People who are interested in becoming a correctional officer at a state or federal prison facility understandably have a lot of questions about the job. One of the more common questions that prospective officers wonder about is stress on the job.
The job of a corrections officer is one of the most emotionally and psychologically demanding occupations available. So what exactly do officers who have been in the corrections industry for a number of years have to say in the way of suggestions and recommendations for keeping stress at bay?
Exercise – Almost exclusively, corrections officers will tell you that regular exercise is a critical part of staying on top of the job from a stress standpoint. But not only is exercise a stress reliever, it helps establish and maintain mental alertness as well as building up an immunity to sickness and disease.
A solid exercise program would include resistance training like free weights, flexibility training, and some form of regular cardiovascular exercise such as swimming or running.
Sufficient Sleep – One of the most pervasive problems among corrections officers is a lack of quality sleep. Because of the nature of corrections, with unconventional work shifts and consistent overtime hours, many officers fail to get the rest their bodies need.
Part of getting a good night sleep on a regular basis is having the right bedroom environment. Bedrooms should be dark, quiet, and temperate. Also, if necessary and within reason, officers should try to take one or two short naps during breaks. Brief ten or fifteen minute naps can refresh the body and mind.
A Healthy Diet – It can seem like overstating the obvious, but maintaining a healthy diet is essential to keeping pace with the job of a corrections officer. But it can be challenging to eat healthy all the time with a busy schedule. The key is to not get discouraged if you eat something that isn’t as healthy as you’d like or is downright unhealthy. Do your best to maintain a good diet and you will feel better and perform better on the job.