Here are my hints for staying sane at work this winter…
1. Leave work at work (as often as possible)
Now, this may seem like an obvious number one. In a perfect world, we would all breeze casually out of work at the end of the day, our stresses and worries trapped inside the pocket of the blazer we left slung over the office chair. In reality, it is quite the contrary. As a primary school teacher, I reluctantly raise my hand in the air and admit that on most days of the week, the students remain in my thoughts long after the 3:30 bell rings. Long after 5:00 pm. In fact, usually, it is long into the night. I know it’s not just us teachers either. Of course, there are genuine reasons as to why people either think about work or do actual work after hours. But making this an everyday occurrence is not healthy! It is so important for your body and mind to separate your work environment and your home environment. Here are some tips:
- Try lighting some candles when you arrive home, to give your senses a pleasant change from your office/classroom/work site.
- Switch off your phone (or put in on silent) to avoid checking your emails.
- Dim your lights to give your eyes a break from fluorescent/harsh lighting.
- Read a good booklet you mind wander into someone else’s world!
2. Have a hobby
A great way to leave your worries at work is to participate in something you really enjoy as often as possible! You don’t need to continue doing the same activity every week either, break it up and keep your mind and body refreshed and motivated. Take a trip down memory lane and try to think back to what the younger version of you enjoyed doing- you might just find that it still does the trick! If not, here are some ideas you might like:
- a team sport (think netball or soccer)
- a musical instrument (you might be the next Beethoven)
- a new language
- knitting (especially helpful in the cooler months!)
3. Pack a healthy and delicious lunch (and give yourself time to eat it!)
Food is a wondrous thing, it really is. A healthy diet has the ability to provide our bodies with precious nutrients, fuel and a safeguard against illness. The prospect of healthy and delicious food can also benefit our minds by creating something to look forward to. There is no better way to have a break from the daily grind than taking some time to appreciate what a good meal can do for us. Plus, a healthy lunch can ensure we perform at our best for the rest of the day. Combine your healthy lunch with plenty of fresh water, to keep you hydrated, of course!
4. Make your office comfortable
Most people spend around 8 hours a day at work, whether it be in a cubicle, an office, a classroom or somewhere else- therefore, doesn’t it make sense to spend so much time in a positive and comfortable space? I certainly think so. Some ways that I make my classroom a positive place for me are:
- play relaxing music: For me, it is when the students are out of the room (they are at art, music, p.e or French). Quiet background music settles me and helps to clear my mind. For others, it may be listening to music with headphones, or whilst driving in the car.
- create your favourite scent: I like my classroom to smell like vanilla, so I have an electric oil diffuser beside my desk. Try to have a scent that is different from yours at home to maintain a separate atmosphere. You might burn a candle, spray air freshener or simply open a window for some fresh air.
- Keep your workstation organised: mess and extra “stuff” lying around can cause a sense of chaos and create unwanted stress. You don’t have to be OCD, but trying to maintain some kind of order on your desk or workspace can become a simple reassurance that things are on track.
5. Love your job!
It’s simple, really. The saying is true: When you truly love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life!