by: Randolph Morton
What is stress?
Stress is a normal part of life for everyone and it happens on a continuum. Some stress can be good and push us to do things we need to. Stress will fluctuate and at times be more intense than others. Our stress levels are impacted by various influences and experiences. “The very nature of the law enforcement profession, along with the accompanying rigors and demands placed on its officers, routinely invites stress into the lives of those who serve.” (VALOR) Stress is best described as physical or emotional tension as a result of thoughts or experiences. While stress is felt by everyone, there are certain forms of stress that specifically affect first responders.
Signs of Stress
- Lack of energy
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of appetite
- Digestive trouble such as stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation or nausea
- Lack of desire to engage in social activity
- Aches or pains
- Loss of sexual desire
- Illnesses such as colds or infections
What is Stress Management?
Managing your stress is an important factor in your overall health and wellness. Too much stress can negatively impact your work, home, school or social life. For this reason, we all need to be diligent with stress management to reduce the effects of stress. There are a lot of things we can do to successfully manage stress.
Tips for Effective Stress Management
- Familiarize yourself with signs of stress.
- Get enough rest, exercise regularly, and maintain a healthy diet.
- Have a support system & draw strength from faith, friends, and family.
- Spend more time doing the activities you love.
- Avoid tobacco, alcohol, drugs, and excessive caffeine.
- Maintain your sense of humor.
- Have a personal preparedness plan.
- Participate in training offered at your workplace.
- Get a regular physical checkup.
- Ask for help when you need it.