Police work is one of the most stressful jobs out there, so our do you cope with your police work? If you have ever worked, you have most likely dealt with work-related stress. Any job can bring on stress even if you love what you do. You work long hours, go through training, and take a vow. You know it isn’t like people see on TV, it’s public service. Being a police officer involves so much more. Patrol Officer is repeatedly ranked as one of the most stressful jobs in the U.S. Police officers even have high amounts of on-the-job injuries. When you’re not toiling away with paperwork, meticulously logging reports, and updating records, you are on patrol in the streets. It’s enough to stress anyone out. So how do you deal with coping with a stressful job such as police work?
Long-term stress can lead to chronic health issues. It’s vital to cope with your job-related stress before it breaks you down. You can’t always avoid job-related stress, so you need to find better ways of coping with a stressful job so you can live a healthy life.
Learn to relax
We know the stress of being a police officer or other public servants doesn’t just melt away when you clock out. But to avoid negative health impacts caused by a stressful job, you need to return yourself to an unstressed state. Everyone will have a different way of doing things that work for them. For you it could be going for a run, taking a hot shower, or spending time with your family. In the beginning, you will have to learn what works for you. Take a couple of weeks to pay attention to how your mind and body respond to these acts. Clock your stress throughout the day by checking in with yourself. It could even be helpful to take notes on your phone throughout the day to track your high and low-stress moments. Taking notes can help you track your stressors and how you respond to them. The first step in coping with a stressful job such as police work is understanding your reactions and get a better insight into how you are subconsciously processing these things so you can break the cycle of stress.
Setting work boundaries can be especially hard for police officers because there are times when you will have to be on-call. It’s hard to relax when you have to be constantly checking your phone and waiting for an emergency. You are in a state of 24/7 pressure this way. This is why it’s even more important to make the most of your time off. Take advantage of your vacation days and days when you are not on-call. It’s critical to “log-off” on the days you can. The more you can compartmentalize your stress of police work, the better.
Form Healthy Habits
You hear this all the time, “you just need to change your habits”. It’s easy to say but hard to put into action. It may seem cliche now, but it is truly an important thing you can do for your health. If you have gone through the practice of tracking your responses to stress on the job then it is easier to identify your habits so you can change them. If you are paying attention, you may realize that every time you experience exaggerated stress on the job you reach for a candy bar, a drink, or a cigarette. A great first step is trading one of these habits for something healthier. Maybe instead of reaching for comfort food, you take a walk around the block, something that will actually help lower your stress levels. Perhaps try stepping outside without the cigarette and taking some deep calming breaths or calling a loved one. These small changes can have a great impact on your overall health, and you may realize they are more effective for long-term management of stress.
Wrongful Stressors On The Job
There are some things that could happen on the job that stresses you out and are completely wrong. It’s important to keep an eye out and determine between regular stresses and stresses that no one should have to go through. If you have experienced stress because you are discriminated against on the job, this is wrong and no amount of deep breaths will make it right. If you are dealing with something like this in your workplace remember that it is illegal because no one should have to put up with discrimination at work.
Don’t make the mistake of confusing hard work with overworking. No one’s job should have them in a constant state of stress. The more you learn to cope with your stress, the better your performance on the job will be and everyone wins.