No matter which department you work for, no matter if you work 8 hour shifts, 10 hour or even 12 hour shifts, at the end of the day, we all go home. We may not have the same physical danger that Police Officers, Firefighters, and EMTs do, but we definitely and I mean definitely have the same if not more psychological effects in the short and long term. You might not have to see the teenager's head crushed in by a power pole, or the lifeless woman on the couch, but you had to hear what the caller saw, or you had to hear the woman who was calling for chest pain take her last breath while she was talking to you. This might not seem like a big deal, but in the long run it builds up, I've been on both sides of the radio, and I guarantee you it is easier being on scene seeing it, knowing what is happening, rather than just hearing the beginning and never getting an end result. All of this builds up, into you guessed it! Stress. Stressing about if that little girl made it after they found her unconscious, or if that poor old lady is doing okay after that car wreck. Stress can, and will follow you home, if you let it. This is where it comes into play of, what do you bring home vs what do you leave at the dispatch door? And honestly, it depends. It depends on what kind of person you are, and what kind of people you have at home. If you and your family, are all say, in the emergency field ( Nurses, EMTs, Officers, etc.) then they will know what you're going through, and they will be more than happy to talk to you about it. Now if at home it's a no go to share those kind of stories and get them off your chest (leaving out names, of course) then even in the previous case, share the good stories! Share the time earlier today when the little girl got found safe, playing in the park down the road, or the grandma that got revived on scene. Sharing the positive stories will not only help you feel like you've done a good job, and help you have a more positive out look on your work. So take home what you feel like you can, and if there is just absolutely something you need to talk to someone about, talk to a coworker, or even reach out anonymously to a Facebook group or other like entity. Point is, if you just go home at the end of the day, bottling everything up inside, you won't be a happy person. You can do it for a little while, sure, but keeping stress IN is NOT a good idea. If that means coming home and going on a run, then make it happen! Ladies, all the women in my family constantly rave about Eucalyptus/Spearmint items for their stress relief, a lot of them use the candles http://amzn.to/2piIcpg , I however am not a candle person, not sure if it's the firefighter in me or what, but I prefer a good stress ball! Here is a set of 3 you and two of your coworkers can enjoy -> http://amzn.to/2q25vmj if you are feeling generous, you can even leave it at your station (if you center shares stations with shifts) for the next shift to enjoy and squeeze the stress right out every time you have to check "local and surrounding warrants"!
Now, what do I LEAVE at work? What do I NOT let bother me? Two words, WORK DRAMA. The stuff that really, does not matter and you should absolutely not let it bother you. That girl who told you to check on your people, or that guy who said he knows more than you do, or when your boss got onto you for something you did wrong. Let it go. If it isn't something that is going to matter in a few weeks, days or even hours, I can assure you it is NOT worth stressing out about. If it's over that lazy employee who gets all the credit for the work they won't do.... I promise you, from experience, those "workers" will weed themselves out in the end, it always happens.
So when you clock out today, take a deep breath before you walk out the door, know that what YOU DO MATTERS. Go home, talk to your family, go for a run ( or a brisk walk like I would have to LOL), and check yourself at the door! As always, any questions or concerns shoot me an email through the contact page at the top of the page!
"Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain... To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices - today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it. - Kevyn Aucoin"