Sometimes it’s just a run-of-the-mill bad day…nothing is going right, and you can feel the frustration building up inside of you. Other days it’s worse than that and you wonder if you’re going to survive. There are those of us that can bounce back quickly…and then there are those of us that can end up dragging a bad mood around with us for several days turning it into the equivalent of a bad tequila hangover. I’m the latter…
The danger of remaining in a bad mood for too long is that it can become addicting. Yes, the comfort of discord can actually become a thing. We get used to feeling ill to the point where feeling better or happy becomes uncomfortably foreign, therefore it is vital that we learn another way of being.
Below are the steps that I now use to transform my mood when I get into one. I take these self-care steps IMMEDIATELY because I’m the kind of personality that can get into and stay in my own head and feelings for too long if I’m not proactive about changing it.
In the routine that employ, which I’m about to share…I’m hoping that something I practice may work for you as well.
= Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.
After I started to practice this, I found that this acronym that may stem from Alcoholics Anonymous. This makes total sense because when we get triggered into a mood, we often run to the first comfort thing that we think that we need. Addicts will naturally turn to alcohol or drugs, but think how often we run to sugar, zoning out, shopping, binging. That’s what makes this acronym so perfect.
This is meant to be an immediate check in when we realize that things are starting to spin out of control. Are the reactions of sadness, pity, anger etc have anything to do with being hungry? Being angry subconsciously at someone? Or just angry in general? Are you lonely and yearning for a connection to a community supportive individuals? Or are you tired, and have you been neglecting the most basic of self-care?
Eating whole and healthful foods is paramount to changing a bad day. Sugar, nicotine, alcohol and processed foods can alter our chemistry. Take this advice from a person who reaches for skittles when she is stressed, the soothing relief is very temporary and usually met with a crash shortly after.
When it comes to anger, I take a piece of paper and write it all out. It sometimes looks just like the ranting’s of a school child, but I don’t care. The point is to get it up and out. From there I usually shred it.
Admittedly I’m rarely lonely with a husband and a 5 year old, plus I genuinely enjoy my own company; but when loneliness is a factor, I know that I need to reach out to someone. (Use discretion here. You want to reach out to someone who isn’t going to bring you down, revel in your misery, or enable any bad habits. Toxic people often come in cleaver disguises.
Lastly, when it comes to tired – and who isn’t these days – I make it a point to go to bed early. Your body and mind cannot repair it’s self when you don’t sleep. We forget just how restorative the process of sleep and how it’s needed for all of the magic to happen.
After I H.A.L.T….
…I take some sort of action. I start to look for things that are within my control to change. Our reactions is always a good start. This may mean that I may keep interactions to a minimum and reschedule plans to give myself some “figure it out” room. I also shut down all social media. I don’t check it, I don’t look at it, and I unsubscribe to all notifications for a period of time.
After I take action…
…I hit the gym. Physical activity produces a chemical change in your body that is practically instantaneous, and will last several hours after you’re done. A 5 minute warm up on the bike, followed by 20 squats with some weights, followed by 30 super stomach sets, followed by a 6 minute sprint/jog interval, followed by 20 butterflies and then a 10 minute cool down will cure all ills. Put your ear buds in and listen to “Till I Collapse” by Eminem and get it. Trust me.
After the gym…
…I clean something. When I was little and I became upset over one thing or another, I would go and straighten up my stuffed animal collection. As a teenager, I would thoroughly clean out and color code my closet. This habit has never left me. When things seem out of control, restoring balance to your surroundings is key. When all of the laundry is done and the dishes put away, a clean and clear space can help you sort out the rest of life because you physically just put things back together. Your subconscious now knows that you are able to mentally and spiritually do the same. Changing the world can begin with emptying the dishwasher.
After I clean something…
…I get into nature. This may mean a walk to a park with my family, or hanging out with my horses after I turn them out into their pasture for the evening. There is science to support the way that nature’s energy can re-set our biological rhythm, and it should be taken seriously.
After I get into nature…
…I get some personal time, and I feed my brain. I began to realize that the entire universe will not stop nor crumble if I take some time away to journal and read, or soak in a hot tub with Epsom salt. I am not responsible for everyone and everything even though that is how I sometimes feel. Though all of the responsibility that I do have will not get the attention to detail that it deserves if I am not at my highest and best.
After personal time…
…I get back to work. I listen to a podcast. Or listen to TedTalks while I write. I continue on with my self-development reading list, and I re-read Managing Oneself by Peter F. Drucker from Harvard Business Review. The point is for me to get back into the business of living. For me reading or listening to the work of others who inspire me and whom I admire works for me. I gravitate to those people who seem to have the understanding that life is joyful while accomplishing astonishing achievements, because it is a known fact that you become most like that which, and who, you associate yourself with.
My goal with all of the above is to get back into the flow of life, only this time on my terms with the attitude and reactions that I deem conducive to a productive and positive living experience.
If all of the above sounds a lot like self care to you, then you would be on point. Many times feeling badly is just an internal indicator that you’ve put yourself off for way too long. When it isn’t that and your mood is a result of an outside influence, then that’s all the more reason for phenomenal self-care.
Bad moods come with the territory of living life. Have the bad mood or the bad day, feel all of the feelings, emotions and sensations so that you can learn from it if that’s what you are being called to do. But after that, employ some or all of my tips and get the hell out of there!