bet that 99% of these people did not want to take their life, they just got to that point, right? They were like you and me, and then just went down the wrong path for too long, and ended up getting that situation. So it started begging the question, could that be me? You know, could could we do that? Could we go down that path? And if so, like, how does that happen? And I learned that the same mechanism that burnout is, is the same mechanism that takes you down that path. So if you're experiencing burnout, you're literally on that train. And I know that's dark and dismal. But that's where it hits. And how do we prevent that? Well, it's got to be lifestyle. And this is where functional hero gave birth. So started realizing we're in a high stress environment where unarrested chronically sleep deprived, and then we're on shift on duty for long hours. And you don't have to be a first responder experiences. But I just I do know that we're at the tip of that spear. And then we're asked to go home after high stress unprocessed, under rested shift in show for those that we love and come in full throttle. And so what we end up doing is being addicted to caffeine, tobacco products, anything that'll like help us get off just a blip. And this falls into I guess the the science behind it, the basic is we have in our nervous system. We have somatic and autonomic. We have somatic which is the area that you can control. So I'm moving my hands right now. That's somatic, right bicep curls jumping up and down high fiving someone giving a hug somatic. autonomic, aka automatic is everything that we don't control our heartbeat, our digestive system, right, our breathing, which is I'll come back to later one of the only thing that we can go back and forth between controlling not controlling is our breathing.

Sean Percy Travis 14:30
So what we found was, when we're at work, or when we're on duty, we're in in the autonomic nervous system you have sympathetic and parasympathetic. So the the non control the automatic nervous system, you have sympathetic, which is fight or flight at your go. And then you have your parasympathetic which is your rest and digest and that's your relax. And the only state of which your body repairs itself at a cellular level is that parasympathetic. So if you Not entering that state, you're not repairing. And it's not that oh, I need to catch up on repairing because I'm in the sympathetic go too much. It's actually if you're familiar with, you know, football or whatever, it's like a pick six for the other team. So instead of resting and repairing, you're actually demising yourself even more damaging yourself even more through stress or stress or stress. Now, you need to recover that and then some, right so multiply that over a day, multiply that over a week, a month, a year, a decade, two decades, it starts to make sense. Okay, we are under this extreme style of chronic, overstressed under rested burnout into demise and that's the path we're headed on. pretty shocking, and also pretty mitigated. You know, there's a fix. It's not like we sign up for something. It's like, Okay, cool. I'm gonna be dead young and burned out. That's that's that's not the the endgame. The endgame here is I'm gonna live the life of my dreams. I'm gonna kick ass dude. I'm gonna show to work on thrive. I'm gonna go home on the be the best dad possible. And you playing with my kids, one of my 16 year old? Like, this isn't a question that's I am going to do this. I'm going to be surfing, I'm gonna be that long longboard. 75 year old out in the water, you know, like that is going to be me. So that's the answer. Let's get there. Right? started figuring out back to the sympathetic, parasympathetic. So if we're stuck in this sympathetic state, the average human being will go in and out of the go. So in and out of the sympathetic into the rest, probably four or five times throughout their average day. And for example, when you go take a drink of water, when you go to the restroom, when you go take a shower, if you sit down for a meal, you know, your mind might be busy, but you're you're relaxing yourself. If you're listening to a song in your car, you kind of zone out for a bit, you're relaxing yourself that may or may not exist in a first responders world. Excuse my language here. But there's a joke that the call will always come out if you're trying to shower shave, right? So you never get a moment of relaxation, you never get a moment to yourself like that's, if on all sets up in the shower. That's when it comes out sweet. So I have to be like high stress all the time. You have to be in that warrior mindset to have you know, go go go get the job done, no matter what, like doesn't matter how much blood guts and gore I'm about to handle. We're going to fix this issue. So we're in that, but we never come out of it. And then we're in it for all day, all night, we work 24 hour shifts. So if I got to work on Monday morning, I come home Tuesday morning. And sometimes those days get layered together. So work three, four or five days in a row go to work on Tuesday morning, come home Sunday morning, and that whole time. If I wasn't intentional about it, I was stuck in that stressful state. Now you think I'm just gonna go home and sleep and then go back to work. That doesn't sound fun.

Brooke Smith 17:50
You can't just turn it off. You know, I feel like sometimes when you get into these modes of being so elevated, and so just kind of everything is you know, hypersensitive, it's really hard to just go and be like, Okay, I'm off now. Like, now I can relax. It just doesn't really work that way. I imagine it would take you a while anyway, just to kind of settle back in into a little bit more of a normalcy.

Sean Percy Travis 18:14
100% Yeah, you're absolutely right. We are. You know, there's a lot of comparison to like a tiger and a gazelle in the plains. Like when you talk about Nervous System stuff, fight or flight. We're not built like his elves and antelopes. Like when we're done with the chase, we don't just shake it off. Like you'll see him do this, like you ever seen a dog done with playing, right? They just shake, and then they come over and like lay down. We don't do that. Right. We don't purr like cats that like relaxes that puts us in parasympathetic, we have to be intentional about it. And you can do that through breath work. And through other parameters like inversion stretching, how you transition, do you transition Well, from period to period from moment to moment? And then how is your movement? Are you moving? Well, are you stimulating recovery process through movement. So figuring out that, if we're not intentionally taking ourselves out of the go out of the sympathetic, then we're stuck in it, and our bodies never recovering. And then that's what's called, there's a theory called polyvagal theory. Where if you overstressed the vagal nerve, which is the one in charge of all this 10th cranial nerve is in charge of the parasympathetic, sympathetic, like, which state I'm going to go in. If you overstressed that and keep it in sympathetic too long, you'll get into this state of kind of malaise middle ground where you can never go up, you can never go down, meaning I can't get the energy to get out there and get creative, get proactive and work out or go plan sand or write that like creative, fun flowing, you know, goofball that I can be, I won't, I won't get there. But I also won't be able to lay down at night and restfully, so I'm getting crappy sleep. And I'm not even like showing up for the things I love. Like and one of the parameters I remember was, I know I'm experiencing burnout when I'm not picking up my guitar, playing my guitar since I was like 1012 years old. I love it. It's such like an outlet for me. And all of a sudden I'm like, in the back of my mind like, Nah, that's lame, or I'm too tired or whatever, I don't even think about it. So that was a good trigger for me. you're experiencing too much burnout when you stop doing the little passions that you love. Which is now it's time right now it's time to mitigate, interject, be intentional about this. So started finding out all these different practices that we can do cold immersion, breathwork, right, I've name a few. Move properly, right? We will, we have to be in shade, mobility. And movement is life. sedentary means death, we were literally built to move if you sit on a couch, your body will literally freeze up the joints will harden and you will just die. Right? So you're not meant to just like relax. So we're meant to move in by moving, we remind our body that we are alive and thriving in the US it will start recovering. But I started I started practicing all these in my own life, I myself was experiencing burnout. If I was in that kind of depressive, anxious state, low energy, I would drink two energy drinks a day after having a couple cups of coffee in the morning. I mean, that's enough dose for three, four or five people. And I'm doubting this on my own. And I'm not even getting touched by it. Like it'll wake me up for 20 minutes. And then I'm back to the same brain fog malaise of just like, I guess this is it, I have another one right. And so started implementing these practices in my own life. And I literally got my brain back, I got my energy back, I got my focus back. And I got a fire lit under my ass. I have enough energy back to build a company while I'm a full time firefighter called functional heroes. So if that doesn't tell you anything, right? And I'm super stoked about it. I wake up more energized than ever. I go to sleep more relaxed than ever and I go to work in freakin love my job more than ever. So something's working right. And it's not like I'm taking a magic pill, I change my lifestyle habits. And this is something that I've started to implement to with friends with other colleagues and I've seen them do the same, right? They go from like, you know, freakin a, I can't figure out why can't lose its weight. I'm starting to ball I look pale and just like, bad, right? You look unhealthy. Like, you know, the kind way to say someone looks like shit is they look tired right? Now, so I was I was tired of feeling tired, I was tired of looking tired, sick of being sick. Like it was just I was just done with it. so frustrated, so implemented all these practices and have literally watched me get my life back.

Brooke Smith 22:22
I feel like a lot of people can experience what you're talking about and do experience it. But maybe they don't even realize what's happening to them, they just kind of just don't feel good. Now they're like, I don't really I'm not hungry, like nothing sounds good. You know, the kind of start to lose their vigor and their vitality for like, their passions for life, and just things that normally would excite them just kind of don't, and they're kind of just stuck in this mundane state of being. And I think it takes a really self aware person to be able to, while you're in that state, be able to recognize it and say, wait a second, I know myself and I know my body really well. And like, this isn't who I am, this isn't how I want to live my life, like what's going on here. And kind of like being able to be in that state and still be able to recognize it, and do something about it, I think really shows a how self aware you are and be how strong you are. And also just how, you know, they always say like, the thing that makes people change is when they're just so sick and tired of that thing that's kind of holding them back one day, you're just like, I'm not doing this anymore. I can't, I'm done. And then you can, you can make that change. But when you're when you're talking about burnout, and you're talking about, you know, all the things that come with that being depressed and just kind of losing that vigor for life, it's, it can be really hard to pull yourself up, you know, by your bootstraps, and be like, Okay, what can I do to make these changes, but I think it's really important that people understand that they don't have to change everything all at once so quickly, like you can start making little steps in your life, but you might notice, start to make you feel better. And maybe not one day, but maybe day two, maybe day three, you know, these tiny little things that you can do, that will really change the way that you feel. And then as you feel a little bit better. Maybe you know, if you're talking about breathwork maybe you know you can go a little longer or meditation instead of meditating for one minute, maybe you can now meditate for three minutes and you can kind of find this thing that helps you on the right path when you're kind of stuffs feel so stuck and you don't really know how to start. So I'm wondering, do you have advice for anyone who kind of feeling this way? Just to kind of start the process of realizing like, cuz sometimes you don't even realize how bad you feel until you start to like, get out of that and you're like, oh, wow, I really wasn't feeling like myself at all until you start to, you know, implement these ways.

Sean Percy Travis 24:56
Yeah. 100% All even take it a step further for a long time. I for some reason, it's a common thing of men that were, you know, not in touch with our feelings even when we practice it, but I would even say it's not that I knew I was feeling bad. I didn't even know what I was feeling. Does that make sense? So like a lot, right? If we're gonna, like process like things and process, you know, trying to improve her life, I didn't even know what I needed to process, let alone how to define it, and then work with it. So that was a good start. I just started asking myself like, Am I where I want to be? Am I like, Am I who I want to hang out with? You know, if I was a me what I want to hang out with me. Right? It's fine. It's five years from now, the guy five years from now? Is he looking back, like stoked at who I am today or not? Right? It was no, it's like, Okay, I'm living this unsustainable lifestyle he went next week will be better. Well, really, we're not doing anything different. That's isn't that part of what insanity is keep doing the same thing. And hopefully a better result, right. That's, that's not going to happen. So we need to make that change. And I was the same way I started making small little incremental changes, change the paradigm. If you're stuck in a rut, just just flip something like do a dance move before you walk out the door and watch how that changes your day. Right? Like, literally that little thing, I promise you will change how you go about your the next 20 minutes of your day. Just little jayegi Alright, cool, we're going out. Honestly, like it's the littlest things like that. Um, for me, it started journaling. I started doing a gratitude journal in the morning. Where it's I started with one called the Five Minute Journal, super easy, super well, like guided super simple, literally takes five minutes or less, and you write down a few things. And the whole point of that was instead of having negative thoughts in my mind, allowing to snowball and capitulate on themselves and create more negative thoughts, which is how the brain works, right? We're all like pattern recognition. So if we see something we fall through with it. I wanted to start it with a positive thought. And then it starts to snowball on itself, you start thinking more positively. So for me it was it was that mindfulness of just write down three things you're grateful for. So if I was if I was going to give a bumper sticker of advice to anyone, like Alright, hey, let's give it a shot. See if this works is write down three things you're grateful for every morning. And then do five sets of circular breathing or box breathing. So you inhale for five seconds, hold for five seconds, exhale for five seconds. Exhale, hold for five seconds. So it's like a box, right? And did a box weird? There we go. But, yeah, so just try those two things. See how that helps. I then started researching more and more into it, how breath work and why breath-work is such a massive game changer. Right, we hear a lot about if you've heard of Wim Hof, you know, his his breath work and what they're doing or you know, if you've ever done yoga, or different types of meditation, or you know, shamanic breathing, tamo breathing, anything like that, you start to understand, okay, there's, there's a reason this has an effect. This isn't like a placebo, which, who cares if it's placebo, right? If it works, it works. But it's not. There's actual hardcore science, literally centuries of science behind this stuff. Breathing is the one thing that we can King can take control over that our body does automatically. So it's the one thing that we can be like, hey, this controls our nervous system, I'm gonna take control of it now. Even though you've been doing it beautifully for me all day long. All night long. I'm gonna take control of it and tell you how I want to feel. So think about when you're stressed. you're breathing fast. And you're breathing, shallow.

Brooke Smith 28:31
Or not breathing at all. Because I find myself in that sometimes where I'm like, "Brooke when is the last time you took a breath", like, you know, you hold on to.

Sean Percy Travis 28:39
Yeah, yeah. And so so stress is a beautiful thing. When it's handled correctly. It's you know, that amygdala, that part of your brain is really trying to protect you and make sure that you are safe and kicking ass. But we don't always need it. Right. The metaphor we've heard a lot is like, we're not always running from a lion or a tiger, like the caveman, were back in the day, right? So stop acting like it. And the weird part about our body is it doesn't know how to process the difference between an experience and a thought. So if I think about something stressful versus experienced something stressful, the same thing is happening at the cellular level, it's doing the same stuff, the same hormones are getting released. So let's cut that out. Right? I don't need to think about like a deadline and have it react as if like I'm fending off someone with a knife. Like, that's not, we don't need to handle that we can tell it, we can tell that body it's okay. We can say Hey, calm down, we're good. Let's handle this with, you know, our mature area of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, it's allowed us to think logically and process our emotions and feel good about this one. And we take control of that like through mindfulness, but through breathwork. And how do you breathe when you relax? You've really slowly you breathe deeply. Right? You allow that breath to come in, do the chemical exchange, release the toxins and exhale. There's a full process allow that air to come all the way in, hold it and then all the way out. And we know when we're stressed we're You know, they say the average adult is 12 to 20 a minute of breaths, I mean, guaranteed, I'd be shocked if you're stressed and you're breathing at the lower range that you're probably at 24 or 25, you're probably you know, kipnuk is, you know, for the medical term, so slow that down, take control of it and remind your body like, hey, it's gonna be okay, we're fine. We can kick ass right now we're okay. You know, we can think logically we can, we can create something out of this and have it be beautiful and full. And like, you know, enjoy this moment. So take those few breaths. Breathe as if you are calm, breathe, as if you are being creative, you are being joyful. And then that'll tell your nervous system, oh, this is the state we're in. And you'll watch your brain, you'll watch your mindset, your watch your anxiety, everything will shift into that,

Brooke Smith 30:49
right? You feel that stress, your body doesn't know that it's not being attacked by a lion it's experiencing, it's going through all the same things as if it were being attacked as if you were fighting for your life. You're talking a lot about being intentional, and being aware and making the choice to say, hey, let me intentionally use this. And let me say, You're okay, let's calm down with our breathing like everything's okay. And comforting Yourself.

Sean Percy Travis 31:13
100%. Yeah, you're taking yourself out of that sympathetic and going to the parasympathetic. So that you can start resting repairing, your body can actually like vibe with itself. So I mean, if I'm, if I'm going to call the call and not relaxing in between them, at this heightened state at work, right. So I never get to relax. But if I do, if I transition, well, if I come back from the call, I do breath work, I level up my nervous system, it allows me to then rev back up for the next one,

Brooke Smith 31:42
like, a good amount of time that you would say that you would need to be in that restful state, or do you just kind of try to catch it whenever you can catch it,

Sean Percy Travis 31:50
catch it when you can catch it. And I'm doing it all day long now, right, I'm literally taking control my breath all day long. Any moment, I feel anxious, overwhelmed. You know, when you got too many windows open on the browser, and that little, I'm trying to do so much I can't do one thing. And I'm figuring it out and balancing and making a cup of coffee. Now I'm writing here and I'm answering this call, you're just like holy cow, right? Breathe, do some breath for a good one for that is inhale twice through your nose out through your mouth. And that helps helps calibrate your there's different brainwaves. And it pulls you back into like your focus state as opposed to just being all over the place. So I like do that as many times as it takes usually five to 10. But sometimes, you know, we're super stressed out and we might make white new, more, buy in through your nose twice out through mouth. And that pulls you in and out of that stress state. So literally, all day long, I will be doing these things and implementing that seriously is if I don't I'll put it this way. The days that I don't. I am so well rested The next day, it's not even comparable. And there's other things we can do when we're under rested. Well, how do I how do I get my body going? Right? How do I I'm not gonna like to sleep all day. Right? Or I'm not gonna have like 10 cups of coffee to try to catch up. Which that was my other issue. Totally well rested. How do I get going? I know I'm asleep later, you know? So I'm home today. So I'm asleep tonight. How do I how do I make sure today's on on par. And so there's different parameters like cold therapy, cold immersion, like take a freezing cold shower, and then control your breath and that and watch how you perform for the next three, four hours. Watch. It's not It's not fun, it never gets easier. I 100% promise you've never gets really fun to water.

Brooke Smith 33:30
Don't have hot water for a minute and you have a cold shower like it wakes you up. And for sure. That's something I noticed that cold immersion, I like that, can you talk a little bit about stretching? Or you could you talk about stretching for mobility and then stretching for flexibility. And so

Sean Percy Travis 33:46
you both have each have a purpose actually mobility is for it's warming up, you're literally bringing heat to the muscles. So mobility stretching is when you're doing movements in a range of motion, that's going to increase right so like if I'm pulling my knees to my chest, and then doing like a squat or something like that. I'm probably gonna do that 10 to 15 times and watch my range of motion increase over that time and what actually is happening is that blood flow, those nutrients are coming, but literally quite literally heating up the muscles, you're heating up the joints. So that's what warming up is right? flexibility is for cooling down and you're allowing that blood to flow out of those areas. So mobility before any kind of movement. So hopefully in the beginning of your day or before you're doing a workout, going surfing whatever it is you'd like to do. And then flexibility is like a static hold. So 30 to 60 seconds of stretch, touch your toes, right I know where your side whatever it is. Do that flexibility to cool down. So pull yourself out of that really fun. You know, I just went surfing but I was in a stressful state, theoretically good stress, but a stressful state. Pull yourself out of it by just doing couple deep breaths. Do some flex 30 stretching cool down. So they both have their purpose, but they're, they're different. And they're different in their modalities and how they actually work and the mechanisms.

Brooke Smith 35:09
I wanted to ask you to for everyone listening and watching, because I know that suicide rate is so high and I know with functional hero, functional And at functional hero on Instagram, how can people get involved in helping this? Cause? Is it spreading the word and getting it out there? Because I imagine that it's not just firefighters, but you know, first responders, military, and even people who are feeling this way that aren't in those kinds of positions. Is there anything that we can like a call to action that we can do to help spread the word and help? You know, stop this from being such a thing?

Sean Percy Travis 35:52
Yeah, if you're feeling that way, like ask for help, like literally ask, like, that's it. So if you're feeling that way, if you're really like depressed and anxious, there's so many different avenues to get out there and ask like, just ask talk to someone about it. But if you really want to, like spread the cause, like take care of it, take years and be the example and then share it with others. So yeah, go to functional hero calm, there's a you know, sign up from one of the programs there and it'll walk you through all these different parameters, you know, movement, you know, workouts that are made to advance your nervous system, not tax it even more and be too hard on your nervous system, right things that are there to revive you and support you and build you. So if you sign up that's that's you taking control of your, you know, intentionality of to say, hey, like, I may or may not be aware that I'm, you know, experiencing this burnout. But I want to take advantage and take control of this in my life, I want to evolve over the level up. So yeah, hop on board. But above all, like any, if you're just doing breath work, if you walk away from this, and you just do breath, work and start being more grateful person write down three things you're grateful for. Heck, yeah, watch that snowball into a better life. 100% every time, literally, everyone's saying the same thing. You talk to any motivational speaker, any like, lifestyle coach, we're all trying to promote the same thing. And that's like, be intentional about your life, choose to kick ass and thrive and like be a super loving, compassionate human. And watch it out. It's like, it's amazing. So we're all on that same journey, just step up and do it.

Brooke Smith 37:22
Yeah, and I love the message of taking control, you know that you don't have to stay where you are. You can make decisions in your life, different, different choices that can lead you into a different place if you're not feeling good. And so I love the message of just like, take control. It doesn't have to be this way, just because it's been this way. Really important message for everybody listening to you know, feel inspired, that you can change and it can get better and it does get better. And that there's support out there.

Sean Percy Travis 37:53
Yeah, and don't let your Yeah, but getting away. That's my favorite thing. Anytime I talk to someone or you know, if you're sharing like, Oh, I just got through this. Like, I would love to share how you'll hear the Yeah, but I have this or Yeah, but I'm different or Yeah, but dude, there are a million yabb. But aka excuses, like they're also all of that million of people have also made the step made the journey, right. So you're Yeah, but I hate to say it is unique to yourself, but it's not special. Like we're all going through stuff, everyone is going through a layer of shit. So we all have yeah buts. And we either choose to Yeah, but I'm gonna do it anyways, or Yeah, but I'm gonna let it get in my way. So control

Brooke Smith 38:35
Get out of our own way. A lot of times, like the biggest, the way of our of us feeling better, or success or getting that job we want or that dream. It's, it's, it's us in the way of ourselves. And if we can learn how to get out of our own way and do the things we need to do in order to, you know, have that better life, I think that's the important thing to take away is that nobody is going to come do it for you. You have to do the work yourself. You have to make the changes, you have to be intentional about your life. And I love how you start every morning with gratitude. Because we're just so lucky. We're all just so lucky. Like, we all go through so much. But at the end of the day, we're so blessed to just be here. And there's so many things to be grateful for. And I think starting your day, remembering even the smallest things like I'll take a shower and be like, Wow, this is amazing. I have hot water right now. You know, like, I'll be in the shower thinking about that. Because I know that there's people in the world who don't even have access to clean water, let alone hot water. Or you know, when he did buy the chocolate, I'm like, wow, like there's people in the world who never even tried this and like I can have anytime I want the smallest little things. I'm just realizing how beautiful our lines are. instead of always thinking about all the things we don't have and all the things that we wish were different. You know, I think when you start having gratitude it only just more More and more gratitude just comes because you start to realize all of the things you were taking before.

Sean Percy Travis 40:06
Yep, absolutely. That's called flow. You're in that mindset and things like, you know, when you when it seems like man, everything just happens. Well, for someone it's like now they're just in flow, they're choosing that perspective and choosing to take anything and turn it into a building block. You know, it doesn't have to be joyful and positive all the time. But it is a building block towards leveling up towards constantly moving forward. So yeah, fully agree.

Brooke Smith 40:33
So, can you talk a little bit more about gratitude and journaling? And do you have ways that you go about doing that?

Sean Percy Travis 40:42
Yeah, yeah. So me personally, I you know, I've gone through different guided journals ever since. I started noticing how it was affecting me and improving my lifestyle and quality of life. And so I, I started looking for one geared towards healthy masculinity. empowerment, so we can uplift both the masculine and feminine to get it. You know, Superman, Superwoman, right, king and queen to get it and couldn't find it couldn't really find it. I know, there's tons of research tons of books on it. There's an amazing book that became kind of the core practice of wealth management masculinity that talks about the four archetypes of King magician, where your lover and having how each of those are different mindsets that will be in and we should have all four well rounded it's called the king of four houses or being a man and full King being like the vision seeker and Kingdom builder, right? Someone who's wanting to expand their their family network and everything, right? The warrior is your heart, yes or no, your Dewar, right, if I show for a workout, or I'm showing up at work, or I need to make decisions, that's the word there's no, there's not much emotion there. It's just no, get it done. And you have your magician, which is like your potion maker, which is the process we're very, when you're a magician, you're very meticulous and how to set up that system. Right? You know, how are we going to get from A to B, let's write the steps out, let's write the plan. Let's be very meticulous in the process. And then you have the lover which creates meaning behind it all We connect to each other, we connect purpose, we connect that, that deeper, bigger vision, purpose all together and create like, hey, what this means nothing unless we're doing it together. And so you encapsulate that all into a man and fall and that's where you have, like, beautiful leadership in a masculine and so I tailored that into a journal practices, you know, weekly, monthly practices with a daily gratitude, mindset affirmation. Guided journal, and I created it. So I couldn't find it. So I made it right. Entrepreneurship one on one if you can't find it, and you want it, make it out. Yeah. Yeah, took me a while but tons of tons of research behind it and ended up writing. It's called the calling man, the calling man calm or find us on Amazon, the calling man journal. Also instagram facebook at the calling, man. But that is that's been my passion project. And you know, it's been out for a few months now. And I'm watching tons of people get life shifted and changed by it. So very, very excited. And I'm also going through myself, you're not creating it doesn't mean you know, I can't promise.

Brooke Smith 43:25
Well, Sean. Thank you so much for joining our crafting wellness podcast today. It was such a pleasure talking with you. I'm going to link all your information in this video so you can find him and all of these great things that he's doing. And check out more about breath work and all of that. And thank you so much, Sean, I appreciate you.

Sean Percy Travis
Likewise, Brooke, thank you very much.

Learn More about Sean Percy Travis at



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