This post is going to be super real and raw for me. As a police wife of 13 years, I know the mental trampoline our minds go through because of this lifestyle. Because of our spouse’s jobs we often have a mix of emotions: happy, sad, proud, worried, fearful, stressed, tired, overwhelmed; maybe even all at once- sound familiar? You may not experience these emotions all the time, but you may feel mentally spread thin because your emotions change constantly.
We often put the weight of what our officer’s go through on our shoulders. We also carry the weight of stress associated with this job.
Maybe you are putting others before yourself all.the.time (that’s totally me!). Or playing roles of both mom and dad many days/nights of the week. Or you live with some fear or loneliness while your officer is on duty.
Whatever the case may be, it is important to remember that you walk along side of your spouse. While he/she is on duty MANY hours of the week in your community, YOU are on duty MANY hours of the week on the home front.
Just as we support or encourage our spouse to get away from the job, it’s important that we do the same, in a sense.
Bottom line is, you have to practice self-care! You have to give back to yourself and make sure your mental fitness is also of the utmost importance.
How to make your mental health a priority:
Commit to putting yourself first. If you don’t, who will?
Of course kids are also at the top of your priority list, as they should be. But it’s also important to try and find a balance with putting yourself first, too. How can you be present and give your best self to your kids, marriage, job, etc if you aren’t in the best frame of mind?
Girl, I KNOW it is hard to find time to do this. And I went many years without putting myself first and honestly thinking, if everyone and everything else was taken care of, that I would be fine. I was WRONG. I was tired, mentally exhausted and was desperately seeking self-care but had no idea how to build it into my life because I went so long without it.
Schedule time for yourself. Be intentional. This just means looking at your schedule and seeing where you can make time for yourself. Write it down- in INK (which means don’t erase it or schedule things in its place).
You may need a five minute break every day. As a mom sometimes we just need a quiet shower or to drink hot coffee before the kids wake up. But you may also need weekly doses of self-care. Lunch with a girlfriend, a run or exercise a few times a week.
I even do a girls weekend one or two times a year with my wonderful sisters I met through The Chris Kyle Frog Foundation.
Whatever self-care looks like for YOU, make it happen. Don’t let excuses get in your way. Even let your spouse know how important this is to you and FOR you, so he/she can be on the same page with you.
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Some of us have the type of personality where we want to constantly give and help others. These are amazingly, wonderful qualities to possess but it is also important to know when you just can’t give anymore. With everything in life, you have to set boundaries. Only give and help others based on what you feel you can comfortably give without it impacting your life negatively. If you are left tired, broke, spread too thin, etc. then its important to realize you are maybe doing too much.
Be okay with saying NO.
This relates to setting boundaries a lot. If people are asking a lot of you or you are invited to events without your spouse, etc. it is okay to say no. This is not a sign of weakness. It is healthy to say no and again, place boundaries in place based on how full your plate currently is.
Even though I don’t want to at times, I have to say no to extra events, especially when my husband is working, because it would impact myself and the kids routine too greatly. Some weeks I am too tired to do extra, some weeks not.
It is okay to gauge how you feel each day, each week, each month. This will always change with the flow of life. Bottom line: start putting “NO” into your vocabulary.
Counseling or therapy
Many of us need counseling or therapy to keep our mental fitness in check. This is NOT a bad thing!! You are not a failure or weak if you talk to a counselor. And, you don’t always have to be struggling in a sense to seek counseling. I have grown so much as a person, wife & mom because of counseling and was provided with “tools” to keep in my mind for when/if I need them.
You give your physical self vitamins or exercise to keep your physical self in shape. Counseling is the same for your mental self.
Realize you are WORTH it!
If you only take away one thing from this entire post, this is it. YOU ARE WORTH IT. You deserve to put your mental fitness at the highest of your list each and every day. Everyone who loves you, knows how amazing you are, now it’s time that YOU see it!
If you need continued support for self-care as a police wife, be sure to check out my new journal on Amazon. The Peacemaker’s Wife will equip you with support, inspiration and guidance with writing prompts (and plenty of writing space) as you navigate police wife life.
Girl, don’t put yourself last anymore. You CAN NOT pour from an empty cup; we’ve all heard that one, right? If you want to give your best to others then you have to give to yourself first and foremost. And good mental health will benefit your physical health, as well.
FREE Police Wife Guide- Top 10 Ways to Rock Police Wife Life
Learn to rock police wife life with these 10 easy tips! Join over 20,000 fellow police wives who are learning to rock it and feel supported with our help each week! Once a week I will provide you with even more ways to feel encouraged and supported for your law enforcement wife journey with my newsletter.