The other day, I got up and immediately felt cranky. No idea why. I was snapping at my family members, getting irritated by every little mess around the house and feeling daunted by a totally do-able to-do list.
I can tell you from experience that carrying on that way ensures your day will only get worse. And in pandemic life, there seem to be more cranky days than usual.
So, while it might not be easy to snap out of it, it’s always worth a try.
1. Eat something
Ok, this may seem super obvious, but could the problem be that you’re just hangry? As you probably know, low blood sugar can cause all sorts of bad moods. Take a breath and have a handful of almonds or an apple and then reassess.
2. Move your body
Sometimes we just need to not focus on all the things that are weighing on our minds. And one of the best ways to do that is to get out of your head by focusing on physical movement. It doesn’t have to be a full-on workout. You can take a walk, dance to a song or even just do some stretching.
3. Talk or write it out
There’s value in venting. If you can’t or don’t want to talk about what’s bothering you, consider picking up a pen and just getting out all your annoyance without fear of judgement.
4. Focus on gratitude
Zoom out and focus on the big picture. In your head or in a journal, challenge yourself to list at least 3-5 things you’re grateful for in that moment. Chances are, reminding yourself of all that you have will put the annoying stuff into perspective.
5. Hug it out
I realize this isn’t possible for everyone right now because of the pandemic, but if you live with friends or family members, ask for a hug or a cuddle when you’re upset. Failing that, petting your dog or cat can even give you some much-needed oxytocin and dopamine.
6. Go outside
Never underestimate the calming impact of breathing fresh air, taking in sunshine and looking at trees. Even if it’s just for 5 minutes, it can reset your mood.
7. Take a shower or bath
If you can, really take your time. Set the scene to make it a relaxing experience – candles, your best products, music, etc. It can be a total gamechanger.
Cook something that requires your full attention. Following a recipe and focusing on what’s right in front of you can be just the distraction you need to snap out of your bad mood.
If you find solace in creativity, do some doodling, knitting, painting, etc. next time you get grumpy.
No, you don’t have to take out the yoga mat and say, “Om.” It works equally well to sit on a chair or even lay down in bed for a few minutes, close your eyes, take deep breaths and focus on the present moment.
11. Listen to music
It’s hard to be cranky when you’re listening to music you love. Consider making yourself a bad mood playlist of songs that lift you up.
12. Remember that feelings aren’t facts
This doesn’t mean that your feelings aren’t valid, but rather that they’re just one piece of the picture. Try to take a moment to assess what you’re feeling, what caused it and if you’re sure it’s true.
For example, maybe your partner didn’t do a chore and you feel like that means they don’t care, and that’s why you’re upset. Remembering that that feeling might not be a fact can help you adjust your perception.
Have you ever been in the middle of an argument and the other person did or said something silly to make you laugh? It tends to diffuse the anger right away. Next time you’re in a foul mood, pull up a funny video or watch a sitcom you love to counteract the negative feelings.
14. Use the “One year” test
When all else fails, ask yourself this: “Will I remember this in a year?” If the answer is, “No” then it may help you to turn your mood around.
Certainly, some of these will not work for everyone. But hopefully you found a few options you can try next time you wake up on the wrong side of the bed.