Do you find yourself thinking about your classes late into the night, so you cannot sleep? Does that situation with little Johnny keep reappearing in your mind and making you mad all over again? Do you drive your family crazy by talking about school all the time? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then for sanity’s sake, you need a way to leave school at school.
If you’ve done all your preparation before you leave school then this will be easier, because you have a greater physical boundary to work with. If you’re working at home, as many of us do, your boundary will be closer to your home which can make it harder, but ultimately it’s a mental boundary that will do the trick.
The physical boundary.
So you’re driving or walking or cycling out of school, you have a several places where you can leave it behind. The door out of the school, the door into the car, the end of the street, the park, the bridge, you choose a place and make it your boundary, the place past which you do not think about school anymore. At home, the boundary might be your office door, or getting up from the chair at your desk. It might be the moment you pour yourself a drink too.
But it’s not that simple! I hear you screaming and you’re right. This is only step one. The important bit is what you do with your mind after you’ve passed the boundary, because as sure as a starless night is black your mind is going to try to bring school over the boundary with you. As soon as you say you don’t want to think about something, you start thinking about it. Right?
The mental boundary
Here’s what to do when you find thoughts of school returning to bug you even after you’ve said – okay, I’ve left school now.
- Say to yourself, ‘ah ha, schools back’, or something similar. You’re just labelling what’s happening and keeping a humorous attitude about it.
- Remind yourself that you left school on the other side of the boundary.
- Let the thought go, but don’t get caught up in follow up thoughts. – easier to say than do? Yep. Try this.
- Consider your thoughts as like credits rolling across a TV screen
- Watch the present thought until it’s disappeared off the screen, then wait for the next one.
- When the next one comes, remember that it’s just a thought, like a credit on a TV screen. Watch it appear and pass through without thinking about what it says.
- Keep doing this and you’ll become quite peaceful. The more you do it, the easier it gets.
- You’re not trying to stop thoughts rising, you’re just letting them pass through your mind without getting caught in a barrage of associated thoughts.
- When you do find yourself all caught up again – and you will, so don’t expect not to. – just bring yourself back to the image of the TV screen and see whatever you happen to be thinking as words on the screen. You’re back to dot point 1 and you start all over again.
What if the thought happens to be a really good idea that you want to/need to follow up? Then, figuratively speaking, go back to school, meaning back to the desk, the office or the carpet square where you allow yourself to do school work, or just think, ‘OK, I’m back at school now.’ Do the follow through, then declare, ‘I’ve left school now,’ and carry on as before.
How do you switch off at the end of the day? Do you find it difficult?