While a certain level of stress will always play a role within the working environment of public safety personnel, the holiday season, with it’s demands and constraints can add to the level of stress you feel.
It’s important to recognize that you can stay above the fray, and when stress levels do begin to creep up, you can deal with them effectively and get back to a state of healthy operations.
Here are some tips for managing your stress levels during the holiday season:
For more ideas, type “stress relief tips” into Google and you’ll find helpful advice just about everywhere – from Men’s Health to WebMd to…well…just about anywhere.
Disconnect for a little while
Phones, television and computers can add to stress levels by making you think you need to be ‘checking something’ or answering a call or email. Turn off and tune out for a little while. Take a walk or take a nap. Enjoy some tech-free moments. Obviously, this is a tip you’ll use when you’re not at work but are at home.
That being said, for some people, turning on the TV or reading about your favorite sports team online can be relaxing and help to ease stress. Tuning in or tuning out is dependent on what helps ease tension.
Experts say that any repetitive action can be a source of meditation including walking, swimming, painting, yardwork — any activity that helps keep your attention calmly in the present moment. You don’t have to be an expert at meditation though to enjoy its benefits. Just take a few minutes to focus on you and what you enjoy. This can be done at home or while taking a break in your work vehicle.
Self-Massage & Stretching
Stress can often lead to tense muscles – or – an aching body can add to levels of frustration. One easy step is to incorporate self-massage or stretching into your daily routine. Rub your wrists and hands. Massage your lower back. Your body will react well to this, releasing endorphins to make you feel better and happier.
Picture Yourself Relaxed
Yes, this can actually work! Positive thoughts do lead to positive outcomes. If it’s cold and snowy outside, picture yourself on the beach. If your daily patrol work is tedious, imagine positive scenarios where you’re actively helping citizens and making a difference. Stressed? Picture yourself in a relaxing setting or situation.
Consistent exercise has been proven to reduce stress. Finding some time everyday, even if for only a short period of time, can make a big difference. Do what you enjoy. Walk, jog, lift weights or even doing house and yard work or throw the ball around with your son or daughter.
Take a Deep Breath
Need a quick fix. How about breathing deeply or counting to 10? These quick tips can get you turned around in a matter of moments. They seem simple, but simple can work and is easy to do.
Want more tips?
- Change the music in your patrol vehicle
- Go to a park and walk around
- Call your spouse, friends or parent
- Make a simple list if you have a lot to do – focus on just three things until the task is complete.