Taking a break at work

Taking a break at work seems like a simple enough idea. In fact, we are allotted, per the state, two 15-minute breaks and one half hour lunch break, so you would think that as a 9-1-1 dispatcher I would be excited to get out of the center for a little “me” time.

I did….when I smoked.

See, I would set my breaks for every 2 hours, and working afternoon shift that would be 5, 7 and 9pm, then I would leave at 11. Since I’ve stopped smoking, I have since stopped taking my breaks, for the most part.

Which isn’t a good thing.

As I stated before, I am a 9-1-1 dispatcher. You probably have a flurry of images running through your head about what I actually do. It can be a high-stress environment, sometimes for 15 minutes to a couple of hours, our adrenalin is peaking, ready to come out of our ears. We live “on the ready” for 8 hours, and that can get physically exhausting. Doesn’t matter the types of calls, yes some are worse than others, but the “normal” calls, such as “ I locked my keys in my car” to the barking dog complaints, if there is a high call volume, they can all be high stress.

I took a week’s vacation with my wife to Santa Cruz California, where she had grown up. Even though the beginning flight was cancelled, then we were booked to a lower class with a 2 segment flight and had been at the airport since 5:30am, we landed at San Francisco at 5:45pm, it was looking to be a rough week.

All that aside, we had the most relaxing time, I think, we had ever had and it showed when I came back to work. So, I went about my days, and not taking my breaks, like I had done in the past. I realized how much these little moments really matter in my personal well-being, and how I perform my job.

I am practicing self-wellness and this is the easiest way to start. If I can just spend 1 hour, albeit broken up, out of the room, not thinking about my job, this will help me both physically(because I walk), and mentally(because I clear my mind of all that had happened in the room), I will succeed.

Next time you’re at work, and you want to take a break but tell yourself “Just let me get this one thing finished…”, if it can wait 15 minutes, put it aside, step away from your desk and think about things that bring you joy in life.

Until next time,



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