Meee in an Emergency Minute
The Christmas and New Year madness may be passed for another year but every day can be madness for those working on the front line in the emergency services. People who enter these types of professions like the police, ambulance crews, paramedics, nursing, fire fighters and hospital staff gravitate to the roles to care for others and protect the communities they serve.
But, in the drive to help others it can be a little too easy to forget about yourself. Working in emergency service can be very challenging and in order to do your job to the best of your ability you first need to care for yourself.
If you’ve ever flown the instructions from the air steward always reminds passengers that if there is an emergency they must look after themselves first before trying to help others. The reason is simple. If the oxygen masks drop down and cabin pressure drops, you won’t be much use to anyone if you have passed out on the floor! Help yourself first and then help your aging neighbour with their mask.
The same is true for those working in emergency services. Below are our 5 tips to help ensure you take care of yourself so you can then care for others.
Five Tips To Look After Yourself:
1. Get plenty sleep
Lack of sleep can impact memory, concentration and motivation. It can also lower our resilience levels in tough situations. Sleep is the time for our body to recuperate and recover. The amount and quality of your sleep will almost certainly be improved by cooling your bedroom down. Turn off the heating – it will save you money and also help you sleep better. You might try a warm shower before bed and dim lights before turning in. And no social media before bedtime!
2. Eat well
I know, it’s not sexy or a quick fix but we are what we eat. Junk in – junk out. If we eat too much junk food, fast food or processed food we loss energy and are likely to gain weight which can make work harder. Increase the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables you eat and consider taking your own food to work. That way you know exactly what you are eating.
3. Be more physically active
Some activity is better than no activity. Even if you take the stairs instead of the lift a couple of times a day that will make a difference. Get off your bus or park your car a little further away from work so you incorporate more activity into your day. On a particularly challenging day, go outside on your break and go for a brisk walk to get positive hormones flowing through your body.
4. Get plenty of sunlight
That can be easier said than done, especially in the UK during winter. Consider a short break to the sun to chase away the winter blues or if that’s not possible, take a good quality Vitamin D supplements such as those made by Mad Diet. In summer time aim to get at least 30 minutes of sunlight each day. Consider eating your lunch outside to get your Vitamin D levels topped up.
5. Connect with others
Speak to your colleagues. Talking can help to defuse the toughest situations. Consider combining some of these ideas. You might for example create a walking group at lunch so you get more activity, eat better and chat with friends at the same time!
The above tips can help to better manage your physical and mental health.
Being able to choose a different thought or reframe a situation to dial down the upset of distress is also a very useful tool for us all to master. Bad moments can cluster into bad hours or challenging days but if we have a few mental and emotional tools that help us to shift our thinking a bad moment can just be a bad moment. We live minute by minute. Right here, right now is all we have. That is why I’ve written a series of ‘Meee in a Minute’ books.
At Meee, we focus on the 3 e’s (hence Meee) of Education, Employment and Enterprise and help people from all walks of life to gain greater control over their mental health and wellbeing.
These little pocket-sized books are designed to be carried around with you. That way you can dip in when you need some inspiration or need to refocus or get a new idea that might help you with the situation you are facing. The books contain a collection of life hacks, advice, insights, science, stories, short exercises or thought experiments and quotes that can help improve your life, work and family in a minute. They’re easy to read, nuggets of wisdom that can nudge you along to think differently and re-engage with your challenging work in emergency service.
We complement our books with inspiring talks, workshops, leadership development, individual and team coaching, including community programmes.
Ray A. Davis