Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Practical ways to improve your mood.

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted. We just returned from an extended vacation and I have had a mountain of laundry to catch up on.
Over the last month I've been very aware of my response to certain situations and people.
I have been biting my tongue...a lot.
I've been thinking before speaking.
I've been biding my time and trying to ask not nag.
I've become much more aware of my habit of responding out of my emotions.
A very dangerous pursuit.
Women are driven by hormones. At least this woman is.
On any particular day I can respond in a dozen different ways to the same request.

If Hubby tells me he is going to spend the day with friends I can:
A) Give him a kiss and tell him to have fun
B) Shrug and plot revenge in the guise of me making chicken with fettuccine Alfredo (his favorite meal) and eating it before he gets home.
C) Sprout horns and shriek like a banshee

The poor guy has no way to determine my reaction to things based on previous patterns because I'm so totally unpredictable.
Now, I think I'm a fairly reasonable and functioning adult.
I manage to get out of bed every morning, take care of my kids, plan meals, clean my house and indulge in some sort of hobby everyday, but I often find myself passing that point of no return.
Saying things I regret, stomping around like a military commander, acting as though all the world's power should rest in my pointer finger and on occasion I've been known to break a glass or two.
I hate that.
I hate feeling out of control.
I've devised a simple three step plan that I'm hoping will help me remain in control of my emotions despite raging hormones.
I'm not promising this will work for you, but I'm going to give it a go myself. I'm giving myself a week. Starting tomorrow.

1) This is one of the most important steps you can take in your journey to being a nice wife...mother...employee...human being.
My husband is okay on six hours but some people need up to ten. Find out what type of person you are.
I need a good eight or nine hours to feel rested.
My girls are up at seven which means I need to be snoozing by 10:00 or 11:00.
I haven't gone to bed before midnight in years.
My husband has class at night and if I want to spend any time with him it has to be when he gets home around 10:00 pm.
At least, that's what I tell myself. The truth is that when he gets home he usually gets on the computer and I lay on the couch and read a novel until I've either finished it or my eyes are gritty and bloodshot.
From 10/7-10/14 I am going to be in bed by 10 PM.
I'm hoping this step alone will improve my attitude.

2) Eat properly.
Okay, I have a confession to make.
I'm obsessed with food and nutrition. I live it. I breathe it. I'm soon hoping to write about it if Hubby finishes up designing my site.
I firmly believe the foods you eat affect your mood.
I'm not so sure about a one size fits all diet but I do think there are a few things people can do that will help them be better in control of their emotions (and health.)
No doubt some of this will be hard for you. But your marriage is worth it.
I promise. Hubby/Wife may not look so cute when you are going through sugar or caffeine withdrawal but when all is said and done he/she will appreciate the effort you made.
I'm not going to go into scientific detail about the reasoning behind these suggestions. This just isn't that sort of blog, but there is plenty of info on the web.

GIVE UP SUGAR- especially refined sugar. That glittering white stuff isn't a food. It's a drug and it affects you powerfully.
You can substitute unrefined sweeteners like raw honey, rapadura and coconut sugar if you need to.
Kimi at www.thenourishinggourmet.com is having a week long sugar-free challenge. We are two days into it but better late than never.

GIVE UP CAFFEINE- again, this is a drug. You shouldn't be relying on a chemical to give you energy and joy.
I'm actually highly sensitive to caffeine and am not able to drink coffee without developing a mouthful of canker sores so I've blessedly been able to avoid this addiction.
I do, however, appreciate a warm mug of something in the morning.
I've developed a love for Teacchino which I purchase at Whole foods. My husband, who is highly addicted to caffeine, actually gives Teacchino a thumbs up and is willing to drink it on the weekends with me.

EAT ENOUGH! At any given moment eighty percent of my friends are starving themselves, um...dieting.
They mistakenly believe if they limit the fat they eat they will lose weight.
Let's try a paradigm shift. It isn't HOW much fat you eat that will determine what you weigh it is WHAT type of fat you eat that will.
Stick to whole, natural foods that are high in good fats and proteins.
A salad made with avocado, grass-fed steak and dressing made with coconut or olive oil is going to nourish you better than a salad made with lettuce and store-bought fat-free dressing.
If you don't eat enough or you don't eat properly your body will fail. You will be tired, cranky and moody.
Again, I can't really dive into the science behind this but I suggest you check out Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon or just read through some of my favorite food blogs. In addition to Kimi's there is:

3) Feed your spirit. Spend time with God every day.
Start the day off praising Him. Bless your food. Read your kids a Bible story. Make a list of the ways He has blessed you. Pray for a friend. Read a devotion, a Psalm or a Proverb...or do all three.
If you feel yourself crossing into crazy land get in your prayer closet (or in my case- the prayer bathroom) and hand your burdens over to Christ. Don't leave the closet or bathroom until you are sure you have.
Remember that His burden is light.
If you have heavy burdens it's time to lose a little weight.
It's hard to respond in love to loved ones when the world is resting on your shoulders.
We were never intended to carry so much.
This is an area I have a lot of trouble with.
Sometimes in the busyness of the day I lose sight of what and who really matters. I get caught up in all the doing and forget that I am a highly spiritual being that needs to be fed living water in order to function properly.
I pray with the girls a few times a day but my Bible reading usually consists of sanitized versions of Bible stories accompanied by grinning cherubs and a cleaned-up Jesus.
I spend very little time in the word and almost no time in communion with Him.
I have a feeling if I spend more time with Christ, I'll be better able to enjoy the time I spend with my husband.
After all my marriage is symbolic of the sacred romance. If I better know Jesus as my groom I can better understand my earthly groom.

There you have it. Love rejoices in truth and the truth is that I need to sleep more, eat better and spend more time with God.
The truth is that, though I like to blame my mood on female problems, I have been fearfully and wonderfully made. I can't make excuses for my bad attitude. I am fully capable of making the lifestyle changes necessary to be emotionally, physically and spiritually healthy.
I can barge through my marriage hungry, angry and in a zombie-like fog or I can eat better, sleep more, know Him more intimately and be a better wife.
Zombie or wife?
Hmm...I think I know who my husband would prefer cuddle with him at night.
That is, if I can get him in bed at a decent hour.

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