Sometimes we find ourselves in a bad mood. We may or may not know what caused this bad mood but we know we need to break out of it.
Typically, my bad moods are caused by lack of sleep, feeling overwhelmed with housework, bad weather (totally in my control, right?!), and when the kids Just.Won’t.Stop.Fighting (for the love of all that is holy…!). I don’t actually like being in a bad mood. It makes me turn into Mrs. Crabby Pants and she is not someone even I want to be around.
So how do we break that bad mood from being Mrs. Crabby Pants and back into imperfect, but better, selves? Here are my 6 easy ways to break a bad mood.
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1. Break Out of a Bad Mood When Sleep Deprived
My kids are definitely not little babies anymore but they don’t all sleep through the night every night. It is rare but I couldn’t sleep the other night. A combination of a late cup of caffeinated coffee, and a lot of exciting things on my mind,kept me laying awake in bed until almost midnight. When I finally fell asleep, Willa woke up at 1:45 am from a bad dream and, of course, I couldn’t go back to sleep right away after I got her back in bed.Then,Colvin was awake for the day at 5:45am,on the weekend!(insert eye roll)
When I’m that tired, I tend to be Mrs. Crabby Pants, big time! I have a hard time being patient, especially when I haven’t had enough coffee (days like this there is never enough coffee), I am expecting my husband and my kids to read my mind, and I just want to take a freaking nap!
Here is how I managed to get through the day:
- I kept my mouth shut when I really felt like being sassy. My husband should be able to read my mind after being together this long, right? (yes, I’m being sarcastic)
- I took a couple of breaths before answering things that annoyed the heck out of me (listening to, “Mom, mom, mom,” repeated 538 times in 10 seconds)
- I did try to take a little snooze in the recliner while Colvin was napping but the girls wanted to snuggle, which was wonderful, but wouldn’t exactly sit still. So while there was no nap, resting helped.
Was it a great day? No. Was it a horrible day? No, thankfully! The few strategies I implemented helped keep my day from being the horrible day it had the potential to be.
2. How I Break Out of a Bad Mood When Feeling Overwhelmed
Lots of things can lead you to feeling overwhelmed so identifying that is priority. For me, I usually feel overwhelmed when the house seems out of control. I’ve either been hyper-focused on work, we’ve spent a lot of time outside, or I just haven’t felt like fighting with the kids to clean up their toys. The laundry is a mountain instead of a hill, the dishes are piled high in the sink, and the kitchen counters are cluttered with everything.
When I am overwhelmed, following my 20 minute strategy helps a lot with breaking out of a bad mood.
- Set a timer for 20 minutes
- Work on ONE thing like laundry until the timer goes off
- Reset the timer for another 20 minutes but work on something else (dishes)⠀⠀
- Repeat as time allows
- Don’t pick up your phone 😉
It is okay if you don’t get all of the laundry folded, all of the dishes cleaned, or all of the toys picked up. After your 20 minute segments are up, you will be able to see progress on the “disaster” and you won’t feel so overwhelmed. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
3. Bad Weather Means Bad Mood
A little crazy? Maybe. But the weather sure does affect me and my mood. If is is warm and sunny out, I am usually warm and sunny inside. If it is cold and windy, I turn into Mrs. Crabby Pants again.
Because I cannot control the weather, I have to find ways to break out of my bad mood that doesn’t involve moving to Hawaii. And because we are moms with kids to take care of, we can’t run to the spa whenever we need a pick-me-up.
Here is how I handle bad weather blues.
- Invest in a light therapy lamp. If you live where winter is longer than spring, summer, and fall combined (like I do), you need one of these. They range from relatively inexpensive, to pretty high end. I bought this one 2 years ago and use it a lot during the winter. It has really helped me and my self-diagnosed Seasonal Affective Disorder.
- Have a pajama day. There’s just something comforting about spending all day in your jammies. The kids love these days too!
- Play music. I love music and what it does for my soul. Turn on whatever makes you want to dance or at least smile, and keep it on repeat until you are able to break out of your bad mood.
4. When the Kids Just.Won't.Stop.Fighting Bad Mood
“My kids are perfect little angels and never fight.” – Said no mom ever!
My girls are only 15 months apart at 5 1/2 and 4 years old. Their brother isn’t 2 yet. You can imagine the fights that go on between the three of them. Some days it is just normal, and some days I am ready to ship them to Granny’s for a month.
Now listen, I am not perfect. It took me a long time after becoming a stay at home mom to find what works for me. I asked a lot of other moms, young and old, did a lot of google searches, and listened to several parenting audio books (because I don’t have the attention span for non-fiction books).
This is my combination of all that advice:
- 1-2-3 Magic: 3-Step Discipline for Calm, Effective, and Happy Parenting. Like I said, my oldest is only 5 1/2, so I can’t attest to this over that age, but this method has worked wonders for both my girls. Basically you explain to them that you are going to count to 3 and what the consequences are if they don’t so whatever it is you’ve instructed them to do.
- Effective Rewards and Consequences. They have to have consequences that actually mean something to them. My oldest is very motivated by screen time, both as a reward (getting screen time) and as a consequence (having screen time taken away). My middle daughter isn’t so easy. I’ve given her consequences such as having her dinosaurs taken away (she LOVES her dinosaurs!). In the beginning she was okay with having them taken away until she realized I was serious when I actually took them away. She had to earn them back. It took her a few times of going through this process but now she knows I mean business and it is usually effective.
- Looking at their situation. Is it close to meal time or snack time? Did they go to bed late last night or up early? Did something change in their expectations for the day? Have they spent too much time in front of a screen? All of these things will negatively affect each of my kids’ moods. Sometimes it is as easy as giving them something to eat, going outside to play, or snuggling and reading a couple of books together (since they don’t nap anymore). Other times I need to sit down with them and dig a little deeper, find out why they are having a bad day and adjust from there.
Am I able to maintain patience and calm all day every day? Heck no! And you shouldn’t expect to either. Every day involves me yelling for some reason or another.
5. Funky Feelings
You’re in the kind that of bad mood where you just feel off, sad, easily frustrated, or just plain blah but can’t pin point why. Nothing has happened but everything seems to be setting you on edge or you just want to cry.
I have those days too. There is not one particular thing that has happened, it has not been a bad day, but I just can’t break the bad mood.
Mrs. Crabby Pants is here and she put on her big girl panties!
Here is how to break this bad mood and kick Mrs. Crabby Pants to the curb:
Turn on good music (yes, I’m saying this again). Music that will get your body moving and lift your spirits (hello, Happy by Pharrel Williams), and the kids love that one too so we can all dance.
Do something that needs to be done, like fold laundry, unload the dishwasher, or have the kids help put away their books and toys. I know it sounds crazy but when I can see something progress, like the pile of unfolded clothes turning into neat little piles of folded clothes, it makes me feel like I am accomplishing something and helps ease that funk that may be based in overwhelm.
- Take a walk. Take the kids with you or go by yourself if you can. Take a quick walk, a long walk, whatever kind of walk you want. Getting into a different setting, getting in the sun, getting a breath of fresh air. It all helps. Remember how I said to send the kids outside when they won’t stop fighting, this goes for us too. It helps us like it helps them.
- Do something that is calming. If you can’t get outside try doing something that helps you feel calm. Read a book, listen to an audio book, crochet (I love this one but don’t do it often enough), meditate, do yoga, do whatever sets your soul at peace. I do realize this one is a lot harder to accomplish with kids around. If you need to, turn on the TV, give them their tablets, whatever you need to do to keep them safe and occupied for just long enough, or close to long enough to replenish your soul.
Let's sum it up
After being a stay at home mom (mostly) for a little over 2 years, I’ve had lots of time to get accustomed, learn, and grow. I am still learning, still growing, and now I’m helping other mom’s figure out this crazy stay at home business. Hopefully a combination of these tips will help you to break out of a bad mood no matter what the cause of the bad mood was.
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