Yesterday my daughter woke up on the wrong side of the bed. It was like a flashback to 2010 with incessant, incoherent whining that just seemed to linger all day. We’ve all had days like this.
I talked to them about this on the ride to school – we all lose our cool when we get sad or mad (or mad sad) but screaming at people or sobbing in a puddle rarely helps us move forward. I shared with them some of my ideas for how to better cope when you feel like you are going to lose it.
Instead of screaming at that jerk, why not:
- Listen to some music. Sing out loud, dance, or just lose yourself to the tunes. Some people wallow in sad music, other people listen to something as perky as possible or just something with a great beat – whatever your choice of jams, it’s healthier than slapping someone.
- Write how you feel. There’s a reason I’m a blogger. Writing my feelings is very cathartic. Sometimes I publish those feelings so other people can chime in, sometimes it’s just for me. Either way, by the time I’m done writing, I usually feel better. I encouraged the kids to try this at home and maybe draw pictures, too (for the early writers, this might be easier).
- Take a deep breath. Do this first, actually. When my kids are approaching the deep end of a tantrum, I always tell them to stop and take a deep breath. I have them raise their hands above their head, take a deep breath and then slowly lower their hands as they release the breath. They may give you the side eye the first time you suggest it, but I promise, it almost always makes my kids feel better or at least calms them down enough to talk things out. If you are in a deep funk, try meditation or yoga.
- Or take a walk (or run, if that’s your thing). Really, whatever your preferred method of exercise, getting active and moving your body is a great way to clear your head. We talked about how I like to take a walk (and maybe listen to some music) when I’m in a bad mood – and bonus points, it’s really good for you – way better than telling your problems to a carton of cookie dough ice cream, unfortunately.
- Don’t forget to talk it out. Once you are calmed down enough to not throw a hissy fit, remember to talk to the person who upset you and tell them how you feel. I’m not talking about the blame game or ripping them a new one. I mean using your words like an adult and saying something like, “It hurt my feelings when you ________. Do you think that next time you could ___________.” If you aren’t ready for this conversation, talk it over with a trusted confidant first. Mom, dad, grandma or the smartest friend you know (etc.) are great people to turn to for advice here.
I wish I could say that there were no more hissy fits after our talk – in truth, while they were interested and motivated during our talk, BB still threw at least ten more tantrums that day. In all fairness, I think she is utterly exhausted and also five. But I’m hopeful that our talk might help them in the future.