As a rescue worker, you do a hell of a service for society. In the last blog post, we looked at the mental stresses that go hand in hand with the job of a rescue worker. This time we will focus on the physical stresses that are also often overlooked. We will also look at how physical and mental stresses are interrelated and how important it is to take care of both and promote holistic health for people in this job.
The body in action
Rescue work requires a high level of physical fitness and endurance. Every day, rescue workers are confronted with situations that can unexpectedly require peak performance. These include, for example:
Lifting and carrying: Rescue workers sometimes have to transport heavy equipment, injured people or patients. When lifting and carrying heavy loads, correct lifting and carrying techniques must be used to avoid physical impairment.
Unpredictable working conditions: In emergency services, you never know exactly what to expect. The mission may require working in extreme conditions such as confined spaces, uneven terrain or bad weather. These unpredictable working conditions can lead to extra physical exertion.
Often, the rescue services take this on very naturually. The resulting stresses are often overlooked.
The connection between body and mind
So what does this have to do with mental health? The answer is simple. Our body and mind form an inseparable system that influences each other. Physical ailments can put a strain on the psyche in the long run. For example, if you suffer from chronic back pain, this can lead to increased stress and irritability. Conversely, psychological stress can have negative effects on the body. For example, if you react with headaches as a result of a stressful mission. This is then called “psychosomatic complaints”.
Conclusion: A holistic focus on health
Emergency services can be both physically and psychologically challenging for professionals in this field of work. It is important to realise that physical and mental health cannot be considered separately. In order to promote a holistic health of the rescue workers, measures should therefore also be taken to preventively promote or regain both physical and mental health.
Blended Support is currently developing an app specifically designed for rescue workers to help them cope with stressful situations. We are also educating people about the link between physical and mental health in our app and offering body-focused exercises to minimise both physical and mental stress.
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