Raise your hand if you’re subject to mood swings.
There are two big problems with retirement: 1) Way too much time to think, and 2) Nobody wants to listen to your problems.
So many of today’s issues have to do with the emotional rollercoaster that seems to be a ride that just doesn’t end. Whether it’s COVID-19, politics and the divide it causes, information overload, appropriate behavior versus spontaneity, a lack of sleep, family issues, the weather; to name a few.
Learning how to cope with the ups and downs of our emotions is key to finding joy in the mundane and appreciating the sublime.
How I Keep Mood Swings in Check
- The most important way for me to remain positive and upbeat, is to sleep. If I do not get at least seven hours, I’m a mess. It means going to bed before 10:00 p.m. and keeping my bed time consistent. For me, the worst culprit for sleep interruption is a thought loop. The same concern or scenario playing over and over, keeping me wide awake at 2:00 a.m. Getting out of bed and doing something, even if it’s a trip to the kitchen for a glass of water, is the only thing that will stop it.
- Meditation is a big help to curtail moodiness. Even for as little as ten minutes — just sitting quietly or taking a walk in the park can be restorative.
- Consider what is troubling you and face it head on. I was moody and sluggish last week; woke up stressed, struggled with a trip to the gym (fortunately due to guilt, the gym usually wins), and pissy with Paco (my dog). I was experiencing this without considering the cause. When I sat down and thought about it, I realized it was upcoming travel and my ambivalence about it due to new COVID-19 restrictions. I decided the trip was not worth the worry — imagine paying big bucks to sit in your hotel room and ordering Uber Eats because restaurants can only do takeout. I figured out that I could reschedule most of my plans in Germany and the Netherlands, without losing all of the money I had already laid out. After spending about an hour shuffling around air reservations and hotels/Airbnbs, I felt 100% better. I realize of course that this simple exercise does not work for all matters of the heart and mind.
- Gratitude — I’m not sure when I learned this, but I know for certain is wasn’t in my home growing up; however, considering all the things that you have in your life to be grateful for, it is a great way to put things into perspective and cheer yourself up.
- Treat myself to dinner out. Living alone is my choice and I enjoy the solitude; however, a nice dinner out with or without friends, is more often than not, a pleasurable experience.
- Cut back on alcohol. I find that more than one cocktail or several glasses of wine will interrupt sleep and make me moody during the day. Instead of pouring a full glass of wine, I pour half and sip.
It’s Not Fair to Other People
I didn’t have to have someone else tell me that I was sometimes moody. I figured it out on my own. I was tipped off by a question that I am often asked: “Are you okay?”
My mom was bipolar. We never knew what sort of mood she’s be in; I hated it so much. No doubt that everybody has a bad day, but keeping people guessing about whether you’ll be smiling or biting their heads off, isn’t fair. For me, this is something I should be aware of and do something about. The receptionist at my gym seems to be the most in touch with my moods and she calls me on it. Considering I walk in by 7:00 a.m., it’s a good gauge for me — I can power up the positive energy or take it down a notch; nobody likes a person who is over the top cheerful. Haven’t you had this thought: “What kind of drugs is he on?”
I don’t know a whole lot about clinical depression and other illnesses/chemical imbalances that cause mood changes. I do know that there are prescription medications that can help. Some people have no choice but to take medication. Meds should be monitored by a professional on a regular basis. I know a few people whose lives were saved by meds.
I’m trying to keep chemicals out of my body; therefore, at least for now, I’m sticking with the more holistic approach (see above). My particular situation has more to do with unrealistic expectations and being way too hard on myself; neither is uncommon.
7 Causes of Mood Swings, A. Vogel
Four Tips to Ease Your Mood Swings, Centerstone
I am not including my travel schedule because it keeps changing. Rather than frustrate myself with modifications, I’d rather leave it up to the universe. I think the media is sensationalizing the Omicron variant; waiting it out is more prudent. The good news is that I got the Pfizer booster and I’m fairly well protected . . . I think.
I’m going to stay local for a few days next week and spend some time on the Algarve coast. Looking out on the ocean and long walks at the beach, keep me grounded.