Lately, I’ve been walking around with a short fuse. Like when the car in front of me cut me off, I was about to scream my head off. I’m curious, is it just me or are people a bit more cranky right now? Perhaps it’s inflation or the rising gas prices but I’ve noticed that the amount of stress and uncertainty in our lives recently is making us all a bit more irritable than usual. To be honest, I’m fed up with being cranky all the time. I’m eager to find out how to stop being irritable since it feels like a waste of my energy.
The truth behind being irritable
Sometimes when you’re stressed, you’re less tolerant and more impatient.
It becomes a bit problematic when you’re constantly irritable and cranky.
The truth of the matter is that the small choices you make in your everyday life make a big difference in your mental health.
For example, the frequency of your social media use and what you eat and drink, and even what you do during your downtime. All of these habits contribute to your mood.
So let’s delve more into understanding the six habits that may secretly be making you cranky.
And most importantly, learn how to change those habits into ones that are better for your physical, emotional, and mental health.
6 habits that are secretly making you irritable
If you’re curious about how to stop being irritable then it’s important to understand the impact of your daily habits.
Though it’s not easy to change all these little things that are making you irritable, it’s a step in the right direction.
Once you start making these changes, you will notice that you are going to feel less cranky and happier.
1. You’re snacking on the wrong foods
Ever notice that when you’re stuck at your desk or at home, you’re tempted to snack on chips or granola bars?
It’s common that when you’re bored or stressed, you’ll immediately reach for something salty or sugary to fend off those cravings.
However, these types of snacks are not only bad for your waistline, but they are also bad for your mental health.
Research has shown that people who regularly eat ultra-processed foods have a 33% higher risk of developing depression than those who minimally included them in their diets.
Instead of eating junk food, fuel up on probiotic-rich snacks like Greek yogurt, kefir, or even pickles!
If you’re craving something with carbs, then eat sourdough bread (I love it toasted) since these snacks are good for your gut microbiome.
2. You’re drinking too close to bedtime
It’s hard to decompress and relax after a long, stressful and overwhelming day.
I can personally attest to how exhausting it is since I work at a hospital.
It’s not a surprise that you turn to a nightcap, or several drinks, to help you sleep since you are so wired.
However, drinking alcohol actually disrupts your sleep and prevents you from getting deep quality sleep.
According to a 2018 study in the Journal of Mental Health, even moderate consumption of alcohol can impair your restorative sleep quality by 24%.
Since alcohol is a depressant, it worsens symptoms of depression and anxiety.
So try to limit your alcohol consumption to just one drink around dinnertime.
And if you’re still, struggling to fall asleep then try these 13 ways to treat insomnia naturally based on science.
3. You’re spending too much time on social media feeds
You probably already know this, but I will repeat it again.
Research has shown that the more time you spend on social media feeds like Facebook and Instagram, the greater your risk of developing depression.
In fact, college students who limited their time on social media to just 10 minutes a day reported significant decreases in depression and loneliness compared to those who did not.
When you’re glancing at Instagram or Facebook, you’re looking at a curated and altered version of reality. People post the perfect holiday or engagement photo which fosters unhealthy comparisons to others.
If you’re already feeling crappy, looking at these photos will only make you feel worse.
Social media also invites a news cycle into your life which can leave you feeling depressed, anxious, and stressed.
Instead, make a commitment to yourself to only check your emails, social media, and news for a set time once or twice a day.
Avoid going on social media or even on your phone an hour before bed since it will disrupt your sleep.
Do not scroll through your phone if you wake up in the middle of the night. It will impact your sleep quality and definitely worsen your irritability.
Instead of devoting so much of your time to social media, use that energy and time for something more productive and healthy.
Check out 10 simple New Year’s Resolutions ideas for some healthy outlets to improve your overall well-being.
4. You’re not exercising enough
It’s not rocket science but whenever I don’t exercise then I am highly irritable and impatient.
It’s as if my body has this pent-up energy that needs to get released. Otherwise, my inner “house dragon” that my husband affectionately calls comes roaring out.
Interestingly enough, when you’re sedentary, you produce less serotonin in your brain. This is the feel-good hormone that gets stimulated in our brain and body when we’re exercising.
And guess what?
You don’t need to do much to feel better. Even a single bout of exercise is enough to increase levels of feel-better brain hormones such as endogenous opioids and endocannabinoids (these are responsible for the so-called runner’s high).
If you’re struggling to find time to exercise, then try my little cheat workout.
Try taking three 10-minute walks during your day. Instead of taking the elevator, take the stairs as often as you can.
Need some extra motivation to start exercising? Here are 10 foolproof ways to boost your motivation and work out right now!
5. You’re skipping lunch
Did you know that skipping lunch is a recipe for disaster?
Remember your body is a machine and needs to be regularly fueled for optimal performance. Skipping your midday meal causes your blood sugar to plummet. Since there’s not enough glucose for your brain to function well, you end up feeling irritable, confused, and fatigued.
Furthermore, your body ramps up its production of the stress hormone cortisol as an emergency response which leaves you feeling even more stressed and grouchy.
Wondering how to stop being irritable?
The answer is easy.
Eat regularly throughout the day and space your meals evenly so that you’re eating every three to four hours. This will stabilize your blood sugars and prevent you from getting “hangry.”
Meal planning helps me eat nutritious and healthy meals daily. Check out the best meal planning guide for beginners.
6. You forget to practice self-care
If you find yourself irritable, cranky, or angry on a regular basis, it might be because you don’t carve out any time for yourself.
Many women feel overwhelmed and anxious because they are used to putting everyone’s needs ahead of their own.
Sometimes your body just forces you to slow down and re-evaluate when everything starts piling up and you get sick.
Take control. Feel better.
Start your Self-care Journey.
If you’re curious about how to stop feeling irritable, then start a daily self-care practice.
Remember, self-care isn’t a bubble bath that you do on a special occasion. It’s not a quick fix or band-aid.
Self-care is intentional activities you do on a daily basis to calm your mind and relax your body.
I’m going to be real with you. At some point in your life, you will feel irritable, cranky, or just plain angry all the time.
Perhaps it’s from work, school, family dynamics or all of it combined.
However, you don’t have to just accept that you’re constantly stressed and irritable.
Instead, you can choose to live your life differently.
It’s not easy to prioritize yourself and make these big chances, but it’s worth it.
Your mental, emotional and physical health matter.
If you’re reading this article and wondering how to stop being irritable, then it’s actually a sign that you’re ready to take a step back and slow down.
As for me, it’s been unnerving to make these changes. I’ve had to be better at planning ahead and scheduling my self-care time and limiting my time on social media.
However, the result of making these subtle changes has been remarkable.
Like the other day when I got stuck in traffic, instead of feeling angry, I just turned on my favorite podcast and patiently waited until the road cleared.
So I hope you can take find room to slow down. Ultimately life is too short to be cranky all the time.