Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Health and Wellness in Emergencies

Help yourself so that you can be of more help to others, especially in emergencies. We hear often the example about being on a plane, during an emergency, and putting on an oxygen mask. Airline officials tell us we should place the child’s oxygen mask on first, then our own. And this makes sense. From the perspective of self-preservation, we need to help ourselves before we help others. We are more effective with the level of care we provide.

And again, we've heard it all before. We know we need to practice self-care and look out for our own well being. In the event of a disaster, our health becomes a major priority. Let’s consider it this way. Generally speaking, the human species is now more comfortable and sedentary than ever before. We have most of our major comforts at our finger tips, push button technology and 24/7 convenience. So, why should I bother to stay fit or eat right? 

Our internal biology influences our external performance. How we treat our physical self, how much fresh air we get, whether or not we use our bodies actively contributes to our performance. Even our thought patterns determine how we feel and influence the experiences we create for ourselves. (To get a sense of this, check out James Allen's seminal classic As a Man Thinketh). Confronting coworkers for things said or done you don’t agree with, dwelling on   stressful situations, or dreading that looming deadline all contribute to our overall performance. As a different option, look for what’s good and exciting each day instead.

How can eating healthier, getting a full night of sleep and exercising get us to help others? First of all, you are what you eat. Your food is your energy, energy your output, and your output is your performance.  So keep eating whole foods throughout the stressful events of an emergency or incident, stay hydrated, and get a suitable break from whatever stressful incident is unfolding. Whenever possible, get out of the incident command post and take a short walk. Get exercise on a daily basis no matter what your environmental conditions. 

We’re also better able to manage our emotions when we sleep a solid 8 hours and get outside to move. Making a half hour in your morning routine can help a lot. Let’s face it: pressure rises and tempers can run short in an emergency event. Create a morning routine that focuses on calming or energizing activity, setting up your to-do list and prioritizing what you want to accomplish for the day will get your further. 

Talking about health and fitness is one thing; taking positive steps is another. Finally, make it a habit. Work living vitally into your daily life. You’ll be healthier and happier that you did.

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