I bet you never thought there was a commonality to Policing and buying a car? Until now, that is…
One very interesting thing happens when you buy a car. And it also happens once you become a Police Officer.
Let’s start from the beginning.
Car shopping takes time to narrow down your options and make your choice.
One of the first things you do is start to notice all of the cars that are on the road. Every single time you go out, you take mental notes.
You start to see all of the different makes and models and look at them in a different way. You start asking yourself more and more questions.
Do you want a sedan, hatchback, SUV, truck or van?
Can this vehicle give me what I need from it?
And the list goes on…
Then, you go online and start reading reviews and begin test driving.
Through this process the most interesting thing happens.
The more that you narrow down your choices, the more of those cars you see on the road. You notice things about the interior you have never seen before. A certain colour you want seems to start appearing more.
I’ve given my head a shake before when this happened to me thinking, there is no way that more black Acura MDX appeared on the road. How did I not notice them before?
The same thing happens to Police and every other First Responder.
Before you became an Officer you didn’t notice all of the bad.
Before you became an Officer you didn’t notice all of the bad. You were oblivious to certain tendencies in people that now put you on high alert and thoughts that wouldn’t have occupied your mind, in the past, now appear.
A dinner out with your family has a much different feel than it used to. You notice every single person that comes in and out of the restaurant. You’ve taken note of every other family there and see them with a different lense than you used to.
Your social media feed has more and more Police related and tragic events than it used to, as it has caught on to what you and your friends’ interests are.
Once you become a Police Officer you don’t just clock out at the end of your shift. Things you see and experience do not automatically shut off.
How you deal with this on a day to day basis absolutely affects the amount of stress that is placed on your body.
Thankfully, there are ways to “turn down the volume” on your day to day stress.
Here are a few…
At the end of each shift write down 1 good thing that happened that day.
You can choose to write it in a notebook, an app on your phone (I like evernote) and in addition, if possible, it will be very effective to get a HUGE whiteboard in your parade room and have everyone write down one positive thing at the end of each shift.
If you think back to the car analogy. When you start thinking about one certain thing often, it starts to appear over and over again. If you start picking out the positive things of your shift, slowly over time your mind will start to look for the good things. And, when you are having one of those days where finding the good seems almost impossible, you can dig out your list or go to your parade room and look at all of the good that have happened and see that not everything is bad.
Imagine how many good things would be on your list if you wrote one down for every shift you have worked since the start of your career. The more you compile the more powerful the positive this list becomes and the more positive things you start to see outside of your list.
Select which social media and news comes into your feed
Facebook is amazing. The algorithms figure out what we are interested in based on our friends, pages and posts we like and things we search, off of facebook.
Paying your respects to the fallen and supporting your brothers and sisters is what you do. Please know that taking a break from it all every so often does not mean you are being disrespectful. You need to do this order to take care of yourself, so that you can continue to take care of others.
How to do it?
If you click on the top right hand corner of posts that come through your feed you are given options to pause those types of posts for 30 days or indefinitely. Start looking at more cars and sports events and puppies and kittens….and they will start to pop up in your feed more.
The more that you do on your end to decrease the stress you place on your body the less stress symptoms you will have:
Tired and wired or wake mid sleep
And the list goes on….
If you would like to get a kick start on ways to improve your sleep and prevent burnout download my FREE 5 Quick and Simple Tips That Stop Shiftwork Burnout NOW
PLEASE NOTE – My expertise is in burnout and the physical effects of stress placed on you by the day to day happenings of your job. This article is helpful for all of you, but for those of you who are struggling with a traumatic event and deeper emotional issues know that your needs are very important and should be addressed by a trained mental health therapist.