CopsAlive is pleased to welcome a new contributor in Diane Sieg. Diane was an emergency room nurse for over 20 years. She wrote her first book, “STOP Living Life Like an Emergency”, because she wanted to illustrate and identify how so many of us were living in such a frenetic state of more, better, faster.
Are you Living Your Life Like an Emergency?
As an emergency room nurse for over twenty years, I witnessed overdoses, car accidents, heart attacks, and gunshot wounds. More often than not, the patients I treated created their own emergencies. Whether it was falling asleep at the wheel, ignoring warning signs, or rushing to get something done, the emergency living they participated in contributed to the events that brought them to the ER.
Why are we all in such a rush? This can be especially true for you as police officers where emergency living is full of chaos, crisis, and panic. It keeps us moving at warp speed, always thinking about… the next thing we have to do. We think we have to move faster and faster just to keep up.
When we live our lives like an emergency, it leads to the destruction and breakdown of every area, including our physical health, our emotional well-being, and our personal and professional relationships. It may—and often does—even lead to a visit to the emergency room!
Living life like an emergency is life-threatening because it:
• Threatens your physical health by depriving you of sleep, leading you down the road to poor nutrition, and making you ignore significant warning signals.
• Threatens your emotional well-being by keeping you distracted, stressed out, and feeling out of control.
• Threatens your relationships by preventing you from spending the time and energy that they warrant and deserve.
A fifty-year-old man dressed in an expensive three-piece suit rushed through the ER doors with a tall, attractive blonde woman on his arm. While checking his cell phone for messages, he simultaneously spoke to me in a swift and sharp voice, indicating his companion: “I’m here only because my wife insisted on it. I’m having a little indigestion this morning, but I really don’t have time for this. I have a plane to catch in less than two hours.”
His skin color was gray and I noticed beads of sweat dripping down his forehead. Further questioning revealed he was up most of the night with chest heaviness and shortness of breath. He had chewed several antacid tablets at home with no effect and now felt nauseated.
He admitted to being under a lot of stress lately with his promotion to National Sales Manager and recently started smoking again. All of his symptoms were classic warning signs of a heart attack, including his denial that anything was wrong with him.
He was fortunate that his wife insisted he come in, even though he “didn’t have time for it”. He required open-heart surgery the next day.
Just like the warning signs of a heart attack, there are classic warning signs of emergency living that show up when we’re trying to do too much, too fast, too often. We often deny our emergency living until something serious happens that forces us to pay attention. Just because you work in law enforcement and are always taking care of others doesn’t mean you are immune from this either. Are you Living Life like an emergency? Answer the following questions honestly about how you are, not how you wish you were:
1. Are you always running late?
2. Have you accumulated piles in your life? Piles of paper, piles of clothing, and piles of piles you are going to get to someday….
3. Do you carry things over on your to-do list week to week, month to month, year to year?
4. Are you constantly losing things like your car keys, your glasses, even your children?
5. Do you have trouble saying NO?
6. Do people often comment on how busy you are?
7. Are you easily irritated when someone takes your parking place at the mall or has too many items in the express lane?
8. Do you finish other people’s sentences?
9. Do you tend to overdo things in your life, like exercise, volunteer work, or social commitments?
10. Do you find yourself saying, “When things slow down, I’m going to… exercise, get more sleep…take better care of myself”?
If you answered yes to one of these questions, you are at high risk for emergency living. If you answered yes to three or more, you are already living your life like an emergency!
The first step to stop living life like an emergency is to create a personal care plan to slow down your life. Here are a few specific steps you can take:
• Recognize that slowing down can be initially uncomfortable
• Speak slower and softer
• Eat and drink slower
• Drive slower
• Take a pause between phrases, tasks, and stressful moments
• Stop for five minutes in your day to be quiet and still
• Listen more intently to others with a quiet and open mind
• Do one thing at a time and really focus on that one thing
• Take a real “breather” by inhaling a full, deep belly-breath and exhaling long and slow
• Observe the haste of the people and activity around you
Pick just one of these strategies to practice everyday for 7 days to help you slow down your life. Make the time and you can stop living your life like an emergency!
Diane Sieg is a professional speaker, author, life coach, and yoga teacher. Her new CD, 30 Days to Grace is a powerful daily practice to help you achieve your ultimate goals. Her first book, STOP Living Life Like an EMERGENCY! has helped thousands get out and stay out of the emergency room of life. Email Diane by CLICKING HERE or visit: http://www.dianesieg.com or call: 303-321-1010.