Decontaminate for less teacher stress
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- BY MICHAEL GROSE
Hands-up if you reach for your favourite beverage when you get home after a hard day at school.
Self-medication! It’s very common.
It’s a great way to relax and unwind.
And separate yourself from the day.
Self-medication is something I practised, until I found a better way to de-stress and leave the world of work behind.
I now decontaminate instead.
It’s something that coal-miners do. They spend all day underground and their clothes, not to mention their eyes, become caked in coal-dust. They remove their dusty clothes before they go home otherwise they’ll contaminate their house with the coal dust.
In much the same way teachers and other professionals need to decontaminate when they get home to leave the dust of the workplace behind.
The best way to decontaminate is to change from your work clothes to your civilian clothes as soon as you get home.
This signals to your sub-conscious that you are no longer in work mode.
My wife and I work together. When we come home from work we both change out of our work clothes into more relaxed casual wear as soon as we come home. This signals the change from work to home life.
We decontaminate, rather than self-medicate to relax.
We refuse to talk about work when we are wearing our casual wear. Occasionally we’ll talk about work, BUT we need to give each other permission. Even then it needs to be brief otherwise we’ll contaminate our casual clothes with work.
Sometimes we contaminate the wrong places with work. If you do some schoolwork in bed then you’ll contaminate your bed with work. Your sub-conscious brain will associate bed with work. Don’t be surprised if you wake up in the middle of the night mulling over work issues.
Similarly, if you work at the kitchen table then you’ll associate work with the kitchen table. Better to stick to the office for work, thinking and worry.
Separate work and home out by keeping your clothes and locations separate. It will help you be more effective at work and stay more relaxed and less anxious when you’re in your own time.