“Grab 2022 by the Throat and Yell, ‘Not This Year, You Don’t!”

BETH KRAH

Scattered papers across my desk (and falling to the floor) proved I was serious about preparing my first article for Carolina Fire. The more I dug in and researched, pulled from articles previously written, and searched for great quotes, the more frustrated I got. Finally, I flung all that aside and resolved to just have a heart to heart this time around.

This column will primarily focus on your health and the health of your crews. Upstream healthcare, environmental health, infection prevention and control, carcinogens and cancer, and maybe a bit of humor and history thrown in to provide some balance. I encourage you to ask questions for clarification, or reach out for additional information, and appreciate the opportunity to serve you in this way. I will discuss mitigating the spread of infections during disasters, Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) issues, keeping your stations and vehicles as clean as possible without adding more toxic chemicals to the mix, and even The Great London Smog of 1952. For a teaser, you can watch Season 1, Episode 4 of The Crown, and you’ll get an idea of what that’s all about. But for now, I like to focus on you breathing.

Seriously — when was the last time you took time out to not only breathe, but to exhale. Since March of 2020, I felt like I needed someone to slap me upside the head just so I would exhale. I provide a technology that is critical during the pandemic, and though I wasn’t working the hours all of you were, I was nonetheless completely overwhelmed and trembling as I tried to keep up with demand. I have the utmost respect for you all and everything you’ve had to deal with during this time. Covid gave the rest of the world a better glimpse of what you do every day, and I pray you see the difference you made and continue to make in every one of our lives.

Now for the heart to heart:

“Have you made resolutions this year? Are you starting your to-do lists? Are you making time for yourself and your families? Are you exercising? Are you, are you, are you…” and the little bit of optimism that peeked out from the curtain Jan. 1st quickly retreats. “Do more research, pick the right products, train your team more, build the community, save the world, run, run, run…” 

Every year, we try again. “I will lose weight this time!” If you’re old enough to have done this for a while, you know the drill. I try to be more organized (I really do!) but realistically I’ve not gotten my head out of October’s paperwork and by the time I resurface, it’s June and Hobby Lobby is pulling out their Christmas decorations again. (Did I not just take those down?!) 

You are a First Responder – emergencies are your life. How can you take time for yourself when you’re so short staffed and the public cry continues to get louder? Maybe we’re trying to have more balance in our lives – appropriate time for family and work. We multi-task, work harder, and try to be more efficient, but at the end of the day, we’re left more exhausted. The path to a healthy balance is not more productivity, doing more and waking up earlier. It’s more about enjoying the life that you’re living now – not being concerned about the past or worrying about the future. As long as there’s a gap between what you care about and what your life reflects, you’re going to feel anxious, exhausted and out of balance.

In a recent EntreLeadership class, Ramsey Personality Christy Wright, author of “Take Back Your Time”, suggests we need to work smarter, not harder. She mentions, “Life balance is not doing everything for an equal amount of time, it’s about doing the right thing at the right time.” You get to decide what is right for you at any given time, and that may change as situations evolve, but it must include time for your own health.

If you live by your calendar – put time in it for you. You are important. You matter to the rest of us. You need to be healthy so you can stick around longer.

Here is my suggestion: take a pen and paper, toss the phone off a cliff (momentarily, of course) and be still. If it helps to write down everything swirling around your head, do it. Christy suggests thinking through the following points to see if you can recuperate some of that time:

Decide What Matters. Each season of life has its own challenges, what matters most to you right now (aging parents, family illness, career move maybe)? Give yourself permission to change your mind as things fluctuate. 

Stop Doing What Doesn’t Matter. Are there any distractions in your life that you can ditch or any activities you’re involved with that just aren’t that important? What can you delegate? “When you stop doing the things that don’t matter, you’ll be amazed at how much time you’ll have.”

Create a Schedule that Reflects What Matters. Are you passively living life and reacting as things are thrown at you, or are you purposely calling the shots? You don’t need to do everything, you need to do the rights things, at the right time. Are you scheduling time out for relaxation and getting sleep?

Protect What Matters. Set boundaries around those things. Say “no” more often and protect what matters most. Is that your family, a hobby, or your job – or is it taking time for yourself by getting away from everyone else for a day so you can breathe? Only you can decide what is important to you.

Be Present for What Matters. Do you worry about the kids when you’re at work, or worry about deadlines when you’re playing with your kids? Do you remember your drive home or did you just arrive there as you sifted through work issues? Live where your feet are. You will give yourself the incredible gift of experiencing your life while you’re in it. You can create the most impressive schedule in the world, but if you’re not present for it, you miss it.

Breathing may require you relinquishing some of the things that are tying you down. There are so many good things you can be doing, but if the timing is not right, it becomes the wrong thing. I felt a strong sense of relief when I started applying this in my own life. I wasn’t meant to do everything. “If everything is urgent, then nothing is.” – John Eldredge. Start by living your life in the driver’s seat instead of the passenger seat. Are you crazy enough to grab 2022 by the throat and say… “Not this year, you don’t!” Then go for a bike ride.

I pray that your 2022 is truly a fresh start focusing on your health and being able to enjoy that journey.

Feel free to connect with me and my team on social media under The Krah Corporation, or krahcorpllc. We’d love to hear from you – what frustrates you, what encourages you, what you would like to hear from us, and how we can assist you in your efforts to keep your crew safe. Take time out to breathe this year and maybe even enjoy it a bit more. And don’t forget to laugh. God was right, laughter really is the best medicine…and you don’t need government funding to utilize it.

Beth Krah is founder and CEO of The Krah Corporation (dba Krah Health Solutions). She has served the healthcare community for over a decade providing non-toxic infection prevention measures with a special focus on EMS, Disaster Preparedness/Response, Medical Care Facilities and the Military. Previously employed by Solvay Pharmaceuticals in their Quality Assurance/Quality Control group, her passion to serve is of utmost importance for her and her team’s role in serving their customers and keeping them healthy so they can focus on the pressing needs of saving the lives of others.

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