It helps to think about the transition from work to home in three stages: leaving the office, getting home and walking through the door, Ms. Yost says.
Figure out what triggers negative thoughts and feelings at each stage and either eliminate the triggers or develop new routines and rituals to get around them.
A feeling of competence at the end of the workday can ward off a bad mood, research shows.
An executive at a Washington, D.C., nonprofit deliberately arranged her schedule to evoke these feelings in herself, building a 30-minute “buffer zone” into the end of the day when she barred meetings and calls, says Michael Kahn, a Severna Park, Md., psychologist, author and executive coach.
The executive, who participated in a study Dr. Kahn conducted, used the time to wrap up important tasks and end the day on an upbeat note, he says.
Before leaving work, consider setting aside your unfinished to-do list and instead write down all your accomplishments, says Deb Levy, a Cambridge, Mass., business and life coach. Some people take a few minutes for deep breathing to relax.
Ms. Levy says a manager who participated in one of her studies envisions putting all his work concerns into a cardboard box and closing the lid.
Using public transportation can help. Just give yourself enough time to catch your bus or train without rushing. Some people build time into the evening commute to get coffee or run errands, Ms. Levy says.
Biking or walking to and from work can ease unhappiness, and taking a bus or train allows time to relax or read, according to a study last year at the University of East Anglia.