A successor to “Mental Health Fight of the Heroes in Blue,” this guide — “101 Health Tips For Police Officers” — provides law enforcement officers across the spectrum with a guide to combating the stressors inevitably tied to this career. Your mental, physical, spiritual, and social well-being all work together to create all-around wellness. When one of these elements is suffering because of stress or negative influences, then your health, your outlook on life, and your ability to serve are all impaired.
As law enforcement officers, we spend far more time than we should in the “fight or flight” state, and even though this is central to the experience, you can still prepare for and/or alleviate the effects of this prolonged alertness with the right strategies.
Physical health is not as nuanced or poorly understood as mental and spiritual health – the issue here is discipline and consistency. You don’t need to buy some gimmicky ab belt from a 2 AM infomercial; the “old stuff” still works. Stretching, lifting, yoga, meditation, a healthy diet, and other life-affirming practices will help you to stay energized and prepared for the rigors of the job. The better you feel physically, the more equipped you are to make the right decisions and keep the upper hand in physical encounters.
It’s no coincidence that the most widely ignored aspect of holistic health is also what police officers need to work on the most: mental health. You’re constantly exposed to the troubled minority of the population. You will inevitably encounter negative colleagues and supervisors. You’re under much, much tougher scrutiny by the public than ever before. Pile all of these on top of the general mental health stressors of the job, i.e., arriving to traumatic scenes, discharging your weapon, and so on, and you have a recipe for anxiety, depression, and a host of other mental health issues. It’s time we started fighting back on this front – this book will show you how.
Some people choose not to align themselves with the Christian belief system, or with any at all, but for those who do, think of this section of the book as a hand-curated selection of Biblical wisdom just for you. We are the peacekeepers, and we have a special place in God’s heart – and in his kingdom. Even when you feel completely alone in this largely thankless profession, God knows how much of yourself you have given to protecting others. By reminding yourself of not only His love for you, but His pledge to protect you from harm, you can greatly improve your feelings of stress, fear, and anxiety.
It’s easy to write off social well-being, especially for those busy officers with families, but feeling connected to society is very, very important for your outlook. If you only hang out with other officers and criminals on the street, your worldview is likely to be skewed negatively. It’s great to have someone to relate to, but it’s extremely important that you find people outside of your profession who can remind you that the vast majority of people in general are peaceful, kind, funny, and a joy to be around.
The point is not to stress about executing all 101 points in this book perfectly every day. Adopt as many as you can, work them into your routine until they become automatic, and don’t forget to be present-minded in all endeavors. Be grateful for who and what you have, and know that you’re not in this by yourself.
You can purchase a copy of “101 Health Tips For Police Officers” here.