How to leave work at work

As a beginning high school teacher, I find myself bringing alarming amounts of work at home. After only a few weeks, I felt strained with anxiety and fatigue. It seemed like I never had a free minute to myself or for the people around me.

I soon realized that more than just the students’ copies, I was bringing home a lot of stress, worry and problems. My thoughts weighted me down, and prevented me from really enjoying the time I had outside of school.

To make sure I would stay sane, I tried many things. Here are some tips that really helped me leave work at work. They didn’t prevent me from bringing some planning home, but at least, the drama stayed in high school.

My cat, supervising my work  and counting my copies.

My cat, supervising my work and counting my copies.

  1. Plan ahead: Make a schedule with all the things you need to do when you get home. I made myself a weekly timetable, which included things like cooking, schoolwork, shower, yoga and free time. I made my schedule so that I knew, for example, that I had to be cooking between 6:30 and 7:00, but that I had time for yoga between 5:30 and 6:15. Even if this sounds rigid, it really made my time at home a lot more efficient. Surprisingly enough, I realized that I had time for everything… and then some.
  1. Take a shower: If you take public transportation to come home, this trick will not only help you relax, it will also help you get some of the germs away. Enjoy your shower, pamper yourself with products you love, and change into something comfortable. This really helps me set into my home environment.
  1. Journal: Instead of being the person who comes back home disheveled, ranting about how horrible their day was, take a few minutes every night to journal about your day. Write down negative and positive things. By doing so, you will notice patterns of things that really annoy you, but also of things that help you shine and be happy. Also, because you know you will have space to rant, you won’t feel like you need to come home all claws out.
  1. Have some fun: I really enjoy yoga and music, so I try to take half an hour to practice. Because these activities require concentration and mindfulness, they make my thoughts calmer, and my school problems smaller. The essential thing here is to do something actively mind challenging: don’t just watch TV, try to practice or create something. This will truly engage your mind and channel your energy in a positive way.
  1. Create a workspace: If you have to bring some work at home, dedicate a specific place where you will work. By creating two separate physical spaces, you limit distractions, which will help you be more efficient with your work, and hopefully spend less time at it.

I soon realized that these tips really helped me separate my personal and professional lives, but also become more productive with the things I truly enjoy doing.

Tell me, what are your tips to keep work at work? 🙂

2 thoughts on “How to leave work at work

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