How to Clear Your Mind from School Work

How to Clear Your Mind from School Work

by LaQuisha Hall

Did you come here looking for the answer to this question? I only have suggestions… I went to social media seeking the answer to this question. What I learned is that most educators are wired to always keep work at the top of their mind. We physically and mentally take work home after hours on week days and on weekends and some feel “teacher guilt” for doing things not related to work. 

Here is what I learned from other educators that might help:

  • Preschedule outings with friends and family (basically obligate yourself to other activities in advance)

  • Do mindless activities like watching TV or playing games on your phone

  • Choose only one of your 2 weekend days to lesson plan

  • Participate in physical activity, like exercise or yoga

  • Make a to do list and return to it when you go back to work — there will always be something to do!

  • Take school alerts/emails off of your phone!

  • Schedule specific hours to work on school work and strictly stick to those hours!

  • Don’t open the laptop — if it’s not there, you can’t work on it

  • Curl up with a non-school related book in bed

As an educator, entrepreneur and coach, I have also struggled with balancing home life and work life. It is hard to practice self-care, but it is essential. Otherwise, we are spending our lives working instead of living. I have also personally implemented 4 key practices to keep myself motivated and focused to continue to do this important work:

  • Journaling: Every morning, between 6:30-7:30 a.m., I rise to journal. I desire time to myself (no hubby yelling out my name, no cat meowing for food) so much that I have to create the time for it. I follow the same process daily: 

    • I find stickers to use to decorate the page. I love being creative in my journaling—it is a great motivation to write on the page.

    • I write an affirmation. I usually do a quick Google search and read through several affirmations until I find the one that stirs my soul.

    • I write a scripture. I am a faith-based believer and I don’t often have the time to sit and read faith-based books the way I desire, but at least I capture a piece of some encouraging words that will help drive my day. 

    • I write an inspiration quote. So many prolific leaders have shared words for us to live by. I want to keep them in front of me. Again, a Google search makes this possible. 

    • I write a gratitude list. We have so many reasons to be grateful—being alive during the pandemic is a great one. I make sure to write things, ideas and people who made the days a bit sweeter. 

    • I write what I am pondering. My thoughts matter. Sometimes my thoughts are negatively heavy, but I don’t record those. I write about a positive experience each day, whether it was happy mail, a sweet comment on social media or other. Looking back over my journal and reading over these positive experiences are so uplifting on heavy days. 

  • Reading: Teachers, especially literacy teachers, have piles and stacks of “to read” books. Carving out time to minimize those stacks is such a great mental escape.

  • Weekly Zoom: I meet a group of creatives every single week for 2 hours on the weekend. All we do is craft together. What a relief to have dedicated time to do what I love, fellowship with people I love and walk away from dedicated time feeling a sense of relief. 

  • Sit in silence: sounds hard? It is, but with practice, it is possible. Your mind may wander and you might suddenly remember things that you feel you need to write down. Keep pen and paper handy to jot those thoughts down and go back to just sitting in silence which we collectively do not do enough of. Also, try stretching on a yoga mat while listening to mediation music. 

  • Listen to music and dance: Why not get some movement in to songs we love? I love listening to my favorite songs loudly through headphones and dancing around the house. By the time I finish, you can’t tell me I am not Michael Jackson when I am done!

Ultimately, it seems as if we, educators, cannot escape working outside of school hours unless we are intentional. To be intentional means to be deliberate or do something on purpose. In this case, lets be intentional: let’s partake in activities we love on purpose for a purpose, to restore ourselves in these challenging times. Remove teacher guilt by acknowledging your hard work done thus and that there is more hard work ahead.
Have additional self-care suggestions? Share them in the comments!

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