Stress Management System for Police Officers with Andi Clark
Learn about a stress management system for police officers with Andi Clark. Andi Clark is a hugely successful global coach to the 911/999 family and helps officers and their families who are struggling with or close to burn-out. This podcast episode of Blue Light Leavers is all about having a healthy stress management system for police officers. This episode is very informative and full of knowledge for police officers to peak in their careers, without jeopardizing their health. Be sure to join the Blue Light Leavers Facebook Group for more valuable material for first responders, and police officers alike. In this episode, learn about stress management programs for police officers in active duty, and retired.
"When do you draw the line between the job and your health? When do you stop feeling the guilt choosing between your career and your well being?"
Who is Andi Clark? The Stress Management System Specialist
Andi is based in Toronto, Canada. Her husband is a police officer in Toronto for over 10 years. He is currently on the road. Before that, he was on a community outreach program driving bicycles. Now, he is moving to another specialized division. Andi is a member of the Blue Light Leavers Facebook group. Andi's own health issues, empowered her to help her police officer husband, and other first responders sleep better at night, and live more healthy with a stress management system. With Andi, learn about stress management programs for retired police officers and for those in active duty.
Preventing Burn Out
She helps first responders all over the world prevent burn out. Andi helps them start sleeping again! Her tools empower others to turn off the "tired and wired". Andi believes that from getting away from survival mode, people can start thriving in their career again. She suffers from a genetic stress condition. Her body is always functioning in a high stress state, just like police officers. Police officers have to be in a high stress state to prepare physically and mentally for whatever will happen on the shift. She has had two burnout crashes in her life. In fact, her son was born in a full burn out, and shows a lot of triggers of her condition too. Andi went to several doctors, but no one could help. Thankfully, she listened to a podcast that totally related to her. Then she worked at reversing her burn out.
How did 911 lifestyle.com come about?
Andi took everything she learned from her own experience, and refined it to work for her husband. The police force is very stressful, full of overtime, shift work, and not being able to eat. So, she adapted a program to work for her husband. In addition, her husband's colleagues were struggling just like Andi had. So, she started helping them out. Andi created a stress management program, just like she used to do in her personal training career.
She moved her business online, so she could help officers everywhere in the world.
"Officers are feeling the same everywhere, because they all have the same stresses and pressures in their job"
What are the key signs and signals for a burn out?
Here is the list of common signs and signals for a burn out. Andi instructs us to know the list, as the symptoms can all occur at different rates, at different paces, and at different orders.
- Tired and wired
- Waking mid sleep
- Brain fog
- Short fuse
- Digestive issues
- Constant cold and flus
- Skin issues
- Nagging issues that wont heal
- Motivation decreasing
- Gallbladder, kidney, and organs disfunction. Combined with inflammation, that the body can no longer health itself. A lack of a stress management system will eventually lead to cancer
Do you feel a combination of these symptoms? You are not alone. Reach out to others in the Blue Light Leavers Facebook Group.
Stress Management System for Police Officers
For Andy Labrum, after 30 years of serving in the police force, he admits to experiencing most of these issues. Andi Clark explains that the symptoms usually occur in a police officers first year, and the third year of their careers. It all depends on lifestyle habits, genetics, and work pressure. Sure, fitness and nutrition are key to keeping stress down. However, theres a lot more to consider.
What can we do to mitigate these issues?
With her clients, Andi Clark uses a three step process:
- Support the stress management system
Think about your stresses being in a bucket. The bucket overflows so much, so theres holes in the bucket. That is your stress management system. It doesn't matter if you have motivation to get better, you need to support the stress management system. Your stress management system manages 50 different hormone responses. Some include, sleep, energy, reproductive, Libido, energy digestive system, thyroid… and more.
Andi advises, "You need to figure out where things are off in your hormonal pathways. Start fixing these things before moving onto step 2"
- Lifestyle Changes
Nutrition, of course. But, also mindset mentally, illness and environment toxins need to also be considered. It's all about taking stress out of the bucket. Identifying ways to change your lifestyle in your career, but also into retirement. Even if you retire, or move to a day shift, and your bucket still has holes, then the lifestyle changes wont fix the root problem. Even if you leave the job, you can still have the sleep deprivations and short fuse, until you develop a good stress management system.
How to maintain that level of energy? How to support yourself in high stress times? How to maintain that without putting more holes in your bucket? This is what Andi works with her clients, specifically doing. Creating a stress management maintenance system.
Andi talks about alternatives to taking medication from a Doctor. During Andi's burn out experiences, she would go speak to traditional Doctor's that would just say she was fine, or would offer her a pill. Andi explained to the doctor about Anderson's disease. She was so angry and upset that she had to become more active in finding a solution for her own health. Doctors are based on crisis intervention. They are reactive. But, we need to be preventative. Andi's stress management system for police officers is preventative, rather than reactive.
Hormone Dutch Test
Andi finally found someone who understood her hormones, and did a dutch test. A dutch test is dried urine test for comprehensive hormones. It's a 24 hour urine test to test hormonal pathways. In Andi's case, she was producing even cortisol, but following down the wrong path. Imagine a river coming down, and it splits. One pathway was dry, and the other was splitting in the other differently and turning into a different hormone. Her stress energy and libido were gone. It's imperative to find someone that understand the dutch test. It's the best test to understand the pathways within our bodies. Men don't use it as much. Have the same amount of hormones but women are more complicated. Andi instructs anyone suffering to go to someone who understands preventative measures, and how to support your stress management system. They need to understand hormones and digestive issues. Then, they can help you build that resilience again.
Start Producing Your Own Hormones Again, Naturally
Andi is a true advocate for preventative and natural health. Try to stay away from doctors who will prescribe synthetics. She was given synthetic drugs, and now she's working on getting off the prescription medication. You need someone who really understands how to get your body to be producing the hormones of their own. Andi encourages us and her clients to, "Stay away from “get well quick” remedies".
Success stories of Andi's Stress Management System
A lot of her work is confidential. She works with one gentleman who was 20 years in the police force. He didn't know about the 5 stress triggers. Unfortunately, he didn't know how to work around shift work. One day, he completed 36 hours of surveillance controlled by warrants, arrests and pursuits. All within 36 hours! When his shift was over, he was cleaning out the car. And, it was full of junk food garbage. He thought to himself,
"When do you draw the line between the job and your health?"
This specific client ended up on medical leave. He was struggling with brain fog and was given a PTSD diagnosis, but not from trauma. Normally, Andi doesn't take on PTSD patients but she started working her stress management system with him, anyway. Just 1 month in her program, he reported, “I haven't had this much energy in 20 years”. We is working with Andi on supporting his stress management system. Others who have completed the program, and are back to the people they were before the job. The stress impacts families, communities and everyone around that person.
Stress Management Programs for Police Officers
Some positive steps that people can take right now if they are working shifts and/or struggling in their career as a police officer, include drinking more water and practicing breathing techniques.
- Drink More Water - Andi sees lots of signs of dehydration, nagging injuries, headaches, and sleep issues with her clients. In fact, most people are dehydrated. One simple fix is to drink more water. It’s not easy to drink a lot of water, especially for police officers on shift. However, Andi suggests putting water on your bedside table so you can drink 3 cups of water, as you start your day.
- Practice Breathing Techniques - This gets into the physical stress trigger. We have 2 different nervous systems that are in charge of your stress, rest and digestive systems. They are just like muscles. If you're working them often, they are quicker to react. If we are not doing things to work on our rest and digestive system then it won’t work for us. Stress management programs for police officers should include practicing breathing techniques to lower your physical stress triggers.
Breathing Exercises: Stress Management Programs for Police Officers
Andi talks about the benefits of breathing exercises. Breath in through your nose, and go deep in the belly. Breathing deep into your belly and breathing out through your nose will engage your rest and digestive system. Start breathing techniques, first thing in the morning. This way, you start your day with breathing techniques to put you in the restful state.
"When you start work, do breathing. It’s like an exercise. Need to keep up with it so it works for you"
Get in Touch with Andi Clark
Everything Andi talks about in this podcast episode really hits home for Andy. Andi is really helping educate about the importance about stress management programs for police officers. Visit her website, 911lifestyle.com. Lots of information in her blogs and articles. In addition, she is also very active on LinkedIn.
If you enjoyed this episode of Blue Light Leavers, please subscribe to the Blue Light Leavers Facebook Group. Want to see more podcast episodes? Thinking of leaving the police force? Check out How to Write a CV after leaving the force.