More tips for "keeping it together" after a bad call
Earlier this month, we shared a few "emotional first aid" tips that can help you and your family regain and maintain emotional stability after a particularly bad call. Today, we offer a few more.
Work it out...literally
“If you can push through that and force yourself to do something physical — biking, running, walking, punching a heavy bag, whatever — you’ll not only regain a sense of self-control but you’ll also reap the many benefits of tiring yourself out.”
Lewinski points out that when it comes to exercise, it’s also important to remember that you don’t need to — and really shouldn’t — push yourself into over-achieving. “In an effort to deal with some of the negative emotions they’re experiencing, some officers may decide that one way to make themselves feel better is to set a new personal record or push themselves to go farther physically than they’ve ever gone before. This isn’t advisable. The key is to work out enough to burn off some of the negative, stress-induced body chemistry, on to push yourself to exhaustion or injury. A ‘maintenance workout’ will do the trick.”
Get professional help if you (or your spouse or a close friend) think you need it
“Not every officer absolutely needs professional psychological intervention after having dealt with a particularly bad call,” he says, “but in many instances, seeking that help is the only way some of the painful — and sometimes harmful — emotions are going to be effectively dealt with. The best rule of thumb is to seek help, even if it’s just one visit with a trained counselor, if you have the slightest inkling that you might need it.”
Allow yourself to “get over it”
One of the most important steps you can take in a situation like this is to share your feelings with someone you trust...a spouse, a counselor, a fellow officer. “Your support people can provide you with a much-needed reality check.”
Let it out
Feel like crying? Cry...
Feel like punching something? Find a heavy bag and go to town.
“Denying how you feel is a futile and counter-productive attempt to avoid feeling out of control and uncomfortable. How you feel is how you feel. Admit it, deal with it and release it. It will do you a world of good.”
Help other officers...you’ll ultimately help yourself
Have more ideas for coping after a really bad call? E-mail us us your experiences and we may share them with other officers.
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