These times are uncertain, challenging, scary, upsetting, dangerous, chaotic, and more. As much as I want to tell you that I promise massive opportunities will arise from the struggles, I cannot. Whether you are staying in law enforcement or not, do not let your mental health decline.
What those four people did to George Floyd in Minneapolis was wrong. A man suffered and died at the hands of Police. Now the rest of us are paying the price.
But even during these times, having a healthy mind is essential for your survival. It can help you be that officer you want to be, and are expected to be. Or, you could slip into a bad mental state and kneel on a guy’s neck for several minutes.
So I am here to offer you encouragement and strategies that can help you stay fit mentally. Because let us not forget that officer suicides are still a risk. Of all things, please understand your life is valuable!
So let us dive into solutions for a healthy mind…
Whatever time you set your alarm for, set it a bit earlier. Thirty minutes, sixty minutes, ninety-minutes earlier. Whatever you think is best, to give yourself mental prep time.
If you wake up and roll right into that uniform and say to yourself, “Same crap different day, this sucks. The next ten years cannot go by quick enough until retirement.” You’re in the wrong state of mind.
Now believe me, I know that times are challenging. But no matter what is going on in your life, having that kind of inner dialogue is detrimental to you.
Wake up earlier and take some deep breaths (four seconds in, four seconds out), pray, write down things you are grateful for, listen to music that is easy on the brain, and/or listen to motivational speakers.
Help your mind, and then your mind can help you!
After your mental exercises, physically exercise! Your body releases endorphins when you exercise. Endorphins are “nature’s feel good drug.” You do not have to go to the gym for 90 minutes. Twenty minutes of raising your heart rate is a good amount of exercise. So do not say, “I do not have time.” Create the time!
So those are some things to do. Next is what you should not do:
- Watch the news first thing
- Check your phone first thing
- Complain first thing
The steps are simple, but crucial for you. Make these strategies a habit.
Do NOT let your mental health suffer during these times. You owe it to yourself and to the ones you love. You cannot afford to be a negative statistic that has people wondering whether or not it is good for the Police to arrive.
I wrote a lot about strategies, techniques, and treatments in my book, Mental Health Fight Of The Heroes in Blue. Yes, I state heroes, because out of the millions of encounters law enforcement has with the public, so many are compassionate, courageous, kind, service-driven, and the list goes on!
The job is what you do, but who you are is what counts! Stay strong, be safe, live healthy, and God’s speed!
– Scott Medlin