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As a public safety professional, you are already accustomed to stress. While every call or emergency response may not noticeably affect you, daily stress can accumulate, along with the trauma of working in disturbing and often unsafe situations. It can be easy to ignore what may seem like a minor, or an occasional impact — until you realize that the impact is no longer minor.
Resiliency reduces the harmful effects of stress and trauma, acting as a buffer to help you maintain your well-being. Strengthening and adding protective factors, like social support, access to resources and caring for your physical health all serve to help you effectively counteract cumulative stress.
Public safety professionals already know and understand the importance of physical health, but it can be easy to forget the basics when managing a hectic schedule or shiftwork. Mental and physical health are intricately linked, so every step you take for your physical health can also improve your mental health.
Whether you are building your resilience as a preventative measure, or seeking to add to your resiliency skills in new ways, there are many approaches. Before getting into specific strategies, start with these essential steps.
There are many ways to build resiliency and protect yourself from occupational stress and trauma. You may already have some tried and true strategies, but as you explore these tips and resources, consider how you might include them in your routine.
It’s always helpful to add tools to your toolbox, especially if they’re tools you actually use.
Keep track of the tips and resources that work for you, as well as a list of things you’re willing to try. Whether or not you find it easy to bounce back after a difficult experience, resiliency is a skill you can learn and enhance. Like any skillset, resiliency requires practice and reinforcement.