Let it go.
The ability to detach from work and/or from home allows focus, helps to manage stress and responsibilities, and allows you to be present (whether it’s with clients/patients, co-workers, family, friends, etc.).
Detach means to let go, or to disengage. In the mental health and/or medical field, this is incredibly useful and important. It is also incredibly difficult. As humans, as people, we are empathetic and the things we may hear during the day can be so difficult. Maybe you are working with a client/patient who reminds you so much of you. Or maybe he/she reminds you of someone in your family. When you get home, it is so hard to disengage from the conversations you had with the individual earlier and you become short with your children, your husband, your best friend. Has this or something similar happened to you before?
On the other hand, perhaps you got into an argument with your spouse before leaving for work – or better yet, on the way to work. You get to work, and someone says, “You look tired today, are you doing okay?” This leads to tears. The tears lead to feeling inadequate. You have a full day of work, but now are thinking about the argument and how your coworker stated you looked tired. You go on about your day but are so distracted. Are you able to be present with your clients/patients? Are you able to hear them – like really – hear them?
The importance of detaching from work/home is clear. However, the “how” is not so clear. Good and bad news: there are many ways but not all work for every person, nor does the same one work all the time for the same person.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “timing is everything”. In this case, time can be everything. Give yourself the time to detach/disengage. Whether it be the drive home (do you have a commute?), or perhaps as soon as you get home/work you take 3-5 minutes to yourself to just sit in silence.
Reflection is helpful because it allows you to focus on experiences throughout your day. Reflection allows you to take a moment and consider what has bothered you, and then to allow yourself to let it be. This can be a challenge, especially in the mental health field. We want to help others. We want to fix things. Yet, we can only do so much. And that so much that you do, is truly enough for the moment.
Take some time and consider what you are grateful for. Practising gratitude helps you to be in the present. As you sit down on the floor with your children to play, think about all the blessings you have in front of you and how great their laugh is. Focus on the present and find gratitude.
Find a way to check yourself out. Visual imagery is great here. When you go to the store and you have things in your cart, do you catch yourself wondering how expensive your grocery bill is going to be? What happens though, after you check out the items, are you still wondering? Most likely not. You see the bill, you pay it, you accept it, and you move on. Try this with your job. You sit at your desk before you leave. You accept what happened. You clock out or write your time down, and you leave. Now, you can think about the next to do.
We can consider these as tools in a toolbox. Depending on the day, the mood, the situation, you can choose which of these will fit you for the day. And if it isn’t fitting, throw one back in and grab another one out. Find what fits for you.