Seven startup leaders share their secrets for unwinding

Many of us have a morning routine to help us launch into the day and arrive at our desks feeling jazzed. Common favorites: coffee, cold-pressed juice, podcasts on the train, or hitting the gym before your body has time to say no. And more coffee.

But an important part of starting a new day and being productive at work is often overlooked, because it happens the night before. What you do to relax and recharge when you’re winding down is arguably just as important as what you do to have a productive day.

When you make time to relax during your off hours, you’re taking good care of your most important business asset. Read on to learn how startup leaders make after-work R&R part of their productive lifestyles.

Timothy George, founder of eLo Lip Care

“After a long day at the office I enjoy hitting the gym,” says the WeWork Wall Street member. “Not only am I improving my health, it is the only place I actually feel comfortable turning off my phone. No emails and no social media, just the occasional selfie. It’s the best. Being able to take these moments for myself is imperative to the success of my brand.”

Neil Parikh, cofounder of Casper

“When I’m not working on Casper stuff, I’m usually helping on projects with my non-profit, WaterWalla, and spending time with friends and family. I’ve also really been enjoying the long reads from the New Yorker and Wired lately. Of course, when it comes to unwinding and recharging the batteries, there’s nothing better than a perfect night of sleep.”

Carolyn Granieri, founder of Agility Talent

“My day consists of interviewing job seekers every day, all day long,” says the WeWork 42nd Street member. “I get pretty wiped out from a full day of ‘being on’ so the last thing I want to do is talk… to anyone. I start to unwind with my mile walk home blasting some ‘evening commute’ Spotify. I stop by Whole Foods to pick up some healthy food to cook with my boyfriend. We split a bottle of wine and throw on some mindless hilarious TV; Portlandia is our new guilty pleasure. We then regretfully Seamless some Insomnia Cookies.”

Maxwell Ryan, founder of ApartmentTherapy

“Since moving to Brooklyn, I bike home each day (even in the winter), and that’s really become a great time to clear my head. When I get home I go right into sitting down with my nine-year-old daughter. Part of my unwinding is getting into her world, hearing about her day, talking about guinea pigs, and cooking dinner. We read every night before bed. I love that time. After all that, I try to stay away from the computer as much as possible, do chores around the house, and then read before bed. The reading my own thing is really important.”

David Pezzola, founder of Icarus Investment Group

“Once a week my girlfriend and I go out for an Omakase-style sushi dinner, and this is the ultimate wind down for me,” says the WeWork 42nd Street member. “You are literally not even allowed to look at a menu or make decisions. You just eat what the chef prepares until you are full and drink amazing cold sake until you are ready to call it a night.”

“Generally speaking, I am a regular at something called TheGetDown which is every few weeks on Thursday,” said the WeWork 42nd Street member.

“Think Burning Man plus an amazing DJ named Tasha Blank plus lots of interpretive dancing and outfits. It’s the best de-stresser to let loose and dance like no ones watching.”

Eben Bayer, founder of Ecovative Design

“My favorite way to unwind from doing my office job is some form of physical activity. Usually this means running the chain saw to clear trees and splitting wood, running, hiking, or working on some other farm project. I also really enjoy creating things and getting into that state of flow working with my hands. This ranges from construction, plumbing, mechanical or electrical work, depending on the project at hand. Finally, if the weather is right, nothing beats a game of outdoor table tennis with my wife.”

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