What to Do After Work to Make Your 9-5 More Bearable

We aren’t all fortunate enough to have jobs that leave us feeling fulfilled and satisfied. And, even if you’re one of the lucky ones,  being an employee is still hard work—it’s called a “job” for a reason, after all. What you do after work can help make your nine to five job easier to handle.

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Leaving the office after eight hours of honest work can leave you feeling drained. You make your way to the parking lot or down to the subway shortly after 5:00 p.m. to head home and do–what? Eat dinner in front of the television? Scroll through your emails, even though you left the office?

While an occasional night of takeout and television is a nice opportunity to relax, you deserve to get out of the house and have some fun. Focus on activities you can do after work that will re-inspire you so you’re ready to return to the office again in a mere 15 hours.

Here are five things to incorporate into your after-work routine. They may not transform your current position into your dream job. But, they’ll at least make your nine to five a little more tolerable.

1. Socialize

Sure, you chat with your co-workers throughout the day. Still, by the time 5:00 p.m. hits, you may want to talk about more than the temperamental copy machine or your boss’ new haircut.

Resist the temptation to head home and hide out alone in your living room. Instead, get out there, socialize, and have some fun! Need some ideas?

  • Grab an appetizer and a drink with a friend
  • Catch that movie you’ve been meaning to see
  • Head out with your family for a picnic at the local park
  • Join a Meetup group for something that interests you

Whatever you want to do is up to you. The key is to enjoy your time out of the office. That way you’re living for more than your job.

2. Get Moving

If you work in an office, you likely spend all day sitting in a cramped workspace. So, why would you want to head home after work only to do more sitting around?

Instead, make a plan to escape the office after work and burn off some energy.

  • Go for a walk with a friend
  • Take a yoga class
  • Crank some music and dance around your house

Pick any activity that appeals to you. The point is to get up and get moving. The exercise will lift your spirits and ease some tension and stiffness in your sore muscles.

3. Unplug

You may walk out of your office at 5:00 p.m. But how often do you actually leave work at work? An online survey found that 87 percent of U.S. workers look at emails after work. It’s pretty much become the norm.

Unfortunately, letting work seep into your off hours means you never give yourself adequate time to disconnect, unwind, and recharge.

The solution? Challenge yourself to completely unplug from “work mode” once you get home.

  • Turn off your work phone
  • Silence work notifications
  • Put your electronics somewhere off limits

Chances are, you’ll have a better and more productive evening, and you’ll feel much more refreshed when you wake up. And, waking up with a positive attitude is sure to make your workday at least a little better.

4. Pursue a Passion

Even if you love your job, you likely still have some interests outside of the confines of your office. Your passions might not translate into realistic career paths, but hobbies are a great way to unwind after work.

Getting wrapped up in your tasks, to-dos, and those everyday things that need to get done is all too easy. Sometimes you drop your other interests all together.

Sticking with your passion is sure to help you enjoy your time after work. Make time in your schedule each day that you can use to rediscover your hobby.

  • Set up a room where you can paint or practice music
  • Begin training for that marathon
  • Head out and snap some photos.

Do what you love, and everything will seem a little brighter.

5. Research

Unfortunately, if you hate your job, no evening routine will improve your current situation. There comes a time when you need to start thinking about your exit plan.

Use your time after work to do some research and determine what next step or career path is best suited for you. Once you have an end goal in mind, start working towards it.

  • Polish up your resume
  • Begin applying to jobs
  • Set up informational interviews
  • Tell your network you’re open to new opportunities=

Sure, you’ll still have to endure each day at the office until you find something new. But, the idea of moving on to something better soon can help to carry you through.

There’s no denying that work takes up a big chunk of your life—but your job doesn’t need to be all-consuming. There are plenty of things you can do after work to make your days in the office more bearable. Give these tips a try, and you might find yourself strolling into the office with a smile on your face each morning!

Written by

Kat is a Wisconsin-based freelance writer covering topics related to careers, self-development, and entrepreneurship. Her byline has appeared in numerous outlets and publications, including Forbes, Fast Company, The Muse, QuickBooks, Business Insider, and more. Find out more about her on her website, or connect with her on Twitter.

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