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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Destress for the First Responder

First responders often experience Burnout. What is Burnout? Burnout is when we are cynical, exhausted, and ineffective. When we are cynical we are very negative and we complain a lot about everything. When we are exhausted we are mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually exhausted. We are tired when we go to bed at night and we are tired when we get up in the morning. We are even tired when we fill ourselves with caffeine at a level that would normally make us hyper.

When we are cynical and exhausted we become ineffective. When we are ineffective we are ineffective to our family, our friends, our work, and ourselves.

So how the heck do we overcome burnout? Well, we must evaluate our habits. Evaluate our eating, exercise, and sleeping habits for one. Also, evaluate any behavior that may increase our negative attitude and exhaustion. We know when we are negative, well, most of us do. Ask a friend if you are negative and they will tell you if you cannot tell.

And then eliminate any habits that are depleting your energy and create habits that will increase your energy. Some habits that will deplete energy are drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, eating processed foods, and any other bad habit that comes to mind.

As first responders we have to take care of ourselves. If we don't take care of ourselves then we cannot take care of anyone else.

Don't forget to have fun and be playful because it is in your nature.

Elizabeth