Stress in EMS part 1

Stress in EMS

Stress.  It’s all around us.  Those that work in EMS know this all too well.

Even though we experience a tremendous amount of stress, and I’m not just talking about the “easy” part, which in my opinion is taking care of the patient, but all the parts that make up our job…this all causes us stress.

Despite this stress, we keep showing up to work. We are high functioning people. 

But, I have a sneaking suspicion that how you are actually dealing with, or managing your stress is contributing to more stress.

I’m pretty familiar with this way of dealing with the stress for myself, and I get to see how my husband who is also a full time flight paramedic deals with it.

And, I see it all over social media.  We have been taught how to deal with our stress by watching others, and advertising.

After a hard day at work, I bet you have the thought “I could really use a drink”, or “I just need a snack to take the edge off”. 

Most of us deal with stress by drinking alcohol, eating snacks or comfort food, binge watching TV, gaming, social media, online shopping, or watching porn.

You might think, “What’s the big deal”, or “It works for me”.  This is a lie your brain in telling you so you’ll keep engaging in these false pleasures.  False pleasure have net negative consequences on the other side.  Weight gain, addiction, dependance, avoidance, distraction, and added stress.

This added stress disrupts our sleep, our emotional bandwidth, thoughts about ourselves, creates unbalanced hormones, lack of energy and so on.

But my friend, it’s not your fault.  It’s a sign that your brain is working perfectly.  Your brain (the primitive brain to be exact) is just trying to help you.  It wants you to survive. It drives you to seek pleasure at any cost to get away from the negative feelings (stress, overwhelm, fear).  All of the false pleasures do this very quickly. 

The primitive brain can’t see past the current moment it is in.  Most of us are living from our primitive brain.  We are reactionary (ah, hello…EMS! Totally reactionary medicine).  We do what we want in the moment and don’t think about the consequences on the other side.

There is a solution.  It takes practice and patience.

Awareness is a big part.  Learning techniques to process and work through the stress.  Recognize when we are using false pleasure and learn to question ourselves in those moments.

In the upcoming week, I’ll talk more about the solutions, but for now, I just want you to be aware of how you are using false pleasures in your life to manage your stress.

I’d love to hear from you.  Send me a DM or email.

Have a great week!!

xo.  Valerie

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