The Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act recognizes that law enforcement officers and their supporting agencies NEED and DESERVE assistance with their well-being. Just as regular everyday people seek help with their emotional health, so do police officers.

When officers don’t manage stress well, it spreads to other people in the community. It spreads in the form of acting out physically or verbally when making arrests. It spreads to how officers respond to their own co-workers. It spreads to the way officers respond to their friends and families. And it’s simply not healthy for anyone, particularly the officers themselves.

Here are 8 tips that officers can use to help manage stress:

1. Have a support system!
Emotional support is critical when it comes to dealing with obstacles in life.

2. Exercise
Pump up the endorphins in your brain by doing something physical. Walk, run, bike, hike, play pickle ball, anything. Physical exercise has been proven to improve moods.

3. Prioritize Sleep
Sleep is powerful in reducing stress! It helps us concentrate and sharpens decision making.

4. Don’t just be your job. Diversity your narrative.
Surround yourself with people and activities outside of work that make you – YOU. If your job is all you are, it will be all you focus on. Think outside the box and start a hobby or spend quality time with your family and friends.

5. Get out of your own head!
Don’t be too arrogant. Confidence is key, but there is no need to think you are better than anyone else. Treat others the way you would like to be treated.

6. Talk to a professional. 
It’s okay to seek psychological help! Who cares what other people think. Put yourself first.

7. Make healthy eating choices!
We all know the saying … “you are what you eat.” Think healthy and focus on veggies, fruits, whole grains, and lean meats. When you are in a hurry and on the go, grab a smoothie. A mixture of nuts is a great snack on the go and so is a small deli sandwich.

8. Communicate with your boss.
Level up and be honest about your needs. A force is more valuable to you than without you, so they will be more likely to get you the help and support you need than risk losing you.

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