Girl, Check Your Hangry :: 5 Questions to Ask When a Bad Mood Strikes

We’ve all had those moments of glory when everyone is suddenly annoying, when the house mess is suddenly intolerable, and when the day cannot end quickly enough. When this happens, it can be helpful to take a moment to assess whether you can do something before proclaiming “Off with their heads!” to everyone in your path.

Sometimes just discovering the root of how you’re feeling can work wonders in alleviating the stress of it as well as give you a clue about how you can find some relief.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when a bad mood strikes:

1. Are you just hangry?

We love to joke about the infamous “hangry,” that adorable rage that takes over when dinner is delayed. Don’t be a martyr to your diet. Have a snack for crying out loud (because that’s what you need to stop crying out loud).

Simple carbs are often the go-to in this situation, but try reaching for something protein-rich, like a piece of cheese, a cup of Greek yogurt, or some hummus and multigrain pita chips (try Siete Chips if you’re avoiding grains).

Tip: Add quick and healthy snacks to your grocery list so that they’re at the ready for those evenings when dinner doesn’t happen as promptly as you’d like.

2. Have you slept enough?

I know, I know. Does anyone ever sleep enough when kids enter the picture? Still, it’s important to do what we can to get adequate sleep.

If the previous night’s sleep was less than ideal, can you sneak away for a quick nap or at least choose low energy activities for the day? If nothing else, just do whatever you can to be a little easier on yourself.

Unfortunately, some seasons of life are particularly difficult in this department, and chronic sleep deprivation should not be taken lightly. If you have a newborn or some other reason why getting a reasonable amount of sleep isn’t happening, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

3. Is there some other reason you’re upset or stressed?

Sometimes we may feel frustrated or stressed without even knowing why. If a more obvious reason like being hungry or tired isn’t to blame, is there something else going on? A bit of self-reflection may shed light on something underneath the surface that you didn’t even realize was bothering you.

4. Could you benefit from getting outside for some fresh air or exercise?

Exercise and sunlight both have amazing mood-boosting benefits. Maybe a quick jog around the neighborhood or even moving the family to the backyard for playtime can lighten the mood all around.

5. Is it that time of the month?

Hormones can have a significant impact on how you’re feeling. As your period gets closer, the hormone progesterone decreases, which can create some moodiness or irritability. Try to be a little gentler with yourself at this time. Give yourself permission to be a bit extra weepy, and treat yourself to something that will help you relax. Maybe have a hot bath or a glass of wine.

Try not to give too much credence to feelings that are actually the result of something temporary. Whatever the case, this is not the time to make any important decisions, have difficult conversations, or ask too much of yourself. And as it always does, it’ll pass.

Much like the adage of securing your own breathing mask before assisting others with theirs, we should try to recognize that proper self-care is a necessity, not an indulgence. We’re hardly doing anyone a favor if we’re allowing our “hanger” or sleep-deprived crankiness to take center stage.

Maria Bruce
Maria was born and raised in New Orleans and now lives in Metairie with her husband and two-year-old daughter. She studied English and theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio and then did missionary work in Belize for a year and a half following college. After returning to New Orleans, she taught high school religion and English for several years and received her MA in British literature and professional writing from UNO. She now works as the Communications Director for Woman’s New Life Center and also helps her husband run his business. She’s a fan of reading, writing, tea, the Oxford comma, running, dining out, and being a wife to her longtime best friend and mother to her sweet girl.


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