As a Police Officer, helping others is what you do.
I doubt I am speaking only for myself when I say that I believe I was put on this earth to help others.
We are often the first to step in and lend a hand. It’s common for us to offer before we are even asked.
Then why is it so hard for us to help ourselves?
Why do we put ourselves at the bottom of the list of importance?
I’ve struggled with this most of my life until recently.
I would feel guilty saying, “No, I am sorry, but I can’t.” And then after saying no I would replay it in my head how the person must be upset with me and how I failed them.
It was only after I was diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue. (A stress related condition) that I realized I needed to put on my oxygen mask first.
When we fly we are told that no matter what, even if travelling with young children, when the oxygen masks drop from the ceiling put yours on first. If you don’t, you may pass out and then you become a liability. The situation snowballs from bad to worse.
If I don’t take care of myself I am not going to be able to help others to the best of my abilities.
When my bucket is empty and I don’t have anything left to give it costs me my health. Which in turn affects my whole family.
But how do you change a lifetime of putting others first?
For me, it started with rephrasing my answer.
When someone asks me to help them I have changed from instantly saying yes to oh I have to check my calendar. This gives me a moment to think.
And then I ask myself…. If I say no, what am I saying yes to?
For example – My friend asked me to help them move. Instantly I want to help. I’m strong and able and it’s often hard to find people to help. So why not?
But I sit back and think about it…
IF I say no, I am saying yes to
- Time with my kids of which I have not had a lot of lately with my schedule.
- Time with my husband who is off and is exhausted from his block of shifts and needs some recovery time of which can no happen if I am not there to help with the kids.
- My health- I’m healing from adrenal fatigue and even though I am strong enough I know the physical exertion will give me brain fog for 2-3 days after and I will not be able to enjoy time with my family and it will set me behind in the office.
Here is another example.
My husband was asked to do a paid duty on his day off.
If he says No, He is saying yes to
- Recovering on his days off
- Spending time with the boys if they are not in school which gives me day time in the office, so I do not have to work once they are in bed as I work around his schedule.
- Helping around the house so that on the weekend we can all spend time together instead of having to do errands and domestic duties
There are other times where he has recovered and feels good, we aren’t behind in the house, the boys are in school so I work in the day and it makes sense for him to say yes.
When you stop to think about the positive things that will come out of saying no, it’s easier to say it.
You may think about it and saying yes may be the right answer. The answer won’t be no every time. But thinking this way helps you weed out when to really say yes, and when it’s best to say no without guilt.
I’m curious to know what you think of this? It’s not easy to change your way of thinking, but changing this has made a huge difference on how I spend my time. I have more energy and brain power to tackle the Yes’!
If this resonates with you, you will love my newsletter where you will receive weekly blogs like this one and tips and tricks to help you reverse the side effects of shift work, increase your energy and prevent burnout. Delivered straight to your inbox.
The advice provided in this article is for informational purposes only. It is meant to augment and not replace consultation with a licensed health care provider. Consultation with a Naturopathic Doctor or other primary care provider is recommended for anyone suffering from a health problem.
About the Author
Andi Clark is a mom, wife of a Police Officer and the founder of 911 Lifestyle.
Andi suffers from a genetic stress condition that puts her body in an increased stress response state all the time, similar to what Police Officers and First Responders experience when they put on their uniform and have to mentally prepare for whatever may happen in their day.
Through years of research and studying, Andi formulated a completely different way to look at and handle burnout. One where it is possible to reverse and prevent an officer from getting to a point where they struggle to get through their days by taking a preventative approach instead of a reactive one. And one that reduces the negative effects of shift work on the body.
Through her husbands career as an officer her focus has been on preventing burnout, exhaustion and tanked immune system that she knew can result from poorly managed stress, not to mention the toll things take on family life.
As she watched his co-workers struggle with everything from sleep, exhaustion and anger leading to divorce, PTSD and even suicide it became apparent how LIFE-SAVING the foundations she was laying down for her husband actually were, because not only was he tolerating the shiftwork lifestyle, he was thriving in it.
Andi knew that the strategies her husband was using MUST become available to all Police Officers and other First Responders. She couldn’t watch others suffering when she knew there was a solution. And 911 Lifestyle was born.