Overcoming Stress, Country Style
By Annette Dashofy
I love it when I meet someone new and they ask me “what do you do for a living?”
My name is Zoe Chambers and I’m a paramedic for Monongahela County EMS in southwestern Pennsylvania. I’m also a deputy coroner. I try to save the lives of those I encounter on emergency calls, but if I can’t, I try to find why they died.
I also own a farm that needs a lot of work before I can live in the house. But thanks to my fiancé, Pete Adams, who also happens to be the local chief of police, my barn is in good repair and is home to my horse and four boarders.
Yeah. Life tends to be a little hectic.
Our work shifts at the ambulance are weird. Sixteen-hour days—actually nights, since I work from four o’clock in the afternoon until eight the next morning—plus one long weekend a month. Tack on the possibility of being called out at any time day or night as deputy coroner and you have a life some might call exciting. Others call it stressful.
In fact, a friend, who has a normal nine-to-five job, recently asked me how I handle the stress. My first reaction was “what stress?”
But then I realized, yes, I do indeed live a stressful life. Being awakened from a sound sleep to jump in an ambulance and roar down the road, lights flashing, sirens screaming, to an unknown incident does play havoc with one’s heartrate. Having drunks in car crashes take a swing at you for trying to help them (yes, it’s happened to me more than once), can raise one’s blood pressure.
I guess I do a good job of handling the stress though. For me, it’s easy. I just go out to the barn.
There’s something very relaxing about the sound of horses munching their feed in an otherwise quiet stable. I love the smell of grain and hay. And yes, I even love the smell of fresh manure and horse sweat. Only horse people “get” that. The same odor that make others wrinkle their noses is perfume to the horsey set.
Cleaning stalls, brushing the horses, filling water buckets…all of it has a calming effect on me. But the best form of de-stressing is going for a long ride in the woods. The motion of my horse’s stride beneath the saddle loosens my hips and spine as well as my mind. Loping across a wide-open field, letting my body relax into the movement, is better than any yoga or meditation class I’ve tried.
So, yes, I work two jobs—three, if you count running a small boarding facility—and, yes, my life is stressful. But when dealing with pain and suffering, when life and death becomes too overwhelming, all I have to do is pull on my Muck boots and barn coat and head out for some equine therapy.
Under the Radar (A Zoe Chambers Mystery) by Annette Dashofy
About Under the Radar
Cozy Mystery 9th in Series
Publisher: Henery Press (February 25, 2020)
Trade Paperback - 288 pages
Paramedic and deputy coroner Zoe Chambers responds to a shooting and discovers her longtime friend, Horace Pavelka, has gunned down a man who’d bullied him mercilessly for decades. Ruled self-defense, no charges are filed. When another of his tormentors turns up dead in Horace’s kitchen, Police Chief Pete Adams questions the man’s innocence in both cases…especially after Horace and his girlfriend go into hiding.
While fighting to clear her friend, Zoe is handed the opportunity to finally learn what really happened to her long-lost sibling. What starts out as a quick road trip on a quest for answers leads her to an unfamiliar city in the middle of a November blizzard, where she finds way more trouble than she bargained for.
Pete’s own search for his missing fiancée and a missing murderer ultimately traps him in a web of deception. Face-to-face with one of the most cunning and deadly killers of his law enforcement career, Pete realizes too late that this confrontation may well be his last.
About Annette Dashofy
Annette Dashofy is the USA Today best-selling author of the Zoe Chambers mystery series about a paramedic and deputy coroner in rural southwestern Pennsylvania. A former EMT and lifelong resident of the area about which she writes, Annette lives with her husband and one very spoiled cat on what was once her grandfather’s dairy farm. UNDER THE RADAR (February 2020) is the ninth in her series.
Purchase Links - Amazon - B&N - Kobo -
a Rafflecopter giveaway