No matter how good your mental health may be, life gets us down sometimes. People piss us off, buses are late, we get caught in the rain and things just don’t go our way 100% of the time, right? But just because something has gone wrong doesn’t mean you need to let it ruin your day, week or month. And it doesn’t have to.
I’m a hot head. I used to be much worse when I was suffering with depression, dealing with my eating disorder and hated my body. I operated with the belief that everyone was out to get me, judging me, laughing at me behind my back. And because of that, I was always on the defensive, ready to jump down someones throat in a split second. Thankfully, those days are long gone.
I still get annoyed. Sometimes its a specific event or comment that sends me into a rage. But more often than that it’s a series of teeny tiny things that build up over a few hours or a few days until they’ve formed a ball of fire in my stomach.
But losing my temper isn’t helpful. It’s unfair to those around me (mainly Rosie) who bear the brunt of it and it makes me feel guilty for taking it out on them. So I have a few self care habits that I practice when I feel like I’m about to blow and 9 times out of 10 they calm me right down and I feel so much better as a result.
1. Fresh Air and Exercise
It sounds like such a cliche and anyone who knows me will know that I’m not an exercise fan (although I do have a chapter about exercise in my Self Care Bible), but there really is nothing like a walk to lift away a bad mood. I don’t mean a power walk, although that could work for some people I’m sure. But I love a really chilled, relaxing stroll down to the local beach when life’s getting me worked up.
Science proves this 100 times over. Exercise releases serotonin which is the happy hormone, but life experience has taught me it in practice. Just the other day I went on a wild rant on my Instagram stories about something that had been annoying me. But rather than helping me to calm down, the rant actually got me more worked up.
I decided to ditch the phone and go for a walk down to the village. We took the dog and walked nicely and slowly, strolling along, chatting about how fresh air helps us feel good and laughing about Lucy’s compulsive need to smell every blade of grass. By the time we reached the beach I hadn’t a care in the world. It was better than any rant and it was real quality time with Rosie that we both needed.
Maybe you don’t live beside a quaint little seaside village like I do. And maybe you don’t have a pooch to take out for a walk. But I bet there’s a road and a path. Really, that’s all you need. And if you drive you could easily head to a nearby park and spend some time strolling around, looking at trees and breathing in the fragrant fresh air. I promise you, 9 times out of 10 it will transform your mood in minutes.
2. A Long Hot Bath
Is there any better feeling than lying in a tub of steaming hot water infused with all of the best things nature has to offer and feeling your temper just melt away? I don’t think so.
I’m a huge fan of a bath, which I know isn’t for everyone. Although I really struggle to understand how anyone could not enjoy it. My baths can be anything from 1 hour to 3 hours long. I light lots of candles, turn off the lights, play podcasts or my self care playlist and just soak.
I have a variety of different things I like to add to my baths. Epsom salts are an obvious choice, as are bath bombs from Lush. But I also love adding tones of olive oil or coconut oil with oats and essential oils like lavender are gorgeous too. Anything that’s gonna moisturize my skin while I’m in there while also smelling divine is a winner to me!
If you’re not a bath person, maybe try having a long hot shower with some really luxurious products and then applying a face mask afterwards? Skin care can be so indulgent and relaxing and could definitely help when you’re feeling like you’re gonna blow!
Mediation is my bae. I meditate everyday in the morning and evening, even if I can only squeeze in ten minutes. It just centers me and helps me to put up a kind of barrier between me and all of the toxicity in the world. But sometimes, just sometimes, the toxicity finds a way through. When that happens, I just meditate again.
But this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be an experienced meditater to use it when you’re about to lose your temper. There are lots of different kinds of meditation and countless apps to help even the most clueless beginners. Calm and Headspace are two of the most popular apps out there and both offer really great guided meditations ranging from 5 minutes to an hour long. If meditation is new to you but you’re feeling irritable a lot, I can’t recommend them enough. They really work.
If you’re a little more experienced at meditation then you might find a 10 or 15 minute session really helpful. When my tempers really bad, I usually add in some affirmations to help focus my mind and forget about whatever it is that is pissing me off.
Affirmations are best when they’re very specific to you, but you can easily use ones that you’ve heard/read elsewhere. My favorite affirmation that I always come back to time and time again is; I love myself, I accept myself, I am grateful, I am enough. I came up with this affirmation when I was in therapy and learning to use affirmations for the first time. 4 years later, they still bring me so much peace.