Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Ask HN: How do you unwind at the end of a day?
103 points by gmemstr on Apr 22, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 123 comments

Queue up a handful (maybe an hour or two) of YouTube videos from my subscription box. Not that it's all that different from the typical "flop on couch and veg in from of the boobtube until you pass out" but if you have a diverse subbox you almost never run out of stimulating, fresh content that does more for you than typical Netflix-style content would.

Here are some of my favourites:

- AvE: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChWv6Pn_zP0rI6lgGt3MyfA

- Cody's Lab: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCu6mSoMNzHQiBIOCkHUa2Aw

- Matthias Wandel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCckETVOT59aYw80B36aP9vw

- SV Seeker: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCj_XaV1ss-qdD-lPUtTEcXw

- B is for Build: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCl4-WBRqWA2MlxmZorKOV7w

and I just discovered this channel last night:

- Isaac Arthur: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZFipeZtQM5CKUjx6grh54g

Ooooh, these are nice. Here are mine:

Extra History: stories of historical incidents — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbBHk_zLTmY&list=PLhyKYa0YJ_... Real Engineering: mostly materials science — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niVguabIhTs&t=33s - Wendover Productions — mostly transportation - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlIdzF1_b5M Tom Scott: a bit of everything — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdmQp9M9jUo - Jay foreman: Urban planning and maps — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjuD288JlCs The Engineer Guy: Manufacturing — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYNX8y6lQMc Practical Engineering: Mostly Civil Engineering — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0olpSN6_TCc&list=PLTZM4MrZKf... 3Blue1Brown: Math, visualized to me more intuitive — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjBOesZCoqc

Extra History and Jay Foreman are new to me. Thank you!

Thanks for these but alas - the formatting!

ah drat. I forgot about needing an extra newline. Apologies :/

We have pretty similar taste.

If you don't know them, check out Alec Steele, Jimmy DiResta, Laura Kampf, Wm. Walker Co., Four Eyes.

Also this is not necessarily a channel, but if you do nothing else, check out this mini-documentary. I thought it was great.


Ah now I feel bad for leaving Jimmy and Laura out. Alec Steele is new to me.

Another few come to mind now:

- Primitive Technology: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAL3JXZSzSm8AlZyD3nQdBA

- Ishitani Furniture: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7FkqjV8SU5I8FCHXQSQe9Q

Thanks for the suggestion. I'll check it out tonight!

Ha! Just what I'm doing. I'm into cheese making so I watch videos related to that while making some new ones / flipping the stored ones.

- https://www.youtube.com/user/greeningofgavin

Ha, years ago I was at a girlfriends house while she went out to dinner with an old friend to catch up.

She called me at the end of her dinner on the way back home and said "what are you doing" and I said "Watching cheese making videos on youtube"

She didnt believe me... she came into the room, I was sitting there still watching cheese making videos and she laughed and thought it was super funny.

Yes, I was literally just binging cheese videos on youtube.

great sex ensued.

I watched a dozen cheese-making videos on YouTube earlier today... I have absolutely no intention to make cheese.

I think we might be the same person...but, you need to add "this old Tony"

Along the same lines (machining), Clickspring is my favorite: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCworsKCR-Sx6R6-BnIjS2MA (channel link)

Edit: Here is a particular video I liked: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6xovvpuMQo&list=PLZioPDnFPN...

Already subbed! We really might be the same person.

I know it sounds nuts, but I always found changing clothes made a huge difference for me.

Get home and put on a pair of shorts, t-shirt and flip flops, or at least something you would never, ever wear to work. It always made some kind of mental shift in my head.

For those of us who live alone, the process definitely stops at taking off work clothes

I was the same when I lived alone. My pants were nearly affixed to the back of the chair in my living room.

Count one childless adult couple in with this being standard.

Here is my crazy idea that I want YC to fund: a Sock Printer.

I want to come home and have a brand new pair of socks printed (woven) for me by a bot...

I looked around on the internet for "sock machine" and its derivatives - but the best I could find was one machine that was super industrial.

Nothing feels better than the first time you put on a brand new pair of socks.


Could you not just buy a months supply of new socks in advance? Seems like it would be cheaper. Also as a first adopter you'd have socks made from hard plastic resin. It would bring new meaning to the term bleeding edge

Actually, I typically replace my hoard of socks annually.

But I am just in love with the idea of a sock printer.

As wasteful as your idea sounds.. hopefully you have a plan to reuse the raw materials?.. your idea reminded me of this person that invented a sock printer and uses it to ensure new socks for the homeless


With you on the new socks. For me, nothing is better than a brand new pair of merino wool socks. Merino is so light, strong and breathable you can wear them two days running. Not cheap, but worth it for sheer comfort.

What is your opinion of Thorlo?

Thanks - Thorlo is new to me. Their page on fibres [1] is interesting, even though it doesn't mention merino it does talk about wool & silk blends. Now I want to get merino silk blend, but they're not cheap.

[1] https://www.thorlo.com/why-thorlos/fibers

Buy some you won't regret.

I was hated amongst my brothers at Christmas because I would always pick up a package and guess the contents... I was always right

Could always pick out the socks. As I got older it was always thorlo.

Best socks ever.

Buy them.

Wouldn't an easier, scalable version of this be some sort of Trunk Club but specifically for high quality socks?

It could be nice to have such printers make things really slowly. So it is like watching a plant grow.

Taking off my shoes is a key element. Even if I'm not in work, I put my shoes on so I'm ready for the day. I then can take them off and feel relaxed once the kids are in bed. It's a weird little thing I've noticed but it feels awesome in both the morning, putting them on, and taking them off in the evening.

The same applies on days I work from home. It sounds corny; but, at home, I put on a navy blue Dickies work shirt. (It gives me a pocket for my phone during long meetings.) At the end of the day, I change clothes, just as I would if I was coming from the office. (I think I actually got the idea from HN a while back.)

Sweatpants/pajama bottoms are a key element to my evening unwind.

That's funny because I work in shorts and flip flops almost daily during spring and summer.

But I agree. Changing clothes or a quick shower helps a lot.

Same here. I also take my watch off. I like having one at work and when I'm out but at home I take it off immediately.

I'm the opposite. I program/type all day and the wristband bothers me because my wrists lay on the rest, so I put my watch on as soon as I'm done with work.

(Aside: anyone have a solution to that? Or maybe a strap where it wouldn't be a problem? I have a timex weekender.)

Sports trainers have said this kind of stuff. Helps with mental preparation.

Preface this with a shower the evening is basically a new day.

but with less sun, because we cant be bothered to put on sunscreen

this, people at work won't recognize me at home.

First, spend some time getting home. Sweet spot is 30 mins. Preferably biking through nature (looking) areas. Unfortunately for me it's an hour of driving but still, nothing else to do than listen some music and think. Usually first 15 minutes I think about what I ended my Workday with but after it goes into more relaxed thoughts. By the time I reach home work is out, home is in. If you live within biking range of your work I would advice grabbing your bike instead of your car for once (maybe much easier depending on country you live in).

Next, eat. No TV, no devices, just family. Try to get my kid to eat her plate. After that go up and play around with her and put her to bed after reading her a book or two.

Finally, drop on the couch (if no sports) and watch some netflix or read a book. Have to say lately the first wins more often but for now I don't have real problems with that. I do notice that reading a book gives me a much better start the next day though. Probably because I can stay up later when watching TV. Books your eyes just fall shut at some point..

I try to keep working at home to a minimal (it happens, sometimes). I also try not to open a laptop for personal projects when my wife is next to me. Mainly because she likes to talk when I'm home :).

End of the day for me is when the kids are in bed, chores done, usually around 8pm. I sit on the couch with my wife, we put something on tv and I code.

The code sucks, I'm not some kind of uber programmer, but I find it relaxing, bizarrely. Maybe its the lack of pressure to turn in something workable and on time

My productivity varies with what's on. If its something good like westworld or GoT I shut the laptop. If its the vampire diaries I'm not looking up

My girlfriend just finished the last of the EIGHT seasons of that terrible show.

I'm glad it's over, but I'm also afraid of what she'll pick next.

Westworld is on my to-watch list, though.

there's a spin off called the originals which is even worse, currently suffering through that. and then something called riverdale.

Shit, my girlfriend knows about the originals, I forgot. I think that's next.

I haven't heard her mention riverdale. Let's hope it stays that way.

Just invent your own drinking game for it. With vampire diaries (or VD as it became known in our house) we drank when Caroline organised a party, Damon did eyebrow acting or Stefan started a sentence with "I've been alive for 120 years".

I'm sad enough just to know those names, no need to encourage it.

Hell, I'd have to watch the show!

+1 for Westworld. Legion is awesome too.

YES!! Very good show

My wife calls it "rummaging". I wander around the house putting things a way, fixing little things, folding clothes, finding things to donate/recycle, etc. Sometimes I make bread or chocolate truffles. The physicality of it all clears my head.

If I do this it really, really annoys my partner. She gets uncomfortable that she's sitting on the sofa not doing much whilst I'm pottering about.

I do heroin, open Ableton, pick up my Martin and get lost in the infinite world of modern music creation.

I'm sure that'll end well.

Of course. Most Martins are damn fine guitars.

I agree. My D40 is the best I've ever had.

I prefer Taylor myself.

It sure has some serious ups and downs.

> I do heroin

If that was a joke, it is in very poor taste.

If that was not a joke, I hope you get help.

It's amazing that you're being downvoted. Heroin takes many lives daily and for someone to nonchalantly act like it's no bigger deal than having a beer is as naive as I could possibly ever imagine anyone to be.

Edit: I guess as a disclaimer, seeing as I'm being downvoted too, I should mention I was addicted to opiates for many years

you overcame an actual heroin addiction but can't deal with people joking about it on the internet?

1. It isn't obvious — and hasn't been clarified — that was a joke.

2. Going through a harrowing experience usually toughens one up to the causing elements, sure. Being tough about X doesn't mean you should see every reference to X as a joke; quite the opposite, in fact.

one of my best friends was a heroin addict after highschool. then my ex-wife's best friend was a heroin addict as well.... I called my friend, who had successfully killed the habit (he now build super high-end guitar peddles) and asked him for advice on how to help then-wifes friend.

he said, nope - they can only help themselves.

she OD'd and died. that sucked.

however, unrelated to the sad story of ex's friend...

we are pranksters (our dads owned two competing companies and forbade us from being friends, thus we became good friends)

I took a pic of a sign from Alameda, Ca along Clement street...

The sign said:

"Tracks no longer in service"


Not sure I understood the sign prank, but I'm sorry about the friend.

It was a sign saying that the train tracks along that street were no longer in service.

A sign of heroin use is "tracks" (needle puncture marks on ones arrm or body where they mainlined heroin injections)

So I sent him the pic of the sign as an acknowledgement that he succeeded in kicking the habit of heroin use...


A band we listened to growing up, Skinny Puppy, their lead singer Ogre, wasa heroin addict... he kicked the habit, and when my friend got married, Skinny Puppy played at their wedding.

My buddy actually works for another band person we grew up listening to, from Ministry....

Is that all?

I check HN. It is an addiction. worse than weed. spend a lot of time reading through comments. Like you are doing now . Stop it , Go get some work done!

Getting work done isn't really my idea of unwinding.

I go out to my woodshop, but nothing I do there qualifies as work.

I go running. And I literally mean "go". I don't drive. I run from/to my doorstep. I don't listen to music/podcasts/etc. I don't think about anything in particular. Mostly I daydream. I don't schedule anything for after the run. No pressure to be done by a certain time. No pressure having to get ready for something else. I don't watch tv. I'm staring at a screen for eight hours every day, I don't want to stare at a screen in my spare time as well.

I just bought an Ableton Push. I plan on cracking open a beer and learning to use it after work. I figure if I'm going to entertain myself I might as well be learning too. I find making music to be both engaging and relaxing.

I find that making music (especially on a computer) is very similar to writing software in that they require both hemispheres of your brain. I love the state of flow that you get into when you're deep in a project.

Wow that looks fun. Do you need prior experience to use something like that? I would t know where to start.

Listen to my spouse and then my spouse listens to me.

Then we talk about our day or whatever.

Nothing beats friendship and companionship.

We rarely turn on the tv - maybe for superbowl or storm coverage.

You had me until Superbowl. I don't understand why people waste time watching other people throw a ball around for money, but hey its your time to waste I guess.

I'll just crawl into my downvote bomb shelter now and watch some people pretending to fight zombies, much less of a waste of time

> I don't understand why people waste time watching other people throw a ball around for money, but hey its your time to waste I guess.

I rarely enjoy football itself, but I don't understand people who can't understand (at least on an intellectual level) why it would be enjoyable. The list of things that I enjoy wasting time on is much shorter than the list of things that I don't enjoy wasting time on, and I suspect that's true for most people.

Replying to my own comment. Ok lets face it, we all waste our time, and that is essentially what this thread is about. Most pastimes can be made to sound silly, and just because I don't share your interests doesn't mean they're less valid than my own. I code apps nobody will ever use, write books that will never be published, and I have watched 11 and a half seasons of supernatural. And I'm sitting here commenting on the internet instead of doing even any of those things.

Ok. I'm going for a walk

I spent a lot of time not getting sports. And deep down I still don't care what all those millionaires do with their balls. Buy having a stake in a tense game between rivals feels awesome. Being surrounded by strangers who love the same thing you love feels awesome. And having common ground with quite a lot of people you meet is nice too. I dismissed so many things because I didn't think they were important. Granted, your followup did clarify that you don't think sports are less valid as an interest than your own things. I don't really seek out sports much, but if I get to watch a game with somebody who cares about it more, I give it my full attention and yell at the screen and/or field as needed, and it's generally a lot of fun.

I take serious issue with you acting like some authority on what is or isn't a waste of time. It's arrogant and destructive, to yourself and others.

I did take it back

It's an event in our house. The commercials. The "big deal" food we make.. The halftime. The game too... Plus I buy a box each year and lose $5 (this year I won 30!!!)

I recall my family and my spouse's family would sit down each night and watch tv. That was their unwind thing. Tv just isn't in my life.

Work out right after work to clear my mind and reenergize, as well as get a little non-work related social interaction.

Make a nice dinner, shower and get warm and clean, then work on some side programming projects in my lamp-lit bedroom (which is the best part of my night because it's completely quiet, calming atmosphere, and I get to focus on learning exactly what I want to).

Then write down my good/bad thoughts on the day in a journal, and finally finish off the night by reading a book before I go to sleep.

Being able to commute by train really helps me. Having a routine of a 20 to 40 min train ride home creates a buffer between work and home and puts some mental 'distance' between my evening and the work day.

Being result oriented Rustacean, I almost never truly unwind. Only when I panic I let myself unwind.

Maybe the best answers could be given by those who would not hang around Hacker News on a weekend.

Except it was asked on hacker news on a weekend, so OP is one of us

I drink beer and watch It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Workout > vape some weed > reddit

I think breaking a good sweat is a huge reset button if you really need to unwind.

If you are really feeling stressed at the end of the day, maybe there are some small tweaks about the shape of your day that can help. One that I can enthusiastically suggest: naps.

I always have a hard time going to sleep at a consistent time; it's much easier for me to stay up a couple of hours later than it is to go to bed even a half hour earlier. The two easiest ways for me to lose track of time and end up amped up at bedtime are programming and gaming, so I set an alarm 2 hours before bedtime to remind myself to stop either of those activities for the night. Then I veg out watching something stupid on Netflix or reading. It works but is definitely frustrating that I have to dedicate such a big chunk of time to winding down.

I have the same issue if I'm working a "normal" person's day, but not so much if I can wake later in the day (10-noon).

The poster mentioning the tea was on track - it doesn't have to be tea, just get a routine at night, starting half an hour or something before bed. It can be showering or whatever, just something relaxing. Boring television shows - nothing that gets you too interested - after that until you sleep. Or reading or whatever, so long as it doesn't engross you.

Also helpful is to keep some sleep hygeine - not sleeping in much on weekends. It sucks doing this, but it does produce results.

Same here actually, except a bit later if I'm not waking up to an alarm, I will drift towards waking up at 1-2pm and don't have as much trouble getting to sleep. Even then I can easily make myself stay up later than usual, and would take advantage of that fact to "flip" my schedule when needed over the course of a week by just going to bed "later" and getting up "later" every day until it was early instead of late. Good enough for making it to some important early as hell meeting or flight or whatever, but my schedule would quickly fall forward back to my normal preferred time.

Unfortunately for me, just 30 minutes or pre sleep routine isn't really enough, any time I allow myself to encroach on that 2 hour wind down period too much, I have a much harder time falling asleep. Things like chamomile tea and melatonin do help with falling asleep, but not with staying asleep, if I use them to fall asleep early I'll just wake back up 20 minutes later. Ambien works wonders but I try to only use it when I'm really desperate, a few times a year.

Oh, I'd never go without an alarm if I'm expected to be awake before noon or 1pm. Without an alarm, I generally wake up between 11 and 1, depending on time of year.

I also have a weird quirk of occasionaly sleeping through alarm clocks and phone calls, which increases the earlier I have to be at work. I quit one job when I was younger because I couldn't physically handle the work hours: They started at 5am. Midnights? Yeah, those are glorious, though 2nd shift tends to be my favorite.

Your experience with Ambien mirrors my experience with melatonin. It works for me, but I have to allow extra time to sleep.I wake rested but groggier than normal.

Try a drinking a chamomile tea 30mins before bedtime.

Listen to Audible and get lost in a good story. Never self help (for the purposes of the unwind - I do that during day or weekend) as it gives me anxiet so aim for good sci fi or fantasy.

I think this is a habit I might pick up. I typically play music and tinker in my woodshop, but some great sci-fi would be a fantastic substitute for the music.


3 times a week I go to the local gym and pick up heavy things. If I haven't been in a while (skip more than 2 workouts) my sleeping suffers, so it is good motivation. So usually 2 of these fall during the week.

On these days I'll typically also do stuff like laundry and/or reading sort-of-work related stuff; usually stuff that makes me a better engineer/mathematician/coder in one of the problem domains I'm interested in.

On Fridays I try to let loose a bit, either eat out somewhere nice or drink lots of good beer, with a mix of friends and colleagues.

Depending on weather I try to mix in other sports: windy means i can go sailing with a friend, sunny but cool is good for climbing outdoors, raining is good for climbing indoors. I try to do a social sport like this at least once a week, but that doesn't always work out.

I was never sporty in school, and picking it up towards the end of university has changed my self confidence, posture, strength/fitness and general feelings of self reliance a huge amount for the better.

I still wouldn't call myself fit, but i can run a 10k (with a lot of self-hate in the second half) and not die. Mostly I'm just happy to be having fun and making constant improvements to myself.

Firearms, Motorcycles and Drugs. Not concurrently.

You people who spend all day on the pc, just to go home and spend your free time there too confuse me.

Practice guitar and read a book usually, or go to the gym and work out. Incredible what you can do with a healthy work-life balance.

Let my thoughts randomize, about 2 hours before going to sleep. It's the only way to attain the capability of falling asleep...

I fall asleep by randomizing my thoughts but it only takes a couple of minutes

I've never heard anyone else mention this - thanks for making me aware of it!

Something that sometimes works for me is to imagine something that's emotionally flat, but complicated enough that it pushes other thoughts out and it's not boring. An example might be: I imagine myself building a model train in my backyard. I'll kind of 'drift down' to thinking about how to set up, say, the grain dispenser, then how to paint it, then how the colors work together, etc, etc. The next night it's something different.

What the heck is randomizing your thoughts?

Sometimes I just imagine I'm slowly tuning a radio, catching snippets of conversations as a hop frequencies. Rarely a complete sentence. When you're not actively trying to imagine things your subconscious seems to take over and pretty soon after it's goodnight from me

Hmm thanks! Never heard of it before, but sounds like something I need to try.

In my case it's more like put on nice music, imagine yourself into a random world and wander around.

I do the same. I've never seen anyone else talking about it. Whereas it seems like it should be a known ancient technique on how to fall asleep really fast.

Once kids are in bed, it's Overwatch time.

Workout at the gym, followed by dinner and then some YouTube chill or some coding.

weed of course

I drink wine and cry.

Draw a really hot bath, just shy of the hottest temp I can tolerate, and crawl in the tub and sit back and read for a while. Sometimes accompanied by a cup of coffee or a bottle of Coke Zero.

Other than that, lying in bed watching Netflix/Hulu/Prime, or reading.

A few stiff drinks.

Just kidding.

YouTube. I thought it was crazy for Google to buy it for $1E9, but now I think it was wise.

I go to the gym, if time allows. If time also allows, I like taking a salt bath. It's really calming. I usually catch up on my Feedly during then. I also like taking long bike rides, but travelling every week has made that impossible.

Take a shower. Meditate.

I take a long bike ride out of the city and back, take a shower, and have a bowl of soup while I chat with friends or watch videos/read/play games.

- Change clothes - Cook and eat dinner - Catch up on my YouTube subscriptions - Catch up on my Reddit subscriptions - Watch something on Metflix - Sleep

I don't. Putting kids to bed. Chores. Sleep.

Instead I unwind at lunchtime. Walk through the city or in parks. Go to a coffee shop and read a newspaper alone.

Depends on the day, and the level of stress, but I either end the day with marijuana, a bike ride, or an audiobook.

Exercise, Netflix, alcohol, drugs. In that order. Usually I'm asleep around the Netflix / alcohol stages.

Hang out at the city library until it closes, then go home and read or watch netflix.

Read, usually a book (and not on a screen)

Play music

Take a walk

I enjoy drinking a cold beer, and playing the Jaw Harp. Very relaxing, indeed.

Overflow of good food, drinks, friends galore...and alone duo time lol

Sleep. There is no better way for me to unwind.

Red wine, trance music, and mind-blowing sex.

Minecraft, Factorio, and Netflix

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact