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How to switch off after having worked all evening
Thread poster: Sonja Allen

Sonja Allen  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:44
Member (2005)
English to German
+ ...
Jan 25, 2007

Just recently I have been working late again (till 11pm or midnight) to meet a deadline and I always find it very hard on these occassions to switch off afterwards and finally get some sleep. My mind somehow keeps on racing around the translation issues I had. As it is too late at this time of night to go for a walk or run to clear my head, I am unable to find a solution that works. Reading doesn't really help me as I just can't concentrate on it and TV just irritates me after a long day working. Therefore, I wondered what you do in this case? Or do you never work late?


PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:44
English to Polish
+ ...
A night cap Jan 25, 2007

This may be a stereotypical suggestion, but maybe a small drink would help you unwind.
It works for me (sometimes).
If you're not inclined to drink, you can go out for a 10 minute walk - just to the corner and back.

Pawel Skalinski

[Edited at 2007-01-25 16:39]


M Helena Ayala
United States
Local time: 15:44
English to Spanish
+ ...
A shower Jan 25, 2007

A long, hot shower or a nice bubble bath works wonders for me.


Rosa Diez Tagarro  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:44
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
+ ...
a novel + yoga exercises/meditation + milk Jan 25, 2007

I don't drink, but a glass of milk helps me sleep better every night.icon_wink.gif

I work till late quite often (sometimes till one or two in the morning) and I have found that having my yoga exercises in the morning and a few minutes of meditation/relaxation before going to bed is a superb combination.

That said, I never try to sleep just "direct from the translation", I always read for a while, even if it is for a few minutes (pity it does not work for you).

Before I started with this "regime" a couple of years ago, I had spent many nights translating in my dreams, only to find my work had not progressed at all when checking it in the morning!icon_smile.gif

I find this is one of the issues you have to deal with when you are a freelancer, and it is really an important one. I guess every person has her/his own way of relaxing, maybe you will need to try several before you find the one that works for you.

Best of luck,



Marie-Céline GEORG  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:44
German to French
+ ...
handwork or a shower Jan 25, 2007

Have you tried doing some cross-stitch or knitting? I find these activities very relaxing because your mental activity is quite limited and basic : count stitches, 1 knit, 1 purl, etc.
I find knitting more practical than cross-stitch because you have less material around.

Another thing I can suggest is to have a hot shower. It relaxes your muscles and after that you feel warm and sleepy, the perfect state of mind!

I hope this helps you!
Best regards



Niina Lahokoski  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:44
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
Stretching and relaxing Jan 25, 2007

How about some stretching excercises?


Amy Duncan (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:44
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Dreaming translations! Jan 25, 2007

I find that even if I do manage to get to sleep, I actually see pages of the translation I was working on passing before my eyes in my dreams, or even ProZ pages!

I've found tai chi helpful, or as others have suggested, a shower.

Good luck!



Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:44
Jan 25, 2007

A shower is good! Works for me.
Luckily, we also have a jacuzzi bathicon_biggrin.gif

I also find putting a few drops of lavender in an oil burner is very soothing. Do you know any head massage techniques, that could help?


Erika Cenefels (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:44
German to French
+ ...
fresh air, moving, tea or milk, jazz, phone, writing... Jan 25, 2007

Dear Sonja,

my computer is always on till late, even if I'm not translating (jobs can come in while I'm writing mails to friends, watching videos, or whatever, so I keep checking, 'just in case').

I do go out for a walk late at night sometimes because I know I really need it. Otherwise, depending on my mood, I exercise a little bit, have a shower, drink a 'good night' tea or milk, listen to relaxing music.

If you have friends who work at night too or live in another time zone, why not give them a call? This is good to disconnect since it breaks silence and isolation.

I also write stuff down in my 'journal' from time to time. It really helps getting things out of your head. + Writing on paper, with a pen, feels really nice after a day spent in front of a computer...

Last but not least, I have two flatmates who happen to go to bed quite late too and it does wonders to just talk with them for a minute.

That's all I can think of right now. Hope this helps.icon_wink.gif



Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:44
German to English
+ ...
A couple of glasses of red wine and a shower Jan 25, 2007

Rosa Diez Tagarro wrote:

Before I started with this "regime" a couple of years ago, I had spent many nights translating in my dreams, only to find my work had not progressed at all when checking it in the morning!icon_smile.gif

That started happening to me too (last time was this morning).

When it first happened, I told a colleague who has been in the FL business much longer. His loud and laughing response was "Welcome on board!"

Do we need some kind of plugin, so that we can continue when asleep. Or learn to talk in our sleep and use Dragon?

Seriously though, I reckon all of the above suggestions are fine, depending on preference.

Ideally something that will either ease or better still bully your brain into switching over to standby.

Try entering the words "sleep" or "dreams" into the forum search - you'll find a lot of similar cases.

Sleep well and snore loudlyicon_wink.gif

[Edited at 2007-01-25 17:44]


Ania Grajek  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:44
German to Polish
+ ...
one word only :) Jan 25, 2007

Sonja Allen wrote:
Therefore, I wondered what you do in this case? Or do you never work late?




Andrea Brumma
Local time: 00:44
English to German
+ ...
Get worries off your mind Jan 25, 2007

I have developed some rituals before going to bed after a long working day/night. When I finished the project, I check that my e-mail was really sent and that I really attached the project. If I have to continue the next day, I do a backup of my work. That takes 2 big worries off my mind. Then I make a list of the things I will have to do the next day in order of priority and clean my desk. This stops me worrying about important things I could forget the next day, and I will not start the next day at a messy desk. Sometimes I even prepare coffee for the next morning. Then I take a shower and imagine that I am "washing off" the work. A hot footbath or massaging footbath works, too. A massage (head, shoulders, feet) is always great. In summer, I like going for a walk, in winter, I rather have a hot milk, tea or a glass of wine. Caressing my guinea pigs is very relaxing, too. I also like reading to disconnect, but often it keeps me awake. In this case, I read some boring articles in the newspaper when in bed. If I still cannot sleep, I make plans for the weekend or some other day I will not have to work or think of a little "reward" for myself for all the effort.



Brandis (X)
Local time: 00:44
English to German
+ ...
a headache tablet + Rose wine ja Jan 25, 2007

and nice classical concerts , vast green salads dipped in olive oil and some good baguette ease my mind off. Best Brandis

[Edited at 2007-01-25 19:14]

[Edited at 2007-01-25 19:38]


Momoka (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:44
Japanese to Spanish
+ ...
Housework Jan 25, 2007

I don't know how much housework you can do after finishing your working day, but it helps me anytime my head is just too tired and needs some rest.
Basically I try to work on my translations first and leave housework for noon (I do some cleaning and a couple of simple chores after lunch) , evening (dinner!) and night (do the dishes, tidy the room, and some other stuff). My head has a break while my body works.
Of course, I need to concentrate on what I'm doing, since it's just too easy to think of work.
Not exactly your case, but this works for me.
Hope you find what works for you!


Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:44
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Great question Jan 26, 2007

My antidotes: going out on a long run; meeting up with friends, going to bed early; having a brewskie/glass of Spanish red wine; going out to the movies; playing a computer game.

Have fun!

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