This is a sponsored post on behalf of Old Elk Distillery. All opinions are honest and my own.
It took me years to realize that when our officers “clock-off” shift physically, it does not mean they are clocked-off shift mentally. It can take HOURS for our spouses to come down off the job and it never feels like they are fully off duty. That is why it is so important to give them time to relax as an off duty police officer. Not only that, but encourage them to relax and stop thinking about the job. Dr. Gilmartin explains this further in his book Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement.
Sometimes when our officers are gone for what feels like forever, we so desperately want to run over and hug them, love on them, thennnnn quickly get to what feels like “normal” now that they are home. I get it. I used to be that wife that would hand my husband a crying baby as soon as he walked in the door. But to him, it felt as if he was drowning with a baby in his arms because he wasn’t fully off shift yet mentally.
It wasn’t until he told me that that I realized I had been doing this to him. So now, I try my absolute hardest to give him time not only when he comes home but encourage him to step away from the job as best as he can on his days off, too.
And I want to help you do the same.
Here are 6 easy ways to help your officer decompress when off shift:
1. Allow your officer ample time to relax when they walk in the door at home.
Like I said, don’t hand them a crying baby and a honey-do list as soon as those boots come off. Say hello, give a quick kiss and let them shower, eat or relax for 20-30 minutes. Some days they may need more time and some days less, but let them lead. They will appreciate this, I promise you. Most days, you can see a huge shift in their entire demeanor (for the better) just by giving them those 20-30 minutes.
2. When they have time off, spend quality time together as a family.
Don’t let their time off go to waste. Spend as much time together doing memorable things as you can.
I try to get as many errands done as I can when my officer is working, not all, but most. Yes, he still has jobs around the home, too, but we put family first, chores second.
3. Have down time with friends and family.
It can be really hard to find time for everyone’s schedules to align, but I encourage you to try. My husband and I love sitting in our back yard with family or friends. The guys love to sip on some Old Elk Bourbon while the wives drink Nooku Cream. It is a great way to relax, catch up with family or friends, and not spend a ton of money going out.
Old Elk bourbon whiskey is smooth with an aged, tasteful flavor. It is now my husband’s drink of choice since I brought it home from Fort Collins, Colorado about six months ago. He drinks it on the rocks.
Old Elk also makes a Nooku Bourbon Cream that is to die for! I am telling you what, this makes for the creamiest cocktail ever. But we prefer to drink it straight over ice because it is THAT good! We even plan on having some on Christmas morning with our homemade Cinnamon Rolls! Nooku uses Old Elk Bourbon and the possibilities with this bourbon cream are endless: baking, mixed drinks, you name it, it is good.
Want to see where you can buy it? I don’t blame you. Go here to see where you can find Old Elk and Nooku near you.
4. Encourage them to have a hobby like hunting, fishing, or something creative.
It is important for us all to have some form of self-care. I am a firm believer that if we build self-care routinely into our lives then we are healthier versions of ourselves.
So what does your officer like to do? My officer is an avid hunter. He loves being outdoors and it is the best place for him to relax and decompress. He also likes to brew his own beer.
Support your spouse with whatever hobby they prefer, even if it is video games. (Sorry to say, but as long as they don’t over indulge in their hobby, then it should be encouraged).
5. Exercise or play a sport together.
We all know how beneficial exercise is, right? But having our officers burn off steam after long, hard hours on duty can be a HUGE stress relief for them! Encourage them to work out at the gym, most departments have a gym in-house. Or suggest going for a run together or tossing a football out back. This is a WIN-WIN! You can have time together while being healthy!
6. Don’t talk about the job.
Another bit of information that took me a while to learn, don’t constantly ask them “how’s work” or “are you doing okay?”, especially on days off. Most of the time, if they want to talk to you, they will. Letting their job consume them, and you, is not healthy. Allow them to step away, as best as they can, and focus on home and family when off shift.
Obviously, if they come to you to talk, definitely do so, don’t brush them off. It is all about finding balance and being there for him/her as best as you can.
I now see how important it is for my husband to relax off duty. It is refreshing for his body and mind and gears him up for his days on-duty. Relaxation doesn’t have to happen every hour they are home, either. Finding a balance between decompressing, errands, family time, and work around the home are absolutely achievable.
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