|Off the Clock: What Practicioners do in their Leisure Time|
|By Terry Campbell, Professor, Kaplan University, School of Public Safety|
Our July topic looks at what practitioners do in their leisure time. Now, this can include, proactive areas, areas for improvement, so-called bad habits, and other. Of course our age and physical condition may prohibit some activities. This may also include shift work that may be different than your family schedule. Also, you may be single, have no children, etc.
Many staff are committed to their family and home. These activities may consist of family time (playing with your children, assisting your children with homework, attending children activities, and other family related activities) mowing the lawn, home improvements, and other. At the same time, some staff do not have family at home. Their routines and/or activities may be different.
I feel we must recognize there are good and bad habits and/or routines. These activities may affect our health and mental conditions. We recognize we deal in a profession where stress is ever present and this presents obstacles for many. I would like for you to begin a chart and track what you do on a daily basis after work. This will include times and activities. Note; this may be good, bad, or a combination of both. Personally, I like being able to look at a chart. If these activities are logged accurately, then there is limited error. After a week, do an assessment and note time spent and what activities you were involved in. The results and data may surprise you.
If you drink alcoholic beverages, how many are you having? Do the same with other types of beverages. You can also look at food and types. Are you exercising, spending time outdoors, or do you have similar daily activities and becoming a couch potato? Are you communicating with family, are you bringing the job home and not sure how to cope with factors you have limited control over? I can go on and on, however I feel you get the picture. Take control of your life and activities and develop positive activities. Engage the family or friends to assist you. You have to be willing to accept the desire to change and what this will be. If necessary, seek professional counseling or assistance. Your employer has access to many programs you may be eligible for.
Check your attitude and determine if people/family talk with you or keep a distance. Co-workers may distance themselves, do you dread going to work or going home? If you accrue time off; are you taking this wisely or having to take time off to nurse your bad habits and decisions. All of us have issues and concerns and some are better than others in dealing with them.
I mentioned earlier you may not have family or family nearby. Have you ever considered working with the youth in your community? Or, becoming involved with other organizations. Perhaps your interest is music. However, over time you have gotten away from playing an instrument. Does this mean you cannot pick the instrument, begin practicing, or taking lessons? What are you doing with your off time that is constructive?
Some may be attending college, attending training, or conferences. At the same time, you may be juggling multiple activities and feel you do not have time to do anything else. Surprise, this is where the chart and self-assessment comes back into play. See if what you think matches with what you logged.
Have you often wondered why some people seem to have things together, while others struggle? Do you have officers that are trying to reach out to you, but afraid to be direct and ask? Or, do you have this invisible barrier that projects, stay away from me? You know as well as I do, finding a balance, in family, work, and leisure time is a must. You will be surprised what your new attitude may project. When was the last time you took time to reflect and have fun? When you think about things you would like to do, places to visit, areas for improvement, and other, it can promote positive change. Have you given up on this or can a little realignment of time management help?
I have some activities I enjoy doing by myself. Yes, I also have time for family and other activities. Personally, I like my current situation at this time in life. My body and time has caught up to me in some sports. So, I have taken up some other activities to remain active. Yes, I have a busy schedule like you and work requirements. However, I have taken control of my life and what I do when away from work.
You may find yourself somewhat reserved and not sure how to become involved. There are others out there perhaps in the same predicament. See what is available in your community, does your work provide any type of recreation and/or family activities for employees? Are you attending religious services and aware of the activities that may be available. There are many options and opportunities for you. If you have control of your life, have you considered starting your own group?
Take the next step and expand upon your activities. Your friends, family, and others will begin to take notice. Your attitude will become positive and allow you to enjoy life and control your activities. Overall, this is an improvement and positive change. Enjoy life, work, family, and other activities. The time for change is now.
Stay safe out there.
Best regards, Terry
Terry Campbell is a criminal justice professor at Kaplan University, School of Public Safety and has more than 20 years of experience in corrections and policing. He has served in various roles, including prison warden and parole administrator, for the Arkansas Department of Corrections. Terry may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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