Are you a paramedic, fire fighter, law enforcement officer or dispatcher? Is your job creating stress and anxiety at home and at work? If you are, then this is for you.

Spending many years as an EMT and paramedic, and working in a 9-1-1 center, I am very much aware of the stress that can accumulate working in emergency services. The causes of stress in emergency services are too many to list, but include: long 10 to 24 hour shifts causing fatigue; angry, emotional and violent victims, patients and bystanders; catastrophic/mass casualty situations; radio communications; poor eating habits; excessive noise; and, the physical demands of the job.

Stress can cause some very common health-related problems including fatigue, insomnia, high blood pressure, cancer, stroke, heart attacks and other illnesses. Unless you take control and learn how to manage the stress, it may lead to chronic illness, drug and alcohol abuse, and sudden death if not managed properly. These are the very things that consume your day in emergency services.

The 6 Steps of Stress RELIEF can help you gain control of what is causing you stress and help you lead a more peaceful life. In Part 1 of this article, you were introduced to the first four strategies. Continue reading to discover the last 2 strategies for reducing stress.

Of course you cannot change the environment of the scene to which you are responding. However, you can take control of your personal environment and that of which immediately surrounds you.

Did you know that clutter causes stress? If your workplace or vehicle is cluttered, this can cause stress. If you are constantly looking for something, or your environment is unpleasant, it causes stress. No one wants to go make or eat their lunch in the crew quarters, firehouse, station or dispatch center if there are dirty dishes in the sink, food spilled on the counter, garbage piled high in the kitchen or papers scattered all over the table. This creates tension among co-workers and unnecessary stress. So, pick up after yourself and help others do the same.

FAMILY and FRIENDS, or Other Support
People in emergency services are known for “stuffing their feelings,” and “sucking it up.” After all, it’s a sign of weakness to show your emotions and let it get to you, right? Wrong! You are human and have the right to your feelings. You are of no use to anyone else if you do not express your feelings to those who can offer support.

Many in emergency services don’t talk about their emotions because they think others will not understand, or know what they are going through. Your family and friends don’t have to know everything you do or understand your job. Your family and friends can provide support, encouragement, love and understanding. Hiding your feelings will only create more stress and tension at home and in your personal life.

If you do not have that type of support at home, talk to a co-worker or reach out to your agency’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP). In the event you are in the midst of a catastrophic event, or one that involves a co-worker, never pass up the opportunity to attend a Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) if your county or city has one available. If not, consider a coach, counselor or health professional to help you talk through it.

To begin your stress relief journey, review all six strategies (the first four are in Part 1 of this article), make a list of those you are going to implement and put them into action. By doing so, you are inviting gratitude, balance and tranquility into your life.

Author's Bio: 

Kay Fontana is a lifelong learner, natural explorer, and navigator of Life. After watching family and friends struggle with chronic health issues, such as diabetes, Alzheimer's, heart disease, asthma, Crohn’s disease, arthritis, and cancer, seeing the effects of the standard American diet (SAD), experiencing a series of devastating losses, and working through her own health issues with diabetes and asthma, Kay became very clear about her life's purpose. Kay’s focus is on the whole being and connecting heart, mind, body, and soul for an abundant life. On her journey, she has learned from leading experts in the field of health, nutrition, healing, and spirituality in order to help clients achieve optimal wellness.

As a certified holistic life and wellness coach, a licensed spiritual practitioner, and a Grief Recovery Specialist®, Kay’s purpose is to help individuals with chronic or life-limiting illness by providing heart-centered coaching, spiritual guidance and support, tools, and resources, such as alternative medicine, that connect heart, mind, body, and soul for an abundant life. Kay’s mission is to inspire individuals with chronic or life-limiting illness and their family caregivers to let go of limiting beliefs and habits that block energy, and replace them with mindful self-compassion practices that lead to optimal wellness and a better life. For more information, go to