Life of a Police Officer and First Responder with shift work, OT, court and other aspects of the job make it tough to commit to anything during your “time off”.
Between sleep and travel to and from work there is barely enough time to get yourself ready for your shift.
When I ask how much time each week you have with your family and spouse there seem to be only a few hours here and there.
Like passing ships in the night.
And those of you who do not have a spouse, it seems almost impossible with your schedule to meet anyone…
Do you often feel like you are missing out?
You love your job, but you wish that it did not have to mean a life of quick hi’s and bye’s. And the longer you go without being able to have that quality time with your family or time to find that someone special to share your life with, do you start to blame your job? Start to resent it a little bit for now allowing you to be with your family?
Do you feel like your job, as much as you love it, is taking more from you than you signed up for?
What if I was to tell you that there is a way to figure out how to have regular date nights and family time even with your crazy schedule?
It sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?
But it’s not! It’s absolutely possible.
We were thinking about it all wrong.
My husband and I didn’t have a date for almost 7 years until we figured out that we were thinking about it all wrong.
As with everything I teach in my Shift Work Cure program. Your life does not fit into a Monday to Friday 9-5 world. The more we try to fit what we are doing into that world, the harder and more frustrating everything becomes.
- Eating on a shift where you have no idea when you will be able to eat again or eating in the middle of the night.
- Shifts that often end in OT because you can’t leave when you are in the middle of a call
- Working out after a shift where you already did the equivalent of an endurance workout with your weighted vest on for 12 hours with a few wind sprints and HIIT circuits thrown in rushing to calls does not work for your body…
And the list goes on…
Your schedule isn’t like everyone else’s
Why would spending time with your family be any different? Just because most people live a Mon to Fri 9-5 schedule, does not mean you have to. You count just as much as they do. So we need to factor you into the equation as well.
Here is how to get more time with your family or to find someone to spend your life with.
- Schedule a time to sit down with your family or if you are working towards finding someone then sit with your calendar.
- Everyone is to bring their schedules/calendars
- Start with looking at your next block of days off
- What days/times do they have off during this time?
- Block off one for family time and another for a date. The date can be day or night. Don’t overthink it. Block off a time and you will find something to do then.
- Move to your next block of days off and do the same.
- Schedule out at least the next 3 months.
Now when you are asked to do something, or have things to do you know that this is a non negotiable. You will check your calendar before you say yes to anyone else so that you don’t overextend yourself.
Things will begin to shift
The amazing thing about this is how your mind will shift gears over time.
That feeling of not having time for anything or anyone on your days off will go away and be replaced with you getting excited near the end of a block of shifts.
Your kids and spouse will also change how they are thinking and feeling as they know that you have set aside time for them. They are important.
The resentment start to subside
You will start to resent your job less, because you have taken control of your schedule and make it yours. You are not letting your schedule rule you.
Now you may be saying… but there is so much that we need to get done and one excuse after another.
Yes, there will always be a to do list. To do lists are never ending. They will never go away.
What’s important to you?
What is more important. Yard work, tidying the house, fixing things, OR making memories with your loved ones?
We always make time for the things that are important to us.
If this is important to you, then you can and will make it happen.
The only thing that I truly will accept as a reason for not being able to make this happen YET is that you are burnt out and heading to a worse place. Your body is so exhausted and your fuse so short that spending time with your family and spouse right now may not help make the best of memories.
If this is you, then I get it. I’ve been in your shoes.
I remember those days
I remember those days where the exhaustion took over my life. The brain fog made simple conversations and 5 minute tasks took me hours because I struggled to focus. To do lists were always increasing. I felt overwhelmed, like I was spinning my wheels. My fuse was short with my kids and husband. I was frustrated, and angry and felt this was how I had to live.
Date nights and family time then were not a good idea then.
First I had to reverse my burnout.
The advice provided in this article is for informational purposes only. It is meant to augment and not replace consultation with a licensed health care provider. Consultation with a Naturopathic Doctor or other primary care provider is recommended for anyone suffering from a health problem.
Andi Clark is a mom, wife of a Police Officer and the founder of 911 Lifestyle. Also known as The Elite Trainer for Police and First Responders, Andi is an expert in peak performance and how stress physically affects your body.
The one that’s listed in the blog doc is:
Andi Clark is a mom, wife of a Police Officer and the founder of 911 Lifestyle.
Andi has a background in athletics including a 25+yr career as a personal trainer, nutrition and mindset coach to athletes and stressed out high end executives.
Being healthy and active was what she lived for. Until her body started waking absolutely exhausted, workouts become something to push through instead of enjoy. A short fuse crept in, motivation left and injuries seemed to be a part of life. All of this added up to the point that she had to stop all activity altogether.
Doctors, specialists and prescriptions were never able to fix the problem.
Once Andi realized she had a genetic stress condition that puts her body into an increased stress response state all the time (similar to what Police Officers and First Responders experience when they put on their uniform and have to mentally prepare for whatever may happen in their day) was she able to figure out what was happening and how to reverse it.
Through years of research and studying, Andi formulated a completely different way to thrive when your body is always functioning at higher than usual stress levels. One where it is possible to reverse and prevent an officer from getting to a point where they struggle to get through their days by taking a preventative approach instead of a reactive one. And one that reduces the negative effects of shift work on the body.
Through her husbands career as an officer her focus has been on preventing burnout, exhaustion and a tanked immune system that she knew can result from high levels of stress that are out of your control.
As she watched his co-workers struggle with everything from sleep, exhaustion and anger leading to divorce, PTSD and even suicide it became apparent how LIFE-SAVING the foundations she was laying down for her husband actually were, because not only was he tolerating the shiftwork lifestyle, he was thriving in it.
Andi created 911 Lifestyle once she realized the strategies her husband was using MUST become available to all Police Officers and First Responders so they can peak during crisis, recover quickly after, have energy left over for their families and become the Elite First Responders that they were born to be.