I’m here; it’s me, really.
I haven’t been swallowed up in teacher survivor mode. Rather, I’ve been doing something amazing, necessary, something shouldn’t be considered amazing- but rather merely a part of every day life. But it feels amazing. I’ve been working and then working out, seeing friends, cooking. Leading a happier life than the workaholic mode I was in before. I still get stressed (I’m an anxious lady, afterall), but I’m doing better.
One thing that’s helped? Only talking about work for fewer than 20 minutes when I get home. No more long rants about education policy or a particularly troubling moment with a student. I am trying more and more to leave that stuff outside my home so I can actually enjoy myself when I am home. It’s hard; all that stuff is on my brain, and I want to blurt it out to a listening ear. There’s some degree of catharsis that results from “getting it out.” But it’s also ultimately selfish to do that, isn’t it? And it really prevents you (me) from leaving work. Boundaries blur if we don’t limit ourselves.
I think we all struggle with this to some degree, particularly those of us in a helping profession. It’s hard to disconnect, to truly be away from work, to be yourself outside of your profession. The 20 minute rule is genius (thanks to my friend Janna who’s a nurse) in that it puts a finite amount of time on our ability to rant. It forces us to engage in conversations about other things– things we know interest us and are important but which are overshadowed by our recent experiences at work.
How do you disconnect from work? Do you find it hard?