The holiday season from November to January poses its own set of challenges to the heartiest of of emotionally healthy people. It can be particularly hard on public safety officers and their families. In addition to the crunch of time, finances and emotional survival, everyone else deals with this time of year, officers must also face the stressors
that the rest of the community feels, deal with the increase stress of additional family violence calls, unfair victimization of innocent folks and watch as everyone goes on their merry way as they drag their collective backsides back to the office and go home to a house full of their own issues.
Simply stated...the emotional cup is easily drained and is slow to replenish.
Some tried and true methods to minimize your stress during this time of year can go a long way to help you keep perspective and enjoy the holiday season.
1. Give yourself more quiet time: it might be a walk, a trip to a park or something you enjoy. Take the time to find gifts for friends and family in a non-stressful environment and enjoy the time.
2. Don't let the Grinch get you down: don't let those determined to be miserable to drag you down. Ignore them, dismiss them or avoid them when possible. If you have to deal with them, maintain perspective and find something positive to do or talk about immediately after your encounter with them.
3. Tragedy strikes: don't let the sadness of others' situation drag you down. If you have the resources, volunteer to ring bells for the Salvation Army; serve food in a holiday mission, provide food for those less fortunate; provide a gift to a child who otherwise would not get one. Give a bit more to your church, or other charity.
4. If the holidays usually bring you down, talk to someone: depression is a common occurrence
and impacts us all in different ways. Find a competent person to talk things over with if you find yourself in this position
. Don't try to tough it out.
5. Remember the reason for the season.
6. Don't try to rush holiday events: if you are working shift work, do things early or after you work. Don't try to stay up 24 or 48 hours without sleep. If you have a house full of people and your sleep patterns are disturbed, rent a room or go nap at the home of a friend
for a few hours to stay fresh and alert. Don't let fatigue put you at risk on the job.
7. Take time to look around. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the holiday.
8. If you have recently lost a family member or close friend, talk to people about the positive memories and don't be alone.
9. Don't put yourself in financial disaster trying to over gift
. The thought of the gift counts. Thoughtful gifts mean more. Discuss with kids the boundaries of giving and receiving. Do this well in advance of gift giving day.
10. Avoid over-indulging in food and beverages. Stay physically active. Don't drink and drive. Don't embarrass
or do something you will regret at social functions later.
The bottom line: think things through and try to avoid putting yourself in stressful situations that you have control over. Talk things through and keep perspective. If you do, things should go well and you can have an enjoyable holiday season.