Why I Always Spend 20 Minutes In The Bathroom When I Get Home

published Jul 25, 2019
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This is not my *exact* bathroom, but mine has the same layout, fixtures, and tilework, just a few floors down. Cozy, right?

I’m a classic extrovert. I love people, I love talking, and I love the rush of energy I get after a good social interaction. But when I get home from a day of work or errands or activities? I don’t want to say a word.

I live by myself in a studio apartment now, but for years, I had roommates (yes, in this same small studio apartment). Sharing a compact room for eating, watching TV, and sleeping was great for us, but when I came home, I was desperate to carve out a little no-talking spot where I could just decompress, space out, read, whatever.

So I went to the bathroom.

OK yes, sometimes I actually did the usual things that happen in a bathroom, but a lot of the time, I would come home, go straight to the bathroom, and just sit on the toilet, lid down, for a good 15 to 20 minutes. I’d read whatever articles I’d saved during the day, respond to some dormant text messages, or just… stare. And you know what? It was great.

I came to look forward to my little quiet time—a moment where I could transition to my home state, where I could be a little more relaxed and carefree. My bathroom is cool (temperature-wise, which is a miracle during the summer), has fun vintage-newspaper-ad wallpaper, and it just feels comforting to be in a small, confined space of my choosing after spending whole days in New York City, a place filled with small spaces mostly not of my choosing. Maybe my roommates wondered what exactly was going on in the bathroom for nearly a half-hour, but I think they understood that I was just adjusting.

Or maybe they understood that it’s not that weird of a habit. Like a lot of people, I was a big reader as a kid. I was always toting a book around (usually a hand-me-down copy of “The Babysitter’s Club”), but with three sisters there wasn’t a lot of alone time to read. So naturally, I’d read in the bathroom—and because I didn’t realize that was a normal thing to do, I’d sheepishly stuff my book in the cabinet under the sink when I was done. Also naturally, I’d forget where I’d left my dang book until I wanted a little time to read again. Turns out, my little bathroom alone time I’ve created as an adult is a funny throwback to my reading sessions as a kid.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

I haven’t lived with anyone since 2014, but I’ve held onto my coming-home ritual. It’s such a habit for me at this point that when I come home with a friend or family member in tow, I have to remind myself to not disappear for 20 minutes while they sit on the couch and wonder if I’ve come down with food poisoning.

As Apartment Therapy’s managing editor (hi! I’m still somewhat new), I like asking other people here what their little coming-home rituals are. Here are some great ones:

“I take off my street clothes (I don’t like wearing them in my apartment), and then I sit alone and don’t speak for a while and my husband cooks.” —Laura Schocker, Editor in Chief

“I always wash my hands as soon as I get home.” —Liz Steelman, Real Estate Editor

“The first thing I do is drink a glass of water.” —Emma Glubiak, Social Media Editor

“I get Stanley, my dog, to do a very cute howl noise, which means I really have to rile him up.” —Adrienne Breaux, House Tour Editor

“I kiss my baby. And then the cats.” —Annie Carroll, Head of Studios

“I sit for 10 minutes and do nothing. And then I meditate and then plan outside life.” —Yasmin Lashley, Affiliate and Commerce Manager

What’s the first thing you do when you get home? Tell us about your coming-home ritual in the comments!