Are you fit for duty?

While the term "Fit for Duty" typically brings to mind being physically fit for service such as military, law enforcement, or other first responder, I believe that we all have a duty to be fit for whatever our purpose in life is. Being "fit for duty" to me is not only important in my job as a law enforcement officer, but even more so to be fit for duty as a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, coach, and all the other roles I currently hold or desire to hold in the future.

Fit for Duty, from my perspective, includes being physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally fit. Being balanced. Confident in both mind and body. This requires deep understanding and awareness of your unique and dynamic personal needs. 

As law enforcement officers, we are expected to be fit for duty, without question. Meaning to be prepared and ready for whatever may be thrown at us. Some days that looks like a day full of report-writing, other days its responding to high-stress, critical incidents, managing disaster, and bringing homeostasis to chaos. Due to the variability and dynamic nature of the job, we are trained to live in a constant state of alertness, always on guard, prepared both mentally and physically for whatever may come. 

I learned quickly the effects on my mental state and physical body from working in a state of heightened stress 100% of the time. In the life of a law enforcement officer, you must be "always on" - which means always in a state of stress. 

This is a very Yang way of being, in contrast to my feminine, Yin, natural way of being in the world. I quickly came to realize that this was not a sustainable way of life for me and I had to find ways to bring balance. This is when I began researching the effects of stress, burnout, and something called the Human Giver Syndrome. 

Human Givers are people who have a duty or moral obligation to other human beings. To give everything they have- their time, their attention, their patience, their love, their rest, their bodies, their hopes and dreams, their very lives sometimes, sacrificed on the altar of other humans' comfort and convenience. (Borrowed from Emily Nagoski Burnout)

Things began to shift for me once I became aware that stress is a natural part of the human condition, not unique to first responders, but experienced by all humans at some level. I began to value the importance of addressing stress in the body versus only addressing the stressor itself. Through applying stress management techniques, I began to see more balance and wellness in my life and finally felt a true understanding for what "fit for duty" means in my life. 

This is a practice for me, it's not always perfect. I understand that like physical fitness, it is important to practice emotional fitness daily as well. I know that taking care of my self is not as easy as scheduling in a workout and eating right, but that there are deeper steps I have to take on a regular basis to truly be well and fit for duty. I don't see wellness as a state of being, but rather as a state of action. The ability to flow from stress into calm and back into stress (and not getting stuck in one or the other!)  

If you would like to learn more about this, and join in the journey of being Fit for Duty (regardless of what it is you call your "duty"), check out some of my resources below. 

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Sleep Hygiene: What It Is and Why It Matters

We don’t get enough sleep anymore, and it’s making us miserable.

2021-05-06 4 min read

Ancestral Health Wellness Coaching

Feeling overwhelmed with hectic modern life? These ideas can help you get back to your roots and become well for good.

2021-04-12 2 min read

The Language of Self-Love

My favorite solutions for incorporating more self-love into your self-talk

2021-02-22 2 min read

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