Emergency services
September 12, 2016

Stress Management in the Line of Duty

Stress management is an important issue in the modern world, and some occupations are more acutely associated with stress than others. First responders like police officers and military personnel face high levels of stress on a routine basis. Without optimum stress management, these first responders are vulnerable to the effects of stress, which can be extremely damaging to their physical and mental health.

First Responders and Job Stress

Stress is a significant factor of adult life. Struggling with mortgage payments, coping with the illness or death of a family member, dealing with a divorce or raising a family are all common causes of stress. First responders deal with normal life stress on top of job stress. Working a double shift, dealing with the sudden loss of a colleague in the line of duty, struggling with workplace conflict, coming under fire or getting injured on the job are all stressful parts of the job.

The Effects of Stress

There’s no telling how one individual or another will specifically respond to chronic stress or a traumatic event. Some people will suffer from high blood pressure, develop an ulcer, develop to anxiety or depression, lose their hair or lose sleep.

Some people turn to unhealthy methods for alleviating their stress, such as drinking or using drugs. Mayo Clinic1 says some people under intense stress may begin to overeat or under eat, become irritable, anger easily, lose their ability to focus, feel fatigued, feel suicidal2, lose interest in sex or socializing or develop aches and pains. Not surprisingly, these issues can take a toll on the person’s life and also negatively affect their job performance.

Effective Stress Management

Mastering stress management is tough when chronic stress plays a predominant role in your day-to-day work, yet it can be accomplished. There are many different strategies for coping with all types of stress. Exercising regularly works well for some, while meditating is the key to stress management for others.

One of the first steps to managing one’s stress level is to recognize when stress is taking a toll on your life or leading you to make unhealthy choices such as drinking or using drugs. Stress is a major trigger for substance addiction so it’s important to stop turning to drugs or alcohol in order to feel better or alleviate stress. If you do find that stress is negatively impacting your life or work, it’s essential to try new ways to cope with its dark influence.

How to Manage Stress

If you are currently using drugs or alcohol to cope, you can turn to an addiction treatment center to assess the nature of your abuse problem. There, you’ll learn helpful strategies for coping with stress and for eliminating these substances from your life. You can also begin to manage stress more effectively by developing an exercise routine, speaking with a counselor or healthcare provider about your stress, practicing meditation, or turning to a new hobby.

In many cases, stress won’t go away by itself. You’ll have to tackle it head on. Once you do, you’ll begin to feel the relief that is essential to your life and profession.


References:

  1. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987
  2. http://www.policemag.com/channel/patrol/articles/2011/03/stress-management.aspx

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