Andi: Welcome to episode 15 of the 911 Shift Ready Podcast. Before we dive in today’s episode, I would like to acknowledge that this podcast will be airing on September 11th. We would like to pay our respects
Kevin: and to give our thanks and our support to anybody who this particular date has significance to them. So thank you. And we certainly support you.
Andi: Absolutely. I definitely remember exactly where I was on September 11th. All right. So diving into today’s episode, this is my husband for any of you that are actually watching this on YouTube. He is the big supporter behind the scenes.
Today, we are going to do a different episode. We’re going to do an interview together where we are asking each other some tough questions as being a first responder couple, family and both of us working in the world with first responders.So the first question that we came up with
Kevin: so we actually just wrote a bunch of questions on a piece of paper. So kind of here it is. So we’re just going to fly by the seat of our pants on this one.
Andi: Yeah. So let’s talk about our conversation when I actually first thought about working with first responders. What did that mean for our family safety, for the bubble that we had built around our family and actually for both of us as well being immersed now in a 911 life? Both of us.
So I’ll let you start. Do you remember that conversation?
Kevin: Yeah. I mean, I’ve been an officer for about eight years and I know in that time. You know, even before we had kids, we always had this bubble that we would try to protect ourselves in terms of, I wouldn’t really tell many people about what I did. And I know most of you out there are kind of in the same situation where, you know what you just kind of keep to yourself or not really share what you do not because you’re afraid of other people’s opinions but everybody seems to have an opinion about, you know, this particular profession. You know, any of the 911 services.
So, it’s because if people see them on an everyday basis, hear the sirens, they can relate to it somehow. And seem to have something to say about 911 responders. So I know that we always had this kind of bubble that we didn’t really say much about what we did. In fact, even, you know, my neighbor until he actually moved, didn’t know what I did.
And you know, it was something that we just really just kept to our self. And it was for many reasons. Some of us and you can relate is some of us just personal safety. It’s not something that we, you know, really want to share about what we do as profession. You know, for protection of ourselves and our families.
So that was certainly one thing. And the other, part of it was sometimes just to kind of turn things off. So, you know, it’s where I would go to work and then at some point I’d like to be able to kind of switch gears and become, you know, from officer of the day so to speak and then when I’m off, then you know, I can often switch to family guy, so to speak.
Andi: Yeah. And so it was a big decision because me going into this, I needed to be on social media. And then I actually was asked to be on national TV on the news channel. That we both did an interview. You had to get it cleared by your service.
Kevin: So really that was a huge step.
Kevin: Because I think you were barely six months into to starting things. And, you know, we were asked to speak on national television live. Not just, you know, national television recording. It was something that was live. So it was quite the experience or you know of almost like a real coming out into the world on this. So that was quite an experience.
Andi: It was. And the thing is, is that did mean something to our family safety. I mean, we don’t even have our cars registered to our house. Everything’s registered to the police station. We’re in a large city, so my husband’s never worked in our areas. Never come to and from in your uniform. Odd time, you forgot something and I have to meet you like down the alley, back in the street and bring it to you so that nobody sees you in a uniform or anything if you’re even in the area.
So we did make a decision then that if I was able to save a life, I’m going to cry. If I was able to save a life by doing this then it was worth us lifting that bubble and the risk to our family’s safety.
Kevin: And to you know, share the good things that you know can be learned to the world of a 911 responders, to be honest.
Andi: Yeah, absolutely. Which speaking about all of the bubble, when black lives matters happened, there was a lot of hate. And we had neighbors posting some horrific things and then 30 minutes later, walking by us on the streets going, “Hey, how you doing?” As if not connecting cause by then they did know that you were an officer. They did know that I worked with officers not connecting any of that. I was shunned by I was in a lot of mom entrepreneur groups where we’re all supposed to help each other and support one another. And they did support me in working with first responders until black lives matters happened.
People that I was looking for some help to come on board with me and they’re like, oh, I’ll help post your jobs. I’ll do this for you. I can help you with this. I can get the word out about that. And as soon as black lives matters happened, they’re like, Nope, won’t help you. I’m taking this down. And they pretty much shunned me. And I never, ever experienced that before.
Kevin: And this was in pretty much just a couple of months or a month or so after real with COVID shutdown. So, you know, people were locked up in their homes with nothing to do or they weren’t allowed to do, you know, didn’t feel like they were allowed to do anything. And they had a lot of time to pay attention to social media.
Andi: They did. Absolutely. And then I was also because I’m so emotion in this world and that’s the interesting thing too is I sometimes see a lot more of what’s going on because you know what’s going on in your service and in this area per se but I’m hearing everything in the states. I’m hearing all of Canada. I’m hearing like the UK. I’m hearing of officers just going to fake calls and they knock on the door and they’re shot. Or just the homicides of officers was huge.
And I was struggling. I was really struggling. And I remember the day when it was actually, it was the day that one of our neighbors posted something horrific in my opinion. And I looked at you and I said, why are you not bothered by this? I said, why is not all this made affecting you like it’s affecting me? Do you remember what you said?
Kevin: It was probably something simple, like I’m just used to it. And it’s a really bad thing to say but I know a lot of us can agree that this is not stuff that is normally seen by civilians out there in the world, but it’s something that we deal with. You know law enforcement, especially that we see from people is the dislike or the hatred or you know just people that just don’t like the uniform.
Andi: Yeah. I remember what you said. You said yes. Exactly what you did just say, but then when I asked what do you mean you added to that saying that since I started on this job, nobody wants me at a call because it’s rare that I’m at a call where somebody wants me there. He goes, I get spit on. I get disrespected. People wanna hit me, fight me. He’s like, that has been the same since day one on the job. And you said, how is this any different?
Kevin: Right. And I mean, there’s people that they’re just dying to do something to you or get you into trouble or find ways to take us down. And that’s how it feels a lot.
Andi: And I knew that, but I didn’t understand what that was like until it happened to me. I think that that was a huge pivotal change for me. And I really tried to deal with it for a while. And it got to the point where I was struggling a lot with the hate, with wondering, am I the right person to do this?
There was also other stuff happening as well, where I was getting hate because of helping responders and I was getting hate from inside as well, because what I do is work on physical symptoms of stress. I don’t work on the therapy that people, instead of getting curious, and instead of finding out what it is that I do and asking what I do instead they just totally badmouthed me or even flat out to my face things that had been said to me hit me hard. That I was wondering, it took me, there was a while where I was wondering, I actually paused the business.
It was October of 21 that I paused the business. I think it was in October in 2021. I actually paused the business because of the hate, because of the backlash on either side, I needed to figure out a lot of my own shit. I had struggles as well from growing up about my worth because of how I had been talked down to and dealt with a lot in my own personal life. That I didn’t realize that when the hate was hitting me, that that was coming back from my childhood. So I had to actually stop and take the time to really figure out how can I handle doing this while I’m learning about like, so I hear so much about the traumas that happen even though I’m not the mental side, I’m not the PTSD side. I hear it.
And the responders, they open up to me about a lot of this and there is a link to a lot of this to physical symptoms. So when I’m asking them about their sleep and I’m asking them about their guts, and I’m asking them about moods and all of this and then I ask them what happened six months before that, what happened a year before that. Quite often there is a trauma or there is something that happened frequently.
And I hear so many of them whereas for you, you know your traumas. And there hasn’t been as many calls, like I was getting multiples per week and you don’t get a trauma every week. So I was getting hit with a lot without I’m not therapy. And I had to learn then skills myself on, okay how can I work with this and use this and continue to be strong myself for this. How can I keep hearing about all of these shootings and line of duty deaths and suicides that are astronomical in number and still be okay with my husband going out on the job every day? Like, how can I be okay with that? So I had to work through that.
Kevin: Because it’s just a quick term that I’ve learned and it’s something they call vicarious trauma. Which is where somebody takes in and they listen to other people’s traumas or events and they absorb it themselves. And it does have an effect on them.
Andi: Yeah. And you get like the compassion, fatigue, the injury, all of these things that I’ve learned about, because I didn’t know the mental side when I came into this. Everything that I do is physical but the link between the two which I see why some people were upset when I’m saying certain things about the physical because those symptoms do arise as well from the mental and both pieces are important. Both are very, very important.
And so I had to learn how to communicate what I do in a way for people to understand what it is that I do and how it’s different from the mental side, the therapy side, the PTSD side is separate from that I had to get my own shit together and I had to get the tools in order to be able to understand what I needed as a coach in order to be able to help you through everything that you have experienced and you have gone through. And understand how to physically get your body strong from everything that has happened on the job.
Kevin: One of the questions I had, a different part of the personal especially in the last few years and working through some of this, like how do you feel like you have evolved or how have you grown personally and in your business especially through working with first responders.
Andi: Okay. I don’t even know where to start.
Kevin: Like in the beginning a lot of things came really fast. You know, the national TV live appearance or your speaking gigs, you know for different services. And how do you feel like you’ve grown from that point then to where you are now and where you’re headed?
Andi: Yeah. I remember early on, I was asked to speak at a national conference with higher ups. I’m not going to say anymore cause it was completely confidential. Like I had to go through so many so much paperwork just to even get there. To get into the building and all of that. This was with like high ups nationally.
And to speak, I was so freaking intimidated. I remember I was, I practiced for months on what I was going to say everything. And when I got there, it was a three day conference with higher ups, with specialized people from all over the world. Were there a lot from Europe, North America, it was fascinating. And I got to sit in on some phenomenal speakers speaking. And I really got to see and hear more like the more conferences that I actually have been able to speak at the more I’m able to get more of an inside view too as to what you do cause they’ll have specialized projects.
Somebody will come in. Sometimes speak about a specialized project that were on. The more responders that I meet and I see and I talk to, I learn more about how many different specializations there are in all different services and all different kinds of policing. And I was so intimidated then with the level of seniority as to who I was speaking to. And I came out of there going, “Oh my God, these are just like the other guys in my program.
They’re struggling with their sleep. They’ve got brain fog. Their guts are messes. They’ve got families, they’ve got kids, they’re people They’re human beings. And I have stopped looking at rank now. And I look at them more as to like, well, how many years have you been on service?
Because your stress system does different things at different stages, different years on service. And the more that they are in service, the longer I realize their bodies are more stressed. They’re probably struggling more than many that are, you know, haven’t been in service that long.
So I don’t go in as intimidated anymore. Their people, they have their specializations every time I’m at a different conference or listening to any of them in my program and speaking about their specialties. They’re so good at what they do and so good at their specialties. And then I have to take that step back and think, well so am I. You know, I live, sleep, eat and breathe.
Like literally stress. Stress management system. Managing our stress management systems is what I do which I got into because of our son like it is a big part of our life. That’s how and why I got into this. So understanding that there is a human behind whatever specialty, whatever rank they are, there is a human, I’m a human, and we all have our own specialties and that’s okay.
I will say too, that when I was speaking before too, I was more talking at them. Whereas now I’ve learned a lot more of how to connect more and to be able, I’ve worked hard. I’ve done so many courses. I’m constantly learning and doing courses on how to connect, how to break down walls. How can I be better?
I’m constantly taking where you can attest. Yep. I’m always taking courses. I’m always learning how to break down walls. How can I connect? How can I communicate better? So, yeah, my speaking now and I look at even like a year ago, like it’s always changing cause I’m always learning but I think it’s just improved so much more. Which interestingly because I’ve worked so hard on that, it’s helped my communication for us as a relationship.
It’s helped our communication with the kids. It’s helped in like, it’s fascinating when I hear my kids now breaking out in certain language patterns in order to be able to get somebody to open up or get somebody to do something that they wanna do with that person feeling like they’re in control. Hostage negotiation skill.
It’s fascinating when I hear our kids using those now but it really has changed the way that I now communicate with other people as well. I’ve gotten so much better at communicating and I’ve dealt with a lot of the shit from my past and realized that we all have shit. I think the one thing as well is we all have a story. And I used to, this is like before learned this really fast and working with first responders is that everybody has a story. And I don’t judge anybody. Anybody like any parent doing anything.
We don’t ever know their history. We don’t know the child’s history. We don’t know anything involved in any of that, that I have stopped making up any stories about what’s truly going on with somebody instead now I get curious and I ask questions.
Kevin: You asked a lot of questions.
Andi: I ask a lot of questions. I do. Yes, absolutely.
Kevin: That kind of actually covers how some of your philosophy about being a police life or a family has kind of evolved from when I first applied for the job to now. So I think you spoke a lot to that and, and how things have changed to that point and how, I guess we’ve grown.
Andi: I was naive.
Kevin: I mean, I wrote down a quick point that neither of us had any exposure to a police or a law enforcement family. So it’s not something where we had the opportunity to see the parents, cousins, uncles, aunts, anything like that really from the 911 world and to see what their lifestyle was really truly like.
I mean, when I applied I was just looking for a job. I was looking for a full-time job. I’d been working like two or three different jobs all at once but none of them were really stuck. So first and foremost and some of you out there have been on for a short time. Some been on for a long time but some of you guys been on for a long time probably started at 18, 19 years old, and you were just looking for a job and here it came and the opportunity was there. So for me, I was just looking for a job and I guess I said enough of the right things to get the job.
Andi: Well, you also wanted to help people.
Kevin: Yes. Absolutely.
Andi: Thing though, is that we were naive about what the job entails.
Andi: Like when you started, I was like, “Whoa! He gets to go to like police college for three months.” And you know, it was this exciting, naive.
Kevin: Yeah. Absolutely.
Andi: And then when we got into the shift work and stuff, I’d work shift works in the past myself. I’m never in the box with all of that stuff. So we were pretty good about I think working with that is it was more dealing with family that was tough too.
In holidays, like I do recall as well Christmas once where one family member, I sent them an email saying these are the weekends I think you had two out of every five weekends off. So I gave them the two out of the five weekends off that he had in December. And I said, these are the weekends we’ve got off.
This is what we have free. What works for you? And they blasted me. Blasted me saying like I was putting them last and I wasn’t respecting the holidays and all of this stuff. And I’m thinking “holy shit! He only has two out of five weekends off. I gave you his only time that we have off.” Like, so it’s been an adjustment for family in order to be able to work around our schedules with holidays and all of those things that I think has been pretty tough.
And then having kids and working around your schedule that was definitely interesting. But when I got into working with first responders, I thought I knew what you did. I knew the shifts. I knew like the overtime I knew I always had to have a plan B. So once I really got into the world, once I started going to conferences where I was asked to speak and listening to all of the other stuff that goes on once I was listening to the responders and explaining to me was going on and happening in their shifts and all that.
Cause you are pretty quiet in everything. You’re pretty quiet. I talk, you listen a lot. We’ve been working in our marriage of me listening better and you talking more. So I am learning more about what you do on the job now. But at the beginning, I didn’t know what you did cause you were very quiet about it. And I believe as well that now that I do what I do too, we can have more conversations because I’m even more aware of what’s happening.
I’m aware of what happens in services all over North America in the UK. I’m aware of what’s happening in like with the public with a lot of the changes in public, like all kinds of stuff. Where training is so different in different services. Like even police training in different services, rural city, especially in the states is very different from Canada. All the structures, all of those things.
So I’m able to speak a lot more of that with you. And I was very, very, very naive as a wife. I actually didn’t know about all of the departments, all of the different things that do go on in policing. And that’s where too, like neighbors, they just think you’re on the streets going to calls. They don’t really understand all the deep stuff that really does happen behind the scenes that you guys do.
All right. So question for you, what’s it like to live with me? When like from when we were first married to now, as far as the health perspective goes or me with like stress with me being like, well, I guess it used to be me being stressed and burnt out to learning about it, to teaching it.
Kevin: The health side, I certainly was not having the healthiest habits when we first met I mean, I was
Andi: You call it the dark side
Kevin: Kind of. Yeah. But like, I mean, I was relatively like active and thought I was healthy and I mean I’ve been lucky that I didn’t have any major health concerns or anything like that. So on an appearance level, a surface level, I seem like a healthy person. But as I started working shift work, I realized what a toll it took. And this is before you and I had kids and just trying to sort things out as an individual just to figure out what end is up sometimes.
And you start the job and you got full of vim and vigor and all that and your energy but then after I started I went to unit that basically day after day you would talk to gang bangers and basically harass the bad guys on a day to day basis. And that became exhausting. Trying to do that for a long period of time and try to keep up healthy habits wasn’t exactly the best. I know my eating wasn’t the best. It was part of the upbringing. It’s just ate all kinds of junk and that’s I mean you know, I don’t have a halo above my head but just in being with you in through your influence it’s been reduced like huge huge.
Andi: You used to do fast food pretty much every single day.
Kevin: Maybe not every single day but I would say a few times a week. And that’s just, I mean, some of that was just being like a single guy. You know, you’re younger and anything you eat may not have that effect on you, but yeah, I was eating a lot of crap. Drinking a lot of sodas and sugary drinks and things like that.
But just over time and it wasn’t an overnight thing. But just over time, just small, healthier habits is the huge influence that you’ve had. And I’ve never felt guilty or anything if I fell off the track so to speak, I would just, you know, get back on. And because I learned it over time and it wasn’t an overnight thing, it was easy to just get back on track because it’s something I had done for a period of time to practice.
Andi: So if I’m hearing this correct,
I didn’t push you into it really fast you got to come into it on your own.
Andi: All right. Yes. Okay.
Andi: Actually, I didn’t know how you were going to answer this question. I didn’t know because I mean, it’s been kind of like a push pull. Like I know there’s been times in our relationship where I’m like, “Oh my God, we’re eating too unhealthy. I can’t do this.” And we would have to, I kept saying, we go back to the dark side and the light side, and it was a big balance when we got together to figure out how to balance our eating styles together.
Kevin: It’s a lighter shade of gray side now.
Andi: It is. It’s a lighter shade of gray and that’s the thing we’re not perfect in how we eat and how we do things. But I do remember like, just going back to that, even before we had kids. When we would visit my parents, my mom would always complain about how much you slept. Cause you were always like you were, I know, like when I’m working with responders, there’s some that like four to six hours it’s all they can sleep or like forever to get to sleep, always waking up in their sleep.
You would fall asleep fast, but like 12, 15 hours later, if I didn’t wake you up, you pretty much didn’t get up. And you took forever to actually like wake up. I would wake you up and it’d be like an hour before I’d see you downstairs. And that’s changed.
Andi: Huge. I mean that’s one of the things I teach.
Kevin: I didn’t know that.
Andi: You didn’t know that my mom complained about it all the time?
Kevin: I must have been sleeping.
Andi: You must have been sleeping that’s right. But that was, it I’d be like, “Mom, he works shifts.” Like she didn’t get his life but also that’s when we were working more and learning more of the things. I was like, “Okay, I know all this stuff. How can I start adopting it for your shifts? How can I start getting it to help you?”
And it’s once I started getting into like getting myself out of burnout and then we started adapting it to it that you started only needing eight hours of sleep.
Andi: I mean, now you wake up, you’re downstairs eight in the morning, ready to go. You know, like on a day off, like there’s sometimes too you’re even like seven o’clock. Or my time is until seven. My kids are not allowed downstairs until seven. And sometimes he comes down before seven now. I’m like, this is my time. I’m like, this is my only space where it’s me in the house. And I’m almost upset if he’s actually up early
Kevin: invading your time.
Andi: He’s invading my time. Yeah. But that’s changed huge. You used to sleep tons. Tons and never ever, ever feel like you recovered.
Okay, let’s talk about the trucker rally. Well, let’s talk about this year. Let’s talk about, I don’t know, the last three years. So the trucker rally. You did 33 days straight.
Kevin: I did I call it 33 and 33 cause I did 33 days in a row. And my longest shift was 33 hours out of that. I did a 26 and a bunch of 18’s along the way. So it was long and I think the longest part was because we didn’t know if there was an end to it.
So that was the hardest part of knowing that and this was just coming off of something else we were doing out of town,. But in what we were doing this was before the start of the busy time of my particular job function for the year. So this was not something that we necessarily planned for but it’s something that we had to put together really quickly. And you know, get operational. So there was a lot of stress in putting together from a planning phase. And also once we were actually operational in motion, there was a lot of long, long hours.
And again, it was something that we didn’t know what. It just became day after day after day of a bunch of unknowns and being ready to go. And some of you’ll know this, you spend a lot of time, getting ready to get ready. And that’s a lot of time stressed. It’s not necessarily mental focus on it but when it eats a lot of your time and sometimes you just sit watching the clock and hoping for the day to finish or somebody else to take over and we’re running 24 hours a day and it was long.
And this is something where I certainly had not prepared for up to this point or up to that point in my policing career because I was used to working a set amount of days and then having a set amount of days off. So I was in a position where, “Okay, I know these.” I’m going to have these days off, as long as I can get to day number seven or day number eight, as long as I can get through to that.
Kevin: Whereas I had no idea what was happening and on top of that, there were other things that were starting to creep up closer in the calendar where I knew I’ve gotta get some of other things started for planned things that I needed to get to. And so losing that time to prep for some of these projects was quite stressful.
And to add to that too, the boys weren’t seeing you because of the hours you were working, you were sleeping while they were either sleeping and you were gone or you were sleeping while they were at school and they didn’t see you for two, three weeks. It was kind of one of those lesser of two evils where I picked a work nights so I could at least see them at some point.
Kevin: During the day.
Andi: And that’s because they were crying. They boys were crying cause they hadn’t seen, they hadn’t even seen his face in person for like three weeks. And it was so hard putting them to bed and they would just cry. And so you switched. You weren’t able to switch to a night shift schedule so you could come home early and maybe see them if they were awake, go to bed and be awake for a couple of hours once they got outta school before you had to go back in on shift.
Andi: Yeah. That’s how we did that. But how about your body? How did you manage? Because you did go from that trucker rally into two months.
Kevin: It wasn’t two months but it was a quick turnaround to start dealing with sports playoffs. So hockey and basketball.
Andi: Two of our teams made the playoffs. I’ve never, ever, ever in my entire life knowing you had you ever wish our team to lose. Your such of sports fan. And he was like, the boys, we were all every day after the game would happen the next morning, they’d be like, “Did they lose? Did they lose?” We’re like, “No, they won.” They’re like, “Ugh.” And then they’re like, it got to the playoffs and I’m like, “Oh, okay. Maybe they’ll only make it one round.”
That we just, we missed you so much and you missed us. And playoffs the amount of time that went into planning everything for every single playoff game was like astronomical on top of you having to be at every playoff game for crazy amounts of hours before and after the games.
Kevin: Yeah. So it just went from one large thing to the next.
Andi: So how did you do it? Like, I guess the question is had we not brought into our life the stuff that I teach?
Kevin: I’d be a mess because again that long of a stretch to work before I’d really even mentally prepared for the things I was supposed to do for the year just added so much like the physical, the time of it. And it was just for so long and so early in the year that I would’ve been burnt out had I not implemented some basic things as part of your program. Like learning through and going through the program helped me to
Andi: cause you did go through my program.
Andi: Like he went through my program and that is kind of the thing is there’s certain things that we have always adapted into our life and we’ve done and all of that. But there are things that I teach in the program that as a wife, it was best for you to probably learn from the program versus me teaching. I think some of the things like when I’m teaching certain habits in order to really get to sleep, you need to choose which habits you want and all of that stuff. And our life is about being parents to our kids and having that time together as a couple. That that’s so limited that for me to stop and teach that you actually went through my program.
Kevin: No, I did. I did. And there was so many things that I could utilize and in different ways, different days that I could implement and use to get through like working not just the total 33 days but even like each day at a time.
Kevin: And trying to figure out because I could see not just for myself but somebody who’s working like that kind of stretch
Andi: you weren’t alone.
Kevin: I wasn’t just me. And I know some of you there are doing those stretches. Whether you choose to do it on your own or it’s put upon you to do it. And quote unquote not a choice to but had I not had some of the skills and the things that I could implement, I might be one of those who at the end of the 33 days might be one to say, “You know what, I’m taking some stress leave. I’m out. Like I’m burnt out or I’ve had enough.
And being so early in the year that would’ve put all of my other things on ice just walking away and putting that additional pressure and stress on my coworkers to pick up the slack. And I’m certainly glad for that reason alone was enough to be thankful that I could implement and use some of the things to keep me going and not feel like I was dying.
Andi: Yeah. You rarely had eight hours of sleep. You rarely by the time you got home and you showered and ate and got yourself in a bed, you barely had eight hours sleep. And I mean, I was making a lot of meals. Normally I don’t do the cooking. He does. So I was making the meals. I was like doing as much as I could for you so that when you came home, if you had five hours to be in bed, you could try to sleep for five hours.
Like I was trying as best as I could as well but if you weren’t implementing the right tools that five hours, you wouldn’t have been able to have a good quality sleep. That got you into that deep, that healed your body and the REM that helped your brain to problem solve all of that. So you were able to get in good sleeps cause you would wake up from five hours feeling refreshed quite often. Near the end there were some times in there where you were tired but you were able to then be like, “Okay, what other tools do we need? What has slipped? How can I help? What can we do?” We pulled out every tool then.
Andi: We had every tool going I think in order to get you through that. And then get you through the playoffs. And then get you through to your next project where you just, like, the only reason we’re able to record this is you’re on vacation right now. And you’ve just got a break.
Andi: Right? Like this is your first break this year and we’re in August right now but yeah.
Kevin: It’s been quite a year.
Andi: It has been. And I mean, COVID itself. I mean, all the stuff you were doing for COVID and
Kevin: Yeah. I mean, I think that’s had an effect on everybody, so not just me. So, I mean, just again, this year alone has been quite a challenge
Kevin: For most people, but I’m super thankful and we’ve got through to this point. I mean, I know it’s not done yet, but
Andi: You know if we think about it, you went this trucker rally though, but you were refreshed when you went into the trucker rally. Before that you had COVID like the two years not that you had actual COVID. COVID was here for the two years before.
And when you were working COVID you were working some 15 hour days. I know at the start of COVID Monday to Friday with your COVID logistics, all of that stuff that you were doing for that first year of COVID. And then weekends because you work a different unit, sometimes a specialized unit, you had to go and do the duties that were called upon you for that specialized unit on weekends. So for COVID you were seven days a week, a lot.
Kevin: There were some long weeks, especially in the beginning cause then everybody was just trying to figure out, you know, how to do things, how to modify things, how to keep everybody safe and like where we going to get stuff, how are we going to get it. It’s everybody to whatever scale that you know, you or your service, how to adjust or adapt to new things, new procedures, new processes.
Andi: But you work at one of the larger services in Canada. So it’s a huge service to be able to do all the COVID stuff for them.
Kevin: The larger the organization, the more that has to be done.
Andi: And the more complaints from everybody so that you have to keep alternating and change things too. But there was like you were getting two, three days off a month, I think for the first year of COVID.
Kevin: It was. It was big.
Andi: And you were not burnt out though before you went into the trucker rally but had you not had those tools then you probably would’ve been burnt out going into the trucker rally.
Kevin: Absolutely. Yeah.
Andi: Crazy. All right.
Kevin: So one of the other questions I thought of is like what do we do in our, I guess our well current but also along the way what have we done to kind of teach and help our kids with some of the things that we’ve learned about stress systems and being in a police family?
Andi: Well for stress systems, that’s our one son. So I was in burnout when I was pregnant with our second child. And I did not have the stress system resiliency or whatever you wanna call it to support him and he came out in full burnout. He has a lot of stress triggers. We’ve also found out, I mean, just a whole skew of things about him as well that make him such a phenomenal, amazing child but also huge anxiety and very sensitive to things and stressors and stuff.
So our life is all about understanding your stress system, understanding your stressors and living, eating, sleeping it like our kids, well the one wears my Oura ring at night. He tracks his deep and REM sleep. He does these little experiments to figure out what helps him get a better latency which is the time to fall asleep. What things does he do before bed helps him get a better deep or better REM or his HRV, his stress. He does all like we have these conversations and check our stats the next day.
Kevin: I dunno, what, what kids his age are doing these things. It’s phenomenal. Like it’s really neat to see. Certainly so many of the things that they’re learning right now. So far in such a long way certainly way more than I was brought up with probably more than you were brought up with.
Kevin: And just, you know, understanding themselves and how to work with and regulate and take care of their own physical bodies way more than we were ever taught or experienced.
Kevin: For ourselves.
Andi: That’s pretty cool. They’re pretty cool kids.
Andi: Yeah, it’s fascinating. And seeing them and then listening to the choices that they make, as we said earlier too, the way that they speak now, too, like the conversation styles is kind of funny. But then I guess from the policing side, it’s been interesting because like we’ve always taught the kids that daddy helps people.
Daddy helps people that are struggling. Daddy helps people that may have gotten into trouble. Daddy’s always helping people to keep them safe and to help them. That’s all how we’ve always explained your job. But then like we’ll have conversations like, well, last summer I know my neighbors were really worrying about COVID and we’re having a conversation at our dinner table about you maybe having to go to a dump. To go search for pieces of a body that you needed as evidence for a murder case.
And we’re talking about the logistics, we’re talking about how cool our dump system is. How they know exactly where our garbage goes in our dump and then where that pile goes in the dump where they brought it to so that they knew exactly where in the pile to even start looking based on the dumpster or something or wherever it had been dumped. Like it was fascinating. So we’re having these conversations.
Kevin: A lot different conversations than most families and their kids have about garbage than where the end point is just getting it to the garbage can and picking it out to the street.
Andi: But like, but we have conversations about how, you know, conversations with him about how there’s all different types of people. People struggle for different reasons. And to understand that when people aren’t helping themselves with their struggles, when people are to be cautious of certain people, we do word it though, in a way of like not that somebody is like good or bad or this or that but that we always have to know our surroundings.
We always have to be cautious because people weren’t always taught to be safe. People weren’t always taught to be nice to other people, stuff like that. And some people have had things happen to them in their lives and they don’t know how to be good or to behave and we need to just be aware of them in our surroundings and our society.
Kevin: Absolutely. And just for them to understand that, you know, again they’re not good or bad. There’s just some people that need more help.
Kevin: Right. Just to look different levels of help and we do talk to them about alcohol and some of its effects. We do talk to them about mental disorders because these are real things that they see.
Andi: Yeah. Well, we lived in the city.
Kevin: I mean, they don’t necessarily see them physically, but
Andi: they’re aware.
Kevin: They’re aware.
Andi: You can see. You walk down our streets and stuff like it’s just we’re in the city and it’s everywhere. But sometimes we talk about what stories might be behind some of these people. As I talked to before, we never know someone’s story. So that’s where I get to them too. I’m like, look, this is somebody we should be cautious of because they may be on a drug or they may be in a mental health state right now that they’re not aware of their actions this might be why.
And we talk about a couple of different reasons as to why that person might be the way that they are. So they’re still cautious and aware but they’re not naive to that. But they also may understand why somebody would get to that point and how it can be to start getting them to understand more about the complexities of people and where they are.
One thing though is when you were doing this is during COVID, you were doing so many hours and we hadn’t seen you we came and helped you at work one day set up. And so we were grabbing all the equipment and the boys were charging batteries of radios. It was, they loved it. And so somebody that one of your colleagues gave us a hat of your service baseball hats. And our boys really wanted to wear them. And that was a big conversation between you and I. I think on
Kevin: and with them.
Andi: And with them. We did have a huge conversation with them before we let them wear them in public because of all hate. And so we prepared them with conversations if somebody said something negative to them. Helping them understand why somebody might say something negative. Helping them understand how to have that conversation and dialogue with them with curiosity.
And we prepared them. And then they’ve been wearing those hats for a few years now. And I don’t think anybody has ever said anything negative to them. And that’s been a huge learning lesson for me because of social media. Because I am immersed in this world that social media is actually where I get most of the hate.
It’s kind of interesting because our neighbors who know us are nice to us and like us to our face. But then they’ll be saying things about officers on social media and they’re not connecting those dots. So their impression of what police are is different than who we are as people. And that’s fascinating that it was a real good lesson for me because before then I was thinking that everything that was happening on social media, all the hate, all of the stuff going on there was also happening in real world.
And through the boys wearing those hats, I realized that I need to relax a little bit more in what I’m going to assume that people are thinking out in public about me, what I do, what you do. I also need to be like, we work with the kids where it’s like, they’re allowed, they’re entitled to the opinion. I can get curious and find out why if I want to and have the energy for that conversation or I can just choose to go elsewhere and ignore them.
And that has been huge because when you do have so much hate every day when you are seeing it, when it is so in front of you all the time, It’s easy. I fell into it to believe that everybody is thinking it and everybody is there. That I was isolating myself from other people and having the boys wear those hats actually helped me open up my bubble a little bit more. And be like, okay, not, everybody’s going to hate me. Not everybody is going to make assumptions about me and just let them actually get to know who I am first.
And then if they find out that I work for responders and they’re going to choose to not like me then that’s on them. That’s their struggle, their issue, their story. So I think that you’re asking what we teach our kids but I think our kids have possibly taught us more. Then we may have taught them.
Kevin: Yeah. Because what they do in their actions are often more natural and they’re less calculated than ours. And I don’t mean that in a negative way. It just, sometimes we overthink things and sometimes we can learn a lot from our kids or our pets about how simple things can be.
Andi: Yeah. Her pets, you make us think we just have a rescue cat. He’s awesome.
Kevin: Which we’re learning a lot.
Andi: We’re learning a lot. He’s come a long way in like two and a half months.
Kevin: Amazing that you know about a cat stresses.
Andi: it is. It’s fascinating because we got a cat that fits in our family. He has anxiety. Like our son, very cautious about things. His guts a mess. I’m like sorting him all out. He’s been having good poo lately. I’m like, yes, it’s even working on a cat.
Andi: And this cat is so much calmer and more relaxed and a lot happier with us and his anxiety’s so gone down as well that I think this cat came into the right family.
Andi: It’s been interesting. All right. So in closing, one more question. Well, it’s a twofold, but what would you tell somebody that’s brand new coming into being a first responder? And as far as like being able to last their career, not burn out. I mean, you have been a coach officer, you see how excited these rookies are and all of that which is so cool. What would you say then as well, to a seasoned responder? So somebody 15, 30 years on the job that is just pushing through every day.
Kevin: Wow. Actually, the funny thing is the message is probably very similar is to take care of yourself.
Andi: What does that mean?
Kevin: So, you know, for a new officer. They’ve got a lot of energy. I think I’m for the ones that have coached of, I’ve kind of more shown them of the things that I do. And a lot of it is learned through your program. It has nothing to do with policing. It’s actually how I do things to take care of myself, to pace myself to get through a day and what I do to prepare myself for the everyday policing world.
You know, to make sure I’m eating and drinking and taking the time to manage my own stress every single day but also what I do on my days off, what things are important to me, how I treat and how I talk to my family. You know, when they see me, if I make a phone call or if I talk to you guys you know, if I have a break to just say hi. It’s everything that I do. I’m not a model but everything that somebody new sees is what they can absorb as well.
So for me, I would certainly probably demonstrate and get them to have an awareness to what they’re doing for their physical selves to take care of them you know, from the point that they’re new because those things are going to the habits that they build as a new officer or a new person, a 911 responder is going to pave the way or last them for their career.
Somebody who’s a seasoned officer or seasoned responder. I would say it’s never really too late to start. To do the same things is to build and develop the habits that can take care of your physical self and your stress system. Because the people who are in that 15, 20, 25, 30 year service time level, a lot of them are basically just counting down to the number of years that they’ve got left.
And what would be the point of doing the countdown if you’re not taking care of your physical self that when you get to your goal of retirement, that you don’t have any energy or motivation to live that kind of second life, so to speak after you retire.
Kevin: So it’s so important to at every stage to do something better than you did before to take care of yourself physically because nobody’s going to do for you. It is a work in progress and it always will be but it is to be, do a little bit more better than you were before. And certainly, whether you’re new or whether you are a seasoned veteran is to do something that takes care of yourself and your physical self. Because you don’t want to be just at that point where you all you’re doing is just counting down to retirement to a point where once you get there, you don’t have much to give yourself.
Andi: So when you’re saying physical, what do you mean?
Kevin: Is to make sure that you get your proper rest. Sleep, hydration or know your physical signs of stress. Recognize them to know when to be able to push yourself and when not to do.
Andi: Yeah. Which kind of segues into and I’m not. I didn’t even think I would do this in this episode but that segues into that free training I created.
Cause that free training I created actually teaches you how to really know where your stress levels are at, where your sleep is at, where all of your numbers are at. And then you can start figuring it in that training too. With your shifts, you don’t know what’s going to happen on shift.
So you don’t know if you’re going to tax yourself tons or it’s going to be a slower day. You never know. So it teaches you how to know what your body needs each and every day, so you’re that there’s a fine line between overtraining but you need to also make sure that your body is strong.
So that training that I did create which I’m going to plug it right now is you go to the 911ShiftReady.com website. You will find it. It is the coach yourself to stay strong, to stay 911 shift strong something like that’s health trackers, coach yourself to stay 911 shift strong. That will be on our 911 Shift Ready website that is there.
And then September 11th when this is going out, we are likely just selling or just finishing up either just about to sell or we’re only opening up for a couple of days where we’re only going to be offering 10 spots into our beta testing.
I’ve had this program running since 2018. The one that you went through was the older edition. I am upgrading it a lot that’s happened with COVID. So I’m upgrading it with a lot of new research has been coming out on burnout on stress systems. I’ve incorporating that. I’ve incorporated a lot of things. We’ve had new tools we’ve had to pull in with COVID with a lot of the stressors that have happened in the last three years for all of you.
So we have updated, upgraded the program and I’m working really hard on getting all of these lessons recorded and getting them into a membership site for you. So when this is going live, we probably be around where we’re going to actually only sell 10 seats. Very discounted rate for 10 seats to the beta.
The beta will be 10 people coming in to make sure that cause it’s all videos and everything. Everybody needs to go through it from the outside and make sure that everything’s running smoothly. It’s not our first rodeo, but just to make sure all the tech is working. And to see how the lessons are working out for you guys. And we’re going to sell it for a very discounted price, just to 10 people to help us test this version out. And that should be going live around when this goes live. So check that out as well.
You can find that out if you go to our 911 Shift Ready website, there should be a work with us page and information will be on there. We’ll either have a wait list for getting into the program if we haven’t opened it up yet or the information will be there if we are currently selling it. So go and check and see that 911ShiftReady.com and check our work with us page for that. All right.
Any closing? Anything on closing that you would like to say to anybody, anyone in here, anything for first responders?
Kevin: No. I mean, other than, you know, thank you guys for doing what you guys do. Other than that nothing. This has been fun.
Andi: Yeah. You were nervous. You’re usually, not usually the one in front of like the camera doing all this stuff, so it’s cool. So thank you very, very much for helping everybody see a little bit into our life so you guys can get to know us. All right. That is it. For this episode. I hope that you enjoyed it. Definitely give us a like, subscribe to us so that this podcast can go out to more people.
Kevin: Awesome. Be safe everyone.