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Building Resilience for a Stronger Tomorrow in Emergency Management

When I began my career in emergency management, it was with a sincere desire to help others during times of disaster. I took that responsibility seriously, devoted myself to training and education, and embraced every opportunity that came my way. What no one told me was how much personal resilience would play a part in dealing with the many difficult things I would encounter along the journey. I have stared into the eyes of families who have lost everything; I have held the hands of crying children; and I have sat in rooms where the grief was truly overwhelming. Resilience, as noted by the American Psychological Association, is “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or even sources of significant stress". Our roles in emergency management often bring us face-to-face with grief, sorrow, loss, and hopelessness.

Implementing healthy coping strategies and building resilience is vital to ensuring we do the work we must and still maintain our mental health and well-being. Reaching out for support, either to loved ones, peers, or a 24/7 support line such as Boots on the Ground (1-833-677-2668), is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves.

There are also many simple tools we can utilize, such as deep breathing, daily exercise, nurturing a positive view of yourself, holding group debriefings, and even therapeutic support. The ways we nurture resilience are as unique as each of us is and we must find what works best for us. By taking care of ourselves, which is the most important thing, we are better able to carry on doing the essential work that our roles entail to ensure the safety of those we have committed to supporting.

For more of Sharon’s writings, you can find her blog “Stories from The Edge - Lessons from a PTSD Warrior” linked here.

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