Lexipol’s Top 10 Wellness Articles of 2023

by | December 20, 2023

The year 2023 saw a continued focus on the importance of physical and mental wellness for first responders — both at Lexipol and in the national conversation. In addition to adding useful new content to Lexipol’s Cordico wellness app, we published dozens of great wellness articles on both the Lexipol blog and Cordico blog, providing ideas and solutions for the physical, mental and emotional challenges faced by public safety workers.

Below are the most popular wellness-related articles from both blogs for the year. We look forward to featuring lots of new, thought-provoking topics as we transition into 2024!

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10. 10 Reasons Cops Should Never Get Help With Mental Health, by Missy Morris

For a number of reasons, first responders tend to avoid admitting the need for help. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, this article lists 10 excuses law enforcement officers might make for not getting help with their mental health struggles. Stepping away from satire, the author argues that police leaders need to do more to encourage those in law enforcement to acknowledge and process the stresses of their job. In the end, the article highlights the importance of addressing mental health struggles and the negative impact they can have on first responders and their families.

9. Firefighter Safety in Hot Weather, by Lexipol Team

Next on the list of top Lexipol wellness articles of 2023: heat-related illness, which is a major concern for firefighters, especially during the summer months. This updated article highlights the importance of taking precautions to help prevent the escalating dangers of heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. It also explores how personal health factors such as obesity, diabetes and physical fitness can interact with on-the-ground conditions, calling attention to the importance of recognizing early signs of heat-related illness and establishing a fireground rotation schedule to reduce recovery time.

8. How Much Do You Bench, Bro? Why Fire and EMS Personnel Should Incorporate Functional Training, by Aaron Zamzow

It’s one thing to train for general fitness, to lose weight or to bulk up. For firefighters, it may be preferable to train for the specific activities they encounter on the job, such as crawling, carrying, dragging and climbing. This article highlights how functional training can be productive for fire and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel, emphasizing the relevance of specialized exercises to improve strength, agility, and overall performance. By doing so, firefighters can develop heightened readiness and effectiveness in responding to emergencies.

7. The Big 4: Firefighter Wellness Warning Signs, by Bruce Bjorge and Rachelle Zemlok

The next article on the Lexipol top wellness articles of 2023 comes from fire veteran Bruce Bjorge and first responder clinician Dr. Rachelle Zemlok, who explore key areas that can serve as early-warning indicators of mental health challenges for firefighters. The “Big 4” categories of concern include restful sleep, financial wellness, personal relationships and physical health/nutrition. By fostering awareness of the warning signs, and watching for problems in the areas of concern, firefighters and fire service leaders can take a proactive approach to mental health and promote overall well-being in the fire service community.

6. Wellness Principles for First Responders: Applying Extreme Ownership, by Lexipol Team

People who work in public safety face unique challenges linked to the nature of their jobs — from long shifts and sporadic sleep to repeated exposure to on-the-job trauma. This article, a recap of a recent a webinar presented by Jocko Willink of Echelon Front and Dr. David Black and Mandy Nice of Lexipol, highlights the importance of prioritizing wellness and provides strategies for strengthening well-being at every stage of a first responder’s career. As the article notes, “Determine what your priorities are when it comes to improving your wellness and incorporate them into your life, while supporting and encouraging your peers to do the same.”

5. Fire Service Bullying: Are We Only Addressing Half the Problem? by Curt Varone

It’s no secret that bullying is an ongoing issue in the fire service. Numerous articles, courses and videos (not to mention lawsuits) have showcased the depth of the problem and offered solutions to reduce this pernicious behavior. In this article, the author suggests current efforts are doomed to fail unless we acknowledge the existence of personality disorders and their role in bullying — not just bullies with personality disorders, but bullying victims as well. This is a sensitive subject, and Varone makes it clear that we must be careful not to blame the victim. But as he notes, prevention efforts don’t seem to be working. And we owe it to all fire service personnel to address the issue more effectively.

4. Work-Life Balance in Public Safety — What We Can Learn From Millennials, by Dave Cline

Drawing insights from millennial perspectives in the public safety sector, this article explores the evolving concept of work-life balance. It delves into the changing expectations around flexibility, wellness and career fulfillment, advocating for adapting policies to align with these shifting priorities. The whole point, according to the author, is fostering a healthier work-life balance for public safety professionals while addressing the unique challenges they face.

3. Making Fitness a Priority As a First Responder, by Lexipol Team

It’s not a secret that fitness is important, especially in public safety. In practice, though, fitness often falls through the cracks. As first responders juggle competing priorities, it’s important not to drop the ball on physical health. But how can first responders make time for fitness, working it into their daily routine? This article, based on a Lexipol webinar, encourages first responders to view fitness as a critical component of their overall well-being, emphasizing its positive impact on job performance, mental health and resilience in the face of the challenges unique in the field.

2. Firefighter Morale: Is It Time for an Attitude Change? by Bruce Bjorge

This article by Battalion Chief Bruce Bjorge makes the list of top Lexipol wellness articles of 2023 by taking on the important issue of morale within the firefighting community, exploring several influential factors such as leadership, communication and organizational culture. The author advocates for a shift in attitude, emphasizing the importance of staying humble, having fun and taking pride in one’s work. Bjorge encourages fire departments to proactively address the critical nature of the job to enhance overall job satisfaction and well-being among their personnel.

1. Cops and Divorce — Third Time Is the Charm? by Missy Morris

While some claim that high rates of police officer divorce is a myth, conventional wisdom (and the author’s own experience) suggests that divorce and a career in law enforcement often go hand in hand. This article delves into the challenges officers face in maintaining healthy relationships and the impact divorce can have on police officers’ mental health. Morris suggests that understanding these dynamics can aid in developing support systems for those at high risk for relationship failure, emphasizing the importance of addressing the unique stressors within the profession to promote overall well-being.

If you missed any of these top wellness articles of 2023 the first time around, be sure to bookmark the Lexipol blog and check back regularly for new content. You can also get the latest articles delivered straight to your email inbox by subscribing to our newsletters:

Lexipol provides public safety and local government with solutions that combine the impact of information with the power of technology. We serve more than 2 million first responders and local government officials with policies, training, wellness resources, grant assistance, and news and analysis.

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