People exist at every end of the spectrum. There are those of us who are forever laughing, giggling, and happy, and there are those of us who are terminally grumpy. But most people sit somewhere in between on the spectrum and that is the healthiest place to be. If you are normally a happy, go-lucky, sort of person or even just one who has the normal ups and downs but suddenly find yourself feeling irritable all the time there may be a few factors that are affecting you.
You’re not getting enough sleep
There are a few theories on sleep. The first one says that you need “X” amount of hours per night, usually between 6.5 and 8. Although there are opponents to this theory who think that less sleep is more energising, most do agree that your body does need quite a few hours to cycle through sleep patterns, download the day, and refresh your body. The actual number of hours are where there is disagreement, but we most often hear somewhere around 7.5 on average.
Another theory is that, once you’ve established how many hours your particular body needs to sleep it is the “quality” of those hours. And, to get quality, you need to sleep and wake at the same times each day. In this way your body gets a into a rhythm and it knows when to prepare for sleep and when to prepare for action. You’ll have to experiment with both of these theories to find out what is optimum for you, however, if you are only clocking 4-5 hours per night, you’ll definitely need to do some work. Try to improve your sleep by investing in some new pillows and a top quality mattress.
You’re not getting enough “me” time
It seems logical that going down to the pub with friends a few times per week should cheer you up. And who doesn’t like getting down to a club on Friday nights every now and then? But for an introvert, too much socialising can be debilitating. Many believe that an extrovert is outgoing and introvert is shy, but the truth is that it is less about socialising and more about how you recover. When an extrovert is tired, such as after a long week’s work, he or she gets revived by going out with mates. But, for an introvert in the same situation, it is staying in and having “me” time that is replenishing. It doesn’t mean the introvert stays in all the time. Introverts can be very social people! However, they do need to build that alone time into their week in order to feel rested and relaxed.
You’re bottling up your feelings
While there are many social rules about keeping certain emotions under wraps, especially in public, the fact of the matter is you need to have some sort of outlet for these bottled up emotions or you will end up feeling very irritable. In countries such as the the U.K., they tend to pride ourselves on keeping the public and private sphere separate. It is when you can not let your hair down in private that things can go awry. If you do not have a significant other or friend that you can show your true self to, you may be what’s known as “emotionally unavailable”. And it’s not just about crying, but about being able to be transparent in all your feelings. You need a psychologically safe environment in which to reveal your true self. So, for example, if you are in a relationship where you don’t feel you can tell your partner what is bothering you, think about the reasons for that. Often it stems from feeling criticised as a child or in a previous relationship. It is important to look into this in order to lead a more fulfilling life.
You’re not prioritising effectively
You’re feeling irritable and three things are happening; your toddler is having a meltdown, you’ve been working from home and have a deadline, and you haven’t exercised in weeks. How are you going to prioritise? Logic might tell us we need to push hard to get our deadline met or pick up the child first but this is where we need to stop and think. On an aeroplane, they always tell you to place the oxygen mask over your head before helping others and that’s great advice for life. If you are not healthy, you can not help others and you certainly can’t be productive in a work environment. Any parent will tell you that a meltdown can not be stopped until a toddler runs through it. While you are waiting, do some deep breathing and find your shoes. When all is calm, place the toddler in his pushchair or simply get his shoes on if he’s a walker and get yourselves out into the fresh air for half an hour. Thirty minutes are not going to make a difference to your deadline and your head will be clearer for work when you return. Plus, presto, calm and happy child who will sit and play while you work. If you are irritable, find some ways to prioritise yourself and you’ll feel better instantly.
You’re not going with the flow
Are you the proverbial “control freak”? Seriously, life is for fun. If you find it too difficult to enjoy yourself because you want everything to be perfect, maybe you need to learn to relax a little. Go for a run to push down and calm those nerves, let your friends choose the restaurant for once (and enjoy it once you get there), or even buy some work clothes that do not need ironing. Just do something each day to push yourself to let go of perfection a little.
So, if your friends seem to be suddenly keeping a distance and are always “just a bit busy this week” when you ask to meet up, perhaps it’s time to look into a few of these issues. Doing so will not only help your social life, but it will also contribute to the maintenance of your mental health so that you can enjoy life to the full.