This is probably news to exactly no one, but working kind of sucks. Even those of us lucky enough to have landed what we would call a “dream job” will attest to the fact that working is still work, no matter what. Anyone who says otherwise is an alien or an aspiring Instagram influencer and we recommend breaking up with them. But when work-induced misery starts to impact your sex life, that’s where we draw the line.
Here are 7 ways to pull it back:
1. Don’t bring work home
Everyone says it, but we really mean it. The best way to maintain healthy boundaries is to not bring work home. And that doesn’t just mean literally not bringing home your work laptop. It also means turning off the notifications on your phone during your off hours (if you can) so that you don’t feel compelled to respond to emails that probably aren’t even that important anyway. This will give you the time and the mental space to focus on other things, including sex.
2. If you do bring work home, don’t work in bed
Okay, because we live in reality, we know that sometimes you have no choice but to bring work home. And some people’s homes are their workplaces. But at the very least, don’t bring your work into bed. It’s as bad for your sleep as it is for your sex life. You need to send your brain the clear message that the bed is for sleeping and having sex. Period! That way when you get in bed, you’re not too triggered to relax.
3. Talk about your day and then move on
Processing is good, and supporting each other is good. So are boundaries. Try only talking about work over dinner and then moving on, or only talking about it in the first half hour of being home. This will help you to be present when you’re at home, which will make it easier for you to do home things like getting it on. Because it’s really hard to get in the mood while thinking about that obnoxious thing Karen said to you.
4. Have a transition-to-home routine
Giving yourself time and space to unwind and transition is important. Whether that’s watching Friends, taking a shower, taking a nap, going to the gym, or eating a snack standing up in the kitchen, do what you need to do to get into a non-work frame of mind.
5. Plan dates
This is important whether or not work is interfering with your sex life. It’s so easy to fall into a routine where you just do the same thing every night and before you know it, you haven’t seen your partner not in pajamas in a month. Plan dates. They don’t have to be extravagant, they just have to involve doing something outside the norm. And don’t talk about work (or for that matter anything else that’s stressing you out). Focusing on having fun together, even just for a few hours, can do wonders.
6. Find healthy ways to cope
Figure out what helps you blow off steam and reduce work-related stress. That could be drinks with friends, yoga, journaling—whatever helps you process and move on. Meanwhile, finding meaning in other areas of life can take the pressure off your job to fulfill you in every way. And that means when things aren’t so hot at work, your life doesn’t feel like it’s falling apart.
7. Start looking for a new job
Sometimes the best thing you can do in a tough situation is leave that situation. If you’ve reached the point where your misery at/about work is overwhelming you, or if you’re being abused in any way (yes, gaslighting in the workplace is very, very real), it may just be time to move on. At the very least, looking for something new can remind you that you have options and help you feel less trapped. Also, I-just-quit-my-shitty-job sex is the best sex.
P.S. We read the news so you don’t have to. Check out our roundup of our fave articles about sexual health and birth control from the last month.