One of the most stressful jobs can be working as a police officer. It is not only hard on the officer, but also on family and friends. If you are already working in law enforcement or considering this career path, you need to learn methods to handle work stress so that you can enjoy your time away from the job and avoid some common health concerns that police officers might face. 

Here are some ways you can handle work stress from police work. 

1. Yoga and Meditation

Stress has its physical side effects, including locked up muscles and stiff joints. Adrenaline and hyper-vigilance from police work can mean a great deal of stress on the mind and body. Many police suffer from pain because of the heavy equipment and long hours in the car. Practicing daily yoga can help you retain flexibility, and the deep breathing that comes from mediation can help you clear your mind and fully relax, giving your mind a break from the "always on" mode you experience as a cop. 

2. Relationships

Sometimes, relationships can be sidelined by the demands of a police schedule. Even if your schedule may be unconventional, plan time to nurture relationships with the people who mean the most to you. You might set aside time each day to reconnect with your spouse. If you have children, you might plan one on one time with them so that you don't become a stranger at home. It's common for police officers to feel like they are outside the life of the home. The more you integrate yourself, the more you'll build the relationships that provide balance to the chaos of the job. 

3. Exercise

Exercise is natural stress reducer. Police officers can sometimes lose physical fitness over time due to poor diet and inactivity. However, if you dedicate some time each week to a work out, you can vent excess anger or fear while also increasing your body's ability handle mental and physical stress through safe exercise. Even taking some time to run a mile or do a few pushups will have a good effect on your overall sense of peace. 

4. Meaningful Hobbies

Police officers often become their work. They identify as cops. In order to bring balance to that identity, they need to form strong identities outside the job. For example, if you enjoy fishing, you might dedicate yourself to fishing so you can also identify as a fisherman. You might also be a youth coach, a teacher, a religious leader, or a volunteer. 

For more information, contact a work stress therapist like those found at Darling Psychology.