There is a demonstration of resiliency that shows our resiliency, our sense of bouncing back is like a rubber band. After we experience a traumatic event or something stressful, we need to look at if we come back to the same place where we started, like a rubber band that has been stretched. We stretch the rubber band and release it and watch it go back to where it started. The more intense the pressure and/or the longer the pressure, the less were are going to go back to when we began, just like the rubber band. The more and more that we are stretched without our coping skills and self-care skills, we can snap like that rubber band.
Our coping to stress starts long before we ever respond to any emergency call. It starts with the relationships that we develop, how well we are trained, what we do to relax and what we do to seek joy. It includes understanding what the signs of stress are. Some people show stress some different ways, but most are the same. Do you know who you can talk with? A friend, chaplain, crisis team....Who do you have?
What do we do when we are in the middle of the crisis? On a scene, we may not have time to remove ourselves from the scene. We can remove ourselves from the scene. We can try tactical breathing exercises, to bring our breathing under control and our pulse.
There was an incident that I was about to go in with a partner but I could see that his mind was someplace else. I asked him what was going on. He said that I was the only one that noticed. We had a quick discussion and went on with our assignment. Yes, I could have just gone in with him and not discuss it, but it came to me "Two in, two out" and I wanted to make sure it would be two out. A few minutes to address someone's stress can make a big difference on the overall scene.
What about after the scene? Do you exercise when you are stressed? Do you pray, do yoga, go for a bike ride? There are so many things that people do. Jesus after feeding 5,000 people, made the disciples get into a boat and go ahead of him and dismissed the crowds. "After dismissing the crowds, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone." Matthew 14:23 See, we may all need some time alone to do self-care. I do not think that anyone is immune. Even God rested on the seventh day.
If we do not treat our stress and take hold of it, we can have psychological issues, or physical issues, like a heart attack. We need to reduce as much stress that we can.
When I was on a Hazmat team, we had physicals annually to make sure that we were in shape. When we went to a scene, we had our vital signs checked before and after entering into the hot zone. When we came out, we had a certain amount of time for our vitals to come within ten percent of our baseline. If we did not stabilize, we got a ride to the hospital, no negotiations.
Resiliency may include running, eating healthy, playing with your kids, etc. We all need to take care of the stress and how it affects us. If we do not handle the stress, it will handle us. How do you feel about having a heart attack? Don't want one? Find a constructive way to deal with it.
If you do not know how to build resiliency, you can always talk to people trained in crisis intervention. They are trained with a bunch of ideas.