Bad Mood Rising

Had I been wearing a 1970’s mood ring earlier this week, I know what color it would have been. I won’t get into the specifics, sufficed to say I didn’t have to clean the cat’s litter box one particular morning—because she opted not to use it. The ensuing treasure hunt to locate the offending nugget, the cleaning, disinfecting and subsequent banishing of the culprit (Gizmo) to the basement for the duration of the day, made my morning unpleasant, to say the least.

Not a good start.

And yet on the drive in to work, with a scowl on my face, I confronted my bad mood, arguing my day need not be ruined because the cat in the hat, shat (for the second day in a row). The passionate debate raged on, fueled by anger, countered by logic, and by the time I arrived at work, my scowl had dissipated—somewhat.

Despite the science behind thermochromism (the change of color due to temperature), the multi-colored spectrum found in a mood ring’s instruction manual, is misleading.

Mood falls into two categories.

Good or bad.

There are no shades of grey, no greens, pinks, or purples, no middle ground. You’re either in a positive mood, or a negative one.

The more I pondered the concept, the more I realized moods are configurable, a conscious choice. Good moods are simple, when you find yourself in one, stay there, ride it out, spread the love.

Conversely, when the ring darkens, pause and take inventory.

Count your blessings.

Simple also, but not quite as easy.

Bad moods dissolve in time, they always do, but when allowed to fester, they devour the present, drain joy from the moment, and spread like an airborne virus.

The trick is to recognize the ensuing darkness, pause, regroup, and change colors. Don’t let the voice of rage and ruin convince you otherwise.

Two weeks back I was editing some fiction when I inadvertently overwrote my file with an earlier version, thereby deleting two hours of work. Attempts at retrieving the lost data proved futile, Microsoft Word had no magic elixir to counteract stupidity. The changes were lost.

My metaphorical mood ring turned as black as a raven in a mortician’s hat.

But that was two weeks ago.

This week, Gizmo—the cat who shat—prompted some introspection.

She taught me to recognize that every moment counts. Being miserable, waiting for the fog to clear, is counterproductive.

So I encourage you, the next time you sense a Bad Mood Rising, don’t hunker down waiting for sunshine, embrace the earthquakes and lightning, and change your color, tout de suite.


 

About the Author

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Mike Senczyszak is a writer, blogger, procrastinator, not in that order. He’s from Southern Ontario, occasionally Cape Breton Island, and more recently, a regular at Disney World. He’s a dabbler in screenwriting, children’s books, fiction (horror). Currently, editing his first novel.

 

You can find him on his blogFacebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, & Google+


 

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Graceful Bad Mornings

Some mornings suck, no one’s going to argue that.

Maybe you’re sick, or depressed. Maybe it’s raining or you’ve had to get up too early too often. Maybe you’re just going through some stuff.

I had some of those mornings recently. Some personal stuff in my life has been getting me down for a little while, stressing me out. But I still have to get up and do my job. I still have to be the adult and take care of my kids, even if I’m not feeling it.

First off, I’m still a mom, even on the days I don’t want to be an adult. My kids are depending on me. Second, if I’m unproductive I’ll just sink further into depression. Even if I’m sick, I have a tendency to sink into a really bad funk because I feel like I failed, somehow. Yes, I know that’s wrong. That’s part of how depression works.

I’m not going to tell you that I have a surefire way to get through a rough morning and come out smiling. But I do have some things in place to help with the bad mornings. Here’s my tried and true list of do’s and don’ts for bad mornings.

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Don’t

Touch the snooze button.

Not even once. You’ll just feel bad about it and have less time to work with. Being rushed is not going to make your morning better. And you’re not going to get anything out of those extra ten minutes. It’s going to be just as hard to get up the second time the alarm rings, trust me.

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Treat yourself to something expensive

If you normally don’t stop for a coffee on the way to work, don’t do it today. First off, if you’re suffering from depression, it might make you feel guilty. Besides that, this sort of coping mechanism leads to an unhealthy relationship with food. It’s fine for a good cup of fancy coffee to be a treat, but it shouldn’t be a reward for doing what you have to do anyway.

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Skip your self-care routine

Don’t skip your face care, don’t skip your teeth brushing. It will just make you feel worse in the end if you don’t look put together. Besides that, these actions can help you feel better about the day. Wash your face, put on some moisturizer, whatever you normally do to care for yourself in the morning. It might not make your morning all better, but neglecting to do it will surely make it worse.

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Turn on the news

I’m the last person to tell you not to be informed about what’s going on in these dark times. If we don’t know what’s happening we can’t fight for what we believe in, and then the bad guys win.

BUT we don’t need to deal with that first thing in the morning. We’ve got our own personal world on our shoulders already, we don’t need to add the rest of the world as well. At least, not before coffee.

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Do

Plan in advance for bad mornings

They’re going to happen. Having a strong evening plan is going to help any morning, but especially a bad morning. I can’t be the only person who’s ever just sat down and cried because they didn’t have any clean jeans in the morning.

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Have something beautiful to look at.

While I think you should stay off of social media in general, I am a big supporter of Instagram. Especially if you follow topics that are inspiring. I follow several foster cat homes, a few hedgehogs, several inspirational business people, lots of people who like to take gorgeous pictures of their travels and lots of bullet journalists. I don’t follow people who post anything negative. I do follow Steve Burns (Steve from Blue’s Clues) and this person who posts videos of slime. When I’m starting my day with pictures of adorable animals, inspiring messages, fantastic makeup and funny comics, I’m a little more okay with getting up.

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Do what you can to be happy about how you look

I love my makeup, but on mornings when I’m depressed I don’t even want to look at it. However, I know that I’ll feel better with a little eyeliner and some mascara. So, I have a basic look plan. Concealer under my eyes and at problem areas. A little bit of black eyeliner. A little bit of mascara. Red lipstick. (I don’t know what it is about red lipstick, but it makes me feel fierce.)

I’m not saying you have to wear red lipstick. Maybe you need your favorite sweater or that pair of pants that makes your backside look nice. Maybe it’s something no one will even see, like cute underwear. Whatever little thing you can do to feel good about your reflection, do it.

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Eat a healthy breakfast that you feel good about

Avocado toast takes less than no time, and it’s delicious. It’s also healthy. But it’s not your only option. A bowl of cereal can also be good for you, or just some toast and jam. Yeah, I know you’re probably not hungry. But you will be before lunch, and it will make you feel worse. So eat something.

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Give yourself some grace if you’re still in a funk

If you’ve done everything on this list and you still feel down, remind yourself that it will pass. You don’t have to be happy every day. You don’t owe anyone that. So maybe just give yourself the grace to feel quiet and sensitive today. Don’t apologize for it, don’t you dare. Just let yourself feel how you feel.

A lot of times, when I’m depressed, I feel like I’m doing something wrong. It’s my fault, I’m just being a baby. If I’m not happy now, with a loving family, a good job and several published books, what the hell will ever make me happy?

When I managed a shoe store, I used to tell myself I’d never be happy if I wasn’t happy there. I thought that because I had a good job and a good relationship I owed the universe happiness. But that was a load of shit. First off, my job wasn’t good. Better than I’d had before doesn’t equal good. I wasn’t happy, but I didn’t allow myself to feel it. And if I’d listened earlier, maybe I could have left my shitty job earlier. So don’t put it on yourself to be happy all the time.

I’m going to repeat it one more time, so everyone hears me. You don’t owe happy to anyone. You owe yourself grace, good care, and patience.

Especially on the tough mornings.


About the Author

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Nicole Luttrell is a speculative fiction writer. That means she writes about dragons, ghosts and space. Sometimes about ghosts of dragons in space. She writes a fantasy series called Woven and a Science Fantasy series called Station 86. You can follow along with the insanity at PaperBeatsWorld.com

You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.

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