Dealing with Chronic Stress


In this episode, Steve, Dan, and Holly, interview returning guest Dr. Tillman about chronic stress management. Dr. Tillman discusses the importance of sleep, and proper “sleep hygiene.” Sleep strategies for individuals who work long shifts in emergency medical services are focused on. The trio discuss ways to manage work-related stress during times of COVID-19, social unrest, and natural disasters. Purposeful peering is highlighted by Dr. Tillman, as a technique to work through difficult or stressful calls.

The differences between acute and chronic stress are reviewed and Dr. Tillman. Dr. Tillman talks about how compassion fatigue occurs in first responders more often when dealing with chronic stress. The technique of tactical breathing, and practicing gratitude are detailed. Both of these methods are helpful in mitigating chronic stress and refocusing ourselves. Building resilience in ourselves and in children in these challenging times is also discussed. 

Learning Points:

  • Sleep hygiene is vital for good, regenerative sleep
  • Keeping television and phone use to a minimum prior to sleep can reduce sleep issues 
  • Individuals who work long shifts (upwards of 24 hours) or night shift will be in half sleep when on duty
  • If the brain is activated just prior to bedtime, it will be more difficult to sleep
  • Recognition of stress in yourself is key to beginning to manage the stress and store it away correctly
  • Purposeful peering relies on discussing stressful or difficult calls by engaging the five senses
  • Gratitude is critical in mitigating chronic stress by re-engaging the pre-frontal cortex
  • Building resiliency in these stressful times is important in ourselves and in children

Content Creator: Steve Williams
CAPCE Course Number: 20-EMTP-F3-4318
NJ Course Number: 141151
Total CE Hours: 1
Level: Basic