Our health and wellness recommendations:
- Make every possible effort to remain virus-free:
- Practice social distancing when possible. Being active police officers, this is virtually impossible much of the time. However, we should vigilantly and deliberately use protective gear and practice regular hand-washing and sanitation of our equipment while on duty. Uniforms should be cleaned daily.
- Be sure to remain connected with family:
- As first responders, many of us are putting in extra hours and working longer shifts. By the nature of our work and concerns about risk to our families when we return home, some may be experiencing disconnection with family members, who are usually the most important people in our lives. Make a plan for purposeful, regular time with loved ones to diminish any sense of isolation and to rejuvenate positive emotions.
- Pay attention to eating habits:
- As we support those businesses around us through dining purchases, remember to be mindful of food intake. This also applies to those “munchies” that prey on those working from home! Planning makes for success, and creating an advance plan of eating will slow any strays to foods which may not be good for us. Good nutrition fuels our immune systems and power centers, and we need to make sure we are feeding them properly!
- Get regular exercise for both mind and body:
- During these times of social distancing, law enforcement is being called on to decrease proactive field work. This likely leads to less body movement and physical activity at work. Workout schedules may be thrown off by closed gyms and extra shifts. Make a determined effort to get daily exercise for your body. There are a number of virtual races online, where runners can sign up and run on their own, but be part of a group race with others. Remember, planning makes for success! Set aside a time each day to make fitness a priority. While you’re at it, work your brain! Downtime may mean finally getting to that book you are interested in, or trying out a new game online.
- Maintain a positive mindset:
- This may be the most challenging thing to do right now, but it is critical! Research shows that a positive mindset and optimism are closely tied to longevity, so doing everything we can to nurture these is essential. As first responders, we are often obsessed with being aware, but being glued to the news at this time may bring down our mood, and have the opposite effect of giving us tunnel vision. Watch enough to be informed, and then move on to a positive practice. Video call a friend you have been missing or have some laughs at a good comedy television show! Find a regular meditation or mindfulness program, and work on your resilience skills.
Additional wellness information:
- warrior21 – A 21-Day Practice for Resilience and Mental Health
- Officer Survival in a Pandemic World – Captain Brian Nanavaty (Ret.) provides information for police and law enforcement officers to help safeguard their physical and mental health during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
- COVID-19: Exercise May Protect Against Deadly Complication
- 60 Minutes – Mental Health Challenges During the Coronavirus Pandemic