I was more than a little cranky on Thursday. I won’t go into the “whys”, but it was a feeling that had been building for a couple of weeks. I was irritated, frustrated, tired and feeling a little overwhelmed. It would be super easy to just give into the ick of all of that: to just dig into the freeze for a pint of Jeni’s Splendid Whiskey & Pecans Ice Cream and get lost in hours of TV.
But I know better. I know that the truth is out there somewhere, and if I’ve learned nothing in this life but this fact: awareness sets your free. Cranky and irritable means it’s time to dive into awareness and get curious.
Here are the fifteen questions I ask myself.
- Are you fueling your body with good food? Our bodies need whole foods at regular intervals. Skipping meals plays with our emotions (hello, “hangry” girl). Everyone’s body is different, so subscribing to some crazy specific eating plan may not work for you.
- Are you getting enough sleep? Our bodies need seven to nine hours of sleep a night. No, sleep isn’t just for weekends! Optimally, you go to bed and wake up at the same time each and every day. Boring? Maybe, but it’s what our bodies crave.
- Are you sleeping enough hours but don’t’ feel rested? Well, baby, maybe you aren’t practicing good “sleep hygiene”. That means not eating a big meal within two hours of bed time or staying in front of the computer right until bedtime. When we eat late, our bodies are digesting dinner instead of recovering. And all of those blue-light, backlit screens do something funky with your brain and don’t allow it to shut down efficiently.
- Are you always busy? We need to be active, of course, but has busy become a lifestyle or excuse?
- Are you playing? All work and no play really do make you dull and cranky. Go for a walk, drag out the Monopoly board or play some golf!
- Are you getting some quality leisure time? This may look like laying in the grass, reading a book, soaking in the tub, or playing a favorite sport. Leisure is different from play.
- Are you moving your body? Our bodies crave movement, even if it’s just a short walk or stretching session.
- Are you getting your social needs met? This includes face-to-face interactions, intimate telephone calls, sit down dinners and long lunches with friends.
- Is your social calendar too busy? Even extroverts need some alone time. Holidays are notorious for triggering my need for some quality quiet time.
- Are you getting your intimate needs met? This isn’t just about sex. This includes holding hands and hugs. It also includes non-sexual kinds of interactions, like massages and intimate conversations.
- Is clutter distracting you? When I get involved in any creative project, anything not in the creative bubble ends up in piles around me. Clear your desk, clean out the fridge, and get rid of those clothes you haven’t worn in ages. Clear your clutter, baby!
- Are you feeding your creativity? Everyone is creative. It may look like gardening, scrapbooking, painting, writing or cooking. For me, I ask myself if I am writing in my journal (for myself, not just writing for work). When I’m in the kitchen, am I taking time to immerse in the process of cooking or mindlessly pulling a meal together? As Brene Brown discovered in her research, the opposite of creative is depression!
- Do your routines need adjustment? Routines fuel your life. Are you skipping critical pieces of the cogs in your daily wheel? Are you in a rut and need to shake things up?
- Are you connecting to yourself and to God? Are you meditating or praying? Are you writing in your journal? Are you diving into personal rituals?
- Are you numbing some emotion you don’t want to feel? Often when we’re disappointed or angry or sad or upset, we try to talk ourselves out of feeling the shadow emotion. Be honest with yourself about what’s really bugging you.
OK. Now for the “Hail Mary” thing: phone a friend.
Talk to someone that cares about you. Someone who won’t belittle or shame you, but will listen with a loving heart. Be willing to be vulnerable and say: “Hey, this happened and I’m feeling (angry/upset/disappointed/etc.). Will you tell me if I’m crazy (or being a bitch or being a baby, etc.)“. You listen for their (honest) answer and know they tell you the truth because they love you.
If you’re like me, the little routines and things that make your life tick smoothly get out of whack sometimes. I don’t like ruts, but baby, our lives need loving maintenance. Otherwise, we find ourselves cranky, like I was. And yes, darling, you guessed that right. I did phone a friend this week and she helped me get my head on a little straighter and feeling back to my bubbly, bouncy me.
[hr] Why be cranky when you can be curious instead? Not comfortable asking yourself the questions or know you may need some help processing the answers? Don’t force yourself to go it alone. You are never too old to create change in your world, darling. And, no, you don’t need fixing or to be rescued, but hiring a coach will help you find your answers.
Make Your Inner Sex Kitten Roar begins on April 27th and will give you 12 months of support as you begin to take tiny steps towards your desires and big leaps of faith in your vision for creating and living a daily life you love.