Tell me about your post-work rituals.
May 20, 2015 4:58 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to develop a post-work habit or ritual for as soon as I arrive home. Something that will send a signal to my brain that "work is over, and now you're home." What habits, rituals or environmental changes have worked well for you?
posted by nightrecordings to Grab Bag (39 answers total) 76 users marked this as a favorite
Well, step one is definitely "remove grownup pants, replace with more comfy attire".
posted by ktkt at 5:01 PM on May 20, 2015 [60 favorites]

Yep, changing out of your work clothes is the go-to ritual. If you typically don't feel like changing, or if you work somewhere with a really relaxed dress code and don't need to change, it's a good idea to get some really comfy and luxurious loungey pants (not pajama pants, but sweatpants or something similar) especially for evening use.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:06 PM on May 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

Prepare and actually enjoy a drink. A cocktail, or tea, or whatever you like. The key is for the drink to be something that requires somewhat ritualized mixing so you can make it a little ceremony (but one you don't have to think a lot about) and to actually enjoy it - sitting down and doing nothing else, for a few minutes at least.
posted by peachfuzz at 5:06 PM on May 20, 2015 [6 favorites]

I have an extensive collection of ridiculous T-shirts, which I wear under my work-appropriate shirts. At the end of the day (often in the parking lot), I will take off my work-appropriate shirt, and bang, I am no longer Work Etrigan, I am Ridiculous T-Shirt Etrigan, who does not worry about Work Etrigan's problems.
posted by Etrigan at 5:07 PM on May 20, 2015 [30 favorites]

If I'm turning a work problem over in my mind, I have an agreement with myself to stop thinking about it as soon as I drive over a bridge. Adapt according to the topography of your commute.
posted by matildaben at 5:08 PM on May 20, 2015 [6 favorites]

Yes, shoes off, house clothes on. I have breasts, so part of that is definitely taking off my bra. Every now and then it gets to be 9 or 10 at night and I'm wondering why my boobs are angry. Because bra.

I commute by public transit, so there's a bit of walking built into my getting home. And it does make a great transition. If you drive, try getting out of the car and walking for a block or two in any direction before going in the house.

Things that smell good help a lot. You could use a room spray when you get home, or have a scent diffuser set up by the front door. Or perhaps a taste of food or tea that you only have at home. I'm thinking like one small square of decadent chocolate.

Also, music. Music can really set a mood, so something calm and relaxing (or perhaps dancey and energetic, if that's the energy level you want for your evening!)
posted by bilabial at 5:09 PM on May 20, 2015 [7 favorites]

Immediately change into sweatpants. Ooooh baby.
posted by AppleTurnover at 5:11 PM on May 20, 2015 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Take a quick shower when you get home. I've never developed the habit, but various roommates/partners/friends have done it and I always envied how they looked so refreshed and relaxed and ready for the evening.
posted by raisingsand at 5:18 PM on May 20, 2015 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Put on a record.
posted by brennen at 5:19 PM on May 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

My routine is basically this these days:

1. Vent to cat about job because job is stupid.
2. Thank cat for reminding me that stupid job pays for cat food which is important to both of us.
3. Start cooking dinner.
4. Shuffle around the house doing small chores.
5. Eat, watch at least half an hour of TV or read.
6. SHOWER AND NO MORE CLOTHES yessss best part of my day
7. Spend 1-3 hours decompressing on my computer or in bed.

The getting chores done asap part is crucial for me because once my shower happens I am not willing to do anything productive anymore except pretend I am a Jedi and go gallavanting across the galaxy in my favorite computer game until I fall asleep.
posted by Hermione Granger at 5:23 PM on May 20, 2015 [19 favorites]

I practice my musical instrument for 30 to 45 minutes first thing when I arrive home, both to (i) chill out, focus, and do something that I love, and (ii) avoid playing late in the evening (although my downstairs neighbor has expressly told me I can play whenever I want). There is a big emotional break between ending work/arriving home and finishing practice/*being* home. Because what time is it? IT'S ME O'CLOCK MOTHERFUCKERS.

oh yeah comfy clothes ftw The only drawback is that I end up playing in bare feet so much of the time that keeping my shoes on for lessons is kind of a trick.
posted by janey47 at 5:26 PM on May 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

Bra removal features heavily in my ritual. Followed closely by feed the dog, change clothes, make dinner, and numb out in front of the TV.
posted by cecic at 5:26 PM on May 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

Gin and Tonic!

Drunk while sitting on the back deck if the weather is nice.
posted by brookeb at 5:26 PM on May 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

I wash my face with a scented soap that I like. Very refreshing and calming.
posted by shiny blue object at 5:26 PM on May 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

Get into a fairly set post-work-mode routine:
- sort the mail
- cleanup whatever is in the sink
- prep stuff for dinner
- have a beer, wine, scotch, whatever suits your taste

A good piece of advice I picked up from some motivational speaker encountered along the way, years ago, paraphrased: You know that big briefcase full of papers you bring home from work every day (or, today, that laptop full of stuff you're lugging home)? Most days, you don't even look at it. It makes you feel good that you're bringing work home, and then it makes you feel bad that you didn't get to it, because you spent time instead with your kids/wife/personal interests. So, here's what you do: just stop taking it home. Stay at work a little longer if you have to and deal with things, but don't bring it home. When you're home, spend your time with your family, or whatever your personal interests are.

I've tried to take that to heart and apply it. It just makes sense. You might be able to spend an hour, or two, on work stuff at home, but you're going to be more productive, overall, if you really draw the line and quit working when you get home.
posted by beagle at 5:36 PM on May 20, 2015 [10 favorites]

When Mr. Meat comes home, the first thing he does is play fetch with the dog.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 5:42 PM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

My routine:

- Cuddle with the dog on the couch (he whines at me if we don't do this first but it's an excellent way to come home!)
- Change clothes if necessary
- Take dog for long walk
- Make dinner
posted by lunasol at 5:42 PM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

1.) Turn on stereo
2.) Remove and put away shoes
3.) Change into comfies while grilling my cat, Special Agent Dale Cooper, if he's had any good leads or solved any murders lately (he always just stares at me blankly, I think they're not even giving him new cases anymore)
4.) Stretching - downward dog, cat pose, child's pose
5.) Pour glass of wine
6.) Bust out the "things that aren't work but are only for me!" to-do list
7.) Choose at least one item (or give myself the night off. Thanks, boss!)
8.) Make or arrange for dinner
9.) Do thing from list, or watch TV/read
10.) Wash face, brush teeth, floss
11.) zzzzzzzzzzzzz
posted by pazazygeek at 5:45 PM on May 20, 2015 [13 favorites]

Greet the leaping joyous dog.

Greet the smiling husband.

Put the work stuff on the front table

Change clothes to PJs or sweats or running clothes

Voila! At home me!
posted by bearwife at 5:58 PM on May 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

Best answer:
  • Put away the things I brought home.
  • Go for a 10-15 minute walk.
  • Ginger-chamomile tea.

posted by aniola at 6:06 PM on May 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

I make sure I live within walking distance of work. A nice 15-20 walk home makes a powerful barrier between work and home moods.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 6:16 PM on May 20, 2015 [7 favorites]

pazazygeek, I was horrified until I realized you meant the other meaning of 'grilling'.

I remove Work Clothes, play with the dog, and either have a quick stretching/yoga session or recline with my feet up, depending on my energy level. Typically there's a podcast or some music involved as well.
posted by a halcyon day at 6:46 PM on May 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

Change out of dog-walking shoes and pants. Once the doggie report card emails are sent out, the rest of the day is mine, which I commemorate with a glass of wine, or if I'm aching, a puff of worry-be-gone.
posted by BostonTerrier at 6:47 PM on May 20, 2015

Step 1: Before anything else, feed swarming cats ("Hello darlings, yes you are going to be fed like you have been every single day at this time for the past 2 to 14 years depending on which one you are")
Step 2: Remove work clothing
Step 3: Attach "comfies" (house clothing)
Step 4: Put work clothing in laundry
Step 5: Probably at least one of the cats didn't like the food they were given (the only food they have wanted to eat for the past week) and is being annoying now
Step 6: Say to cat "that's what you're getting, if you don't like it eat your crunchies"
Step 7: Cat either trots off in a huff or eats crunchies
Step 8: Turn on computer
Step 9: Cat's back. Remind it about the crunchies
Step 10: Crack open and enjoy the rich refreshing taste of an ice-cold Pepsi Max, from the makers of Crystal Pepsi
Step 11: Remember that I have to either load the dishwasher or the washing machine or both and get cranky at complaining cat on my way to doing so: "Eat your crunchies or go back outside, that's all you're getting, stop being a shit!"
Step 12: Oh god now I have to do my barbell training (M, W, F only)
Step 13: Did I get anything out for dinner? What am I going to do about dinner?
Step 14: Should I start prepping for dinner first, and then do my training? Perhaps I can chop things between sets? (M, W, F only)
Step 15: I gotta have a shower now, I'm all sweaty and gross (M-S)
Step 16: I wish I had at least eight beers
Step 17: Order Dominos online
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:55 PM on May 20, 2015 [9 favorites]

I totally have home cardigans, ala Mr. Rogers, as well as home vests (they tend to have better pockets for carting around tissues and cellphones and lip balm and other essentials). I also was raised in a shoes off household, so taking off the shoes, putting them in their little nook, and then getting into my home slippers is another element of my Mr. Rogers ritual.

I have not yet implemented my music video sing-a-long as a regular "I'm home!" ritual, but I hope to.
posted by spamandkimchi at 8:04 PM on May 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

change into house clothes immediately. it is important, for this to work, to have enough house clothes and that they be what you like. it's no good if the drawer is full of old crappy t shirts you hate. have nice yoga/sweats/loungewear and stuff that makes you comfortable and not feel gross.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:49 PM on May 20, 2015

You being at home should be the trigger to relax. So I'm thinking that you're not disconnecting yourself from work when you get home: do you accept work calls? read work e-mail? connect to the vpn?
posted by gorcha at 12:08 AM on May 21, 2015

Best answer: This is boringly practical, but also good for sleep routines and general relaxation etc.
  • Have a 'landing strip', a defined place in the house where you put your keys, wallet, bag, book for your commute, whatever. Take stuff out of your pockets and put it down on the landing strip. Mentally that says 'you are home now' to me and it has the bonus of meaning you don't need to look for your keys in the morning.
  • Do any necessary chores as soon as you get home, like ironing a shirt for the next day, making your lunch, whatever. You can burn off mental tension by focusing on ensuring you're prepared for the next day.
  • Shift into whatever comes next; cooking, exercise, Netflix, whatever. But only once you've set yourself up for the next day. There's nothing worse than spending all evening knowing you haven't done something you really should do for the next day, then being in a rush the next morning because you don't know where anything is.

posted by Happy Dave at 12:31 AM on May 21, 2015 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Secondy/thirdy/whatever-y a cup of tea. Personally I like a green tea or herb-and-green variant, but whatever makes you feel nice is best.
posted by prismatic7 at 1:20 AM on May 21, 2015

I cycle home - that clears my head and decompresses me very well. You could stop off at the gym on your way home or do another kind of exercise if cycle commuting isn't an option.

My husband just has a bath as soon as he gets in.
posted by tinkletown at 2:21 AM on May 21, 2015

Best answer: Ride my bike home. Make tea. Change into house & garden clothes (not House & Garden clothes). Devour something. Take tea out to the garden, possibly with other people, probably with cats. See what's growing. Listen to birds. Keep the littlest kids in the garden and out of trouble, or in just enough trouble. See who's walking by. Gossip with ancient women over the garden fence.
posted by pracowity at 5:27 AM on May 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

Take train home.
Drive from train station to home.
Pull into garage
Notice shit that hasn't been put away that should have been put away by now. Make mental note to put shit away.
Enter house
Remove shoes
Hang coat
Say hello to wife
Kiss wife
Say hello to son
Attempt to get son's attention when he has his headphones in and he's on his computer
Demand he pause his game and say hello
Say hello to son
Put wallet, keys, beeper (yes... beeper) and phone on kitchen desk.
Plug in phone
Go upstairs and change
Come downstairs
Eat dinner with family
Do dishes, clean kitchen
Do something with my son... warm weather, play catch. Colder weather, watch The Simpsons or maybe The A-Team or whatever we're watching together.
Sometimes go for walk with wife
Nightly ping-pong ball fight with my son.
Pet cats, if they're around.
Play guitar for a half hour or so
Say goodnight when wife goes to bed at 9:30
Change into my pajamas and robe
Pour a glass of Oban 14
Watch TV until midnight
Go to bed
posted by bondcliff at 6:15 AM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

This doesn't signal to my brain that I'm not at work, per se, but my activities between work and bedtime have become pretty routine and scheduled out of necessity:

Drive home.
Get the mail.
Park the car in the garage.
Go in the house.
Put the mail down.
Say hello to my wife.
Say hello to my dogs.
Change out of my work clothes.
Walk the dogs.
Take my medication with dinner (as prescribed).
Eat dinner with my wife, usually while watching TV with her.
Feed the dogs and the cat, replace/refresh their water.
Read the mail. Shred any junk mail that includes personal information, otherwise throw out the junk mail. Deal with or set aside for later anything important (such as bills).
If it's Tuesday evening, take the trash and recycling out to the street for Wednesday morning collection -- change cat litter if necessary.
Do dishes, if necessary.
Do laundry, if necessary.
Read personal e-mails, check social media, et cetera.
Play with my dogs.
Do something relaxing with my wife until it's time for bed.
Refresh water bowls for the dogs and cat.
Play with my cat if she's around.
Walk the dogs.
Say good night to my wife (she usually comes upstairs to bed much later than I do).
Make the bed.
Set out sleep clothes for myself and my wife.
Get my wife's nightly medications and a glass of water set up by her night stand.
Set out my clothes for the next day in the bathroom near the shower.
Change into my sleep clothes.
Take out my contact lenses and put on my glasses.
Brush my teeth.
Climb into bed.
Set my alarm for the next morning (unless I can sleep in, e.g. tomorrow is Saturday). Check the volume on the radio for the alarm.
Plug my phone in to charge and set it on my night stand.
Set my glasses on the night stand.
posted by tckma at 8:26 AM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Sometimes when I pull up to the house I sit in my car for an extra 5 or 10 minutes and just try to blank out my mind, or let it wander, at least away from work priorities (sometimes it wanders to home priorities, like laundry or cooking, but whatever). Sometimes that little bit of quiet time just helps me shift before I walk into the house and get bombarded with everyone else's needs.
posted by vignettist at 12:28 PM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Get home, place keys, watch, badges in designated box by door, take off jewellery and shoes, put on comfy clothes, take off make up, prepare dinner or eat whatever I picked up on the way home, while away time on Internet, go to sleep.

The only crucial steps are up to take make up off. And I don't wear annoying jewellery that I notice during the day but as soon as I get in it just has to come off as does the make up.
posted by koahiatamadl at 1:01 PM on May 21, 2015

Comfy pants, comfy shoes (flip flops if it's warm, fleece-lined Crocs -- shut up, they're frigging comfortable -- if it's cold), yummy snack and/or beverage.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 1:44 PM on May 21, 2015

Best answer: A director at Google once told me their secret to detaching from work; have a minimum of one hour after you walk in the door at home where you don't look at any electronic devices.

Phone off, tablet off, laptop off, television off, for at least one hour starting *immediately* upon arrival home.
posted by talldean at 2:07 PM on May 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

I ride a motorcycle home, so my commute is my decompression, assuming I don't have a run in with some driver purposefully or accidentally endangering my life.

Then it's play clothes and off to the park with the dog to THROW FRISBEE about 100x.
posted by allkindsoftime at 2:26 PM on May 21, 2015

I juice up and drink a pound of carrots. Afterwards, no matter the actual wall-clock time, it's 4:20, then time for my one cup of coffee for the day, a dark roast decaf. Eventually, dinnertime, bath, and bed.
posted by Rash at 10:49 AM on May 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

« Older What to do about a nasty email sent to the wrong...   |   How long is it ok to take antibiotics and can you... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.