Welcome to week 3 of Mental Health Awareness month, where the OPP BTB team will be bringing you new content all week long!
Here are some ways you can incorporate mindfulness into your daily life - being mindful or practicing yoga doesn't mean you need to have a private home studio or endless hours to dedicate to something new. It can be as simple as carving out 5 minutes to check in with yourself as you need it.
We hope you find these tips helpful, and stay tuned for more to come.
One Officer's Journey with Yoga & Mindfulness
Thank you to PC Sbeyti, Moosonee Detachment
Tell us about your journey with mindfulness after becoming a police officer:
Becoming a police officer was one of the proudest moments of my life. I have been so blessed to be able to help people in their time of need and to be able to see parts of the province that people only dream of. With that being said, becoming a police officer also meant getting exposed to a lot of trauma, stress and grief that most people would not see in their lifetime. I started mindfulness training early in my career to create and maintain mental resiliency.
What does mindfulness mean to you?
Mindfulness to me is training the mind to be conscious and present. Often we go through life events, both happy and sad, without really being present in the moment. Mindfulness helps me focus and to take control of my thoughts and emotions no matter what is going on. I am a passionate person and I tend to naturally get sucked into whatever I’m doing. Mindfulness has helped teach me how to be conscious and in the moment with everything I do without letting things consume me. I now recognize my emotions better and am able to be proactive with what I need to do. Mindfulness is a powerful tool that helps me be a better officer and a better person in general.
How has yoga helped you?
Yoga to me is the connection between mind and body. Slowing down my breathing and allowing my body to connect to my mind through deliberate movement is another way to reinforce mindfulness. It is also a great way to maintain active recovery after a hard workout!
How has practicing meditation benefited you, and your family?
Meditation to me is the vehicle to mindfulness! I spend at least 15 minutes a day meditating. Meditation is the activity that I use to train mindfulness. Sitting down and breathing for a set period of time allows me to separate my emotions and thoughts from what is going on around me. Meditation helps remind me that there is always a sunny sky above the storm clouds. My family has benefited from meditation in that they sometimes join me and in that I am more likely to not bring work home due to being centered.
What would you say to fellow OPP families wanting to to know more?
I would say that there is no set path to mindfulness and meditation. We are all different, and there are different ways to train your mind. With today’s connected world, there are a lot of free and paid options to explore yoga, meditation, and mindfulness. My advice is don’t give up when you start. There are no instant results. You will find the residual benefits slowly start to pile up as you refine your practice. Don’t hesitate to try it though, you will not regret it!
What are your top 5 reasons to practice mindfulness?
Being present and in the moment
Learning more about who you are through being conscious of your emotions and triggers to people and event
Mental and physical resiliency
Being a better spouse, parent, and family member
Learning to focus more on being happy and moving away from negative emotions
Do you have any favourite apps you'd recommend?
My favourite apps to get people started are Headspace and ROMWOD. Both are online based, reasonably priced, and have scalable sessions for people who may not have lots of time.
I have logged over 7 thousand minutes on Headspace alone! Headspace taught me how to meditate and has different sessions and lessons for whatever it is I want to focus on. They even have meditations for families and kids! ROMWOD is a great slow yoga for athletes.
For more info on the apps PC Sbeyti loves, click on the icons below!