Humanizing the Headset has developed a theme for the month of October: Dispatcher Health Awareness. We are going to be discussing physical and mental health issues that affect us and the communities we serve. Our goal is to enhance the awareness of these issues so that we are better equipped to handle them in both our personal and professional lives.
Our first story comes from one of our Admins, Cori Johnson. She's going to be telling us about the power of positivity and specific ways she decompresses after a grueling shift. Perhaps you'll find a bit of inspiration to try something new! Please leave comments on your thoughts and personal experiences, and share with your friends to get them involved in the conversation as well.
Positivity is a way of life. Living your life with purpose is the best way to honor the people that have brought you into this world and made you who you are today. Not allowing negativity to seep in and destroy what you work hard to create and maintain is absolutely essential. Being mindful of your own energy and how that energy fluctuates in certain situations is a vital part of everyday living.
Being a 911 dispatcher, some days it’s hard to find the positive in life. We sometimes become thick skinned and hardened to what life throws our way. That’s a coping mechanism. It’s completely valid and sometimes necessary in order to get through your shift. That being said, it’s not permanent - if you don’t allow it to be.
In my own personal experience, I find that laughter is immensely helpful in shaking off a rough day. Dumb “dad jokes” are my jam! Anything that will get a laugh is usually fair game to me. I don’t mind looking stupid if it helps someone crack a smile. Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you the same. Show me the funny!
Second to laughter, in my humble opinion, is music. Music is an incredible stress reliever! For me, any genre will do! If I’m feeling tense, I usually go for some hard rock or 80’s rock. Maybe even a little metal. I sing with my windows down and the wind whipping my hair all around like crazy. Or on the days where I want to unwind on the drive home from just too much interaction, I prefer lighter music, mostly classical radio. Whatever is on the local station suits me just fine. Other times I prefer silence. Just the sound of the tires on the road allows me to meditate.
Meditating is defined as “thinking deeply or focusing one's mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation.” It’s also synonymous with contemplation, thought, musing, pondering, reflection and for some, prayer.
I’m a mother of 4 kids ages 2 ½ to 11. I don’t have much time to meditate, so the time I use is normally on my drive home from work. Sometimes, I meditate while I’m baking sugar cookies late at night. You can see some of my cookies below. That’s my “me time.” Oftentimes, we forget that we must replenish ourselves in order to best help others. “You cannot pour from an empty cup.” Not going to lie, I forget this a lot. I get stressed and find myself yelling or gritting my teeth over something so small, I have to remind myself to step back and breathe. It’s totally okay to put yourself in a time-out! My time-outs consist of light yoga or my neck traction which is HEAVENLY!!!
Yoga is a good way to meditate and get your de-stress on too! It really allows you to center yourself and be in tune with what your body is telling you. Stretching feels amazing! Our bodies hold stress in different places. Mine is mostly my shoulders and back, so I do a very basic yoga program. Not kidding, it’s a video on YouTube called Yoga For Complete Beginners. It’s a great 20-minute video, and it works wonders for my back! I have a friend who is a Yogi. She has a Facebook page Yoga with Louise With-Seidelin. Check it out. She’s pretty incredible and super bendy! I’m in awe at what she is capable of. One day maybe I’ll be able to do some of the poses she does, but until then I’ll have to be satisfied with my very basic poses and just enjoy the relaxation they provide for me.
However you de-stress, be sure that it’s a healthy way of doing so. Get out and do something that’s outside of your comfort zone. It’s when we go outside of that safe zone that we truly start living. And we all know life is for living, not just existing.
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” - Mark Twain