How Do You Shake a Bad Mood?

by Abby on October 28, 2011

Everyone gets in a bad mood now and then. Even my usually sunny 5yo. “I’m just grumpy, OK, Mom?” he’ll say with a huff when I try (and fail) to get him to tell me about his day at kindergarten. Alrighty then. He’s usually fine after a snack and some cartoons.

How do you shake off a bad mood? My usual go-to’s are magazines, TV, music, yoga, and wine. Not necessarily in that order. If I’m annoyed about work or some other adult concern (like fiber or taxes), I will spend extra time with my kids. Who needs you, stupid grownup world? I think as I shut off my cell phone and flop down on the floor to wrestle with the boys or do a puzzle.

If I am annoyed with my family (I know, I know. When does THAT ever happen?), I will escape to the gym or the library or even Target. Though I usually end up buying practical things like water filters and the jumbo-size box of Goldfish, which doesn’t really boost my mood.

AnthropologieIf I’m REALLY down in the dumps – let’s say, “hypothetically,” some guys from Comcast show up unannounced to fix the TV but cut off our Internet, make me late to pick up my kids, and track mud all over my carpets – then I bring in the big guns: pumpkin-spice lattes, girls’ night out, or a trip to Anthropologie.

I’ve joked that this store is my happy place, and that if I could live there, I would. This is not really a joke. I find the funky, artsy, eclectic vibe of the place immensely appealing and soothing. The prices, however, are not. So I wander around smelling the candles and fingering the nubby sweaters and embroidered skirts, fantasizing about the outfit I’ll buy for my Today Show appearance when I publish my bestselling book. (Someday.)

I’ve also noticed it helps to focus on other people when I feel like my life sucks. So it’s probably not a coincidence that I start collecting old clothes to donate and baking muffins to give to neighbors.

Here, in no particular order, are some other things that helped me shake (or temporarily forget about) a bad mood recently:

– The movie “50/50.” A cancer movie? Uplifting? Yes, actually. It was. I also enjoyed “Midnight in Paris” with Owen Wilson. It made me feel smart that I recognized so many of the artists and literary figures portrayed in the film.

Almond-Crusted Tilapia. I made this the other night with a side of edamame and darned if my boys didn’t both gobble it all down and ask for more. (That happens every, let’s see…NEVER.)

– Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Bread and Muffin mix, and their spiced cider.Reader's Digest, Oct. 2011

– The Oct. issue of Reader’s Digest. Humor, tips on feeling rich, and dogs doing yoga.

– This blog post by Miss Britt on “How to Change a Bad Attitude” and this quick and simple 3-step “Mood Makeover.”

Anyone got anything to add? A kitten video on YouTube? Bad celebrity fashion? Anything?

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Mrs Ebrahim October 28, 2011 at 8:31 am

I totally get the Anthropologie part! I was there the day before yesterday and it sure felt like the “perfect” place. What I like doing when I feel down is get some fresh air. I strap my son in his stroller and walk for 45 mins. I may end the walk by buying a fashion magazine, which i’ll read with a cup of cappaccino as soon as I’m home. Looking forward to reading your book and seeing you on The Today Show.


Christina Katz October 28, 2011 at 8:40 am

This post reminded me that I too had a favorite store when we lived in Bellingham and Samantha was little. Like you Abby, I would go there as a refuge. Jason was in school, we were usually completely broke and I would just walk around fingering things and wishing I could bring the artful mood home. I guess in some ways I did eventually do that. I transformed our then crummy apartment into a budget decor nest, I interviewed the owner of the store, found out her home was even more cool than her store, and got her home tour published in Country Sampler magazine. In return, she gave me a purple cord jacket (I have always loved purple cordoroy jackets) and when her store went out of business (yes, I was crushed), I purchase a huge sign that hangs in my office that says, “The Queen Is Not Accepting An Audience Today.” I smile every time I look at it. I wonder how many moms of young children do the same thing?


Malia Jacobson October 28, 2011 at 12:45 pm

I heart Anthropologie. Back when I was a broke college student I bought a vintagey bud vase there that I adored. I actually cried when my daughter broke it this summer. Like you, I do have a “recipe” for breaking a bad mood. My husband kids me about it, but it works. Here it is: Step 1. Exercise (30-45 mins of cardio, preferably). Step 2. Bake something (for some reason I find baking soothing. It makes me feel resourceful and industrious and I end up with something my family can use without having to spend money). Step 3. Glass of wine, natch. Step 4. Ahem, “romance.” The horizontal kind. And there you have it! Bad day, be gone! 🙂


Catriona October 28, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Fall is my favorite season so there are so many uniquely fall things that instantly brighten my day. I’m normally too frugal for Starbucks but I make an exception every fall and drink Pumpkin Spice Lattes til my teeth rattle. Pumpkin rolls, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread…it’s not even that bad for you because pumpkin is a fruit (or is it a vegetable?) so you can enjoy even more!


emc October 31, 2011 at 3:40 pm

All things caffeine: If it is fall…pumpkin spiced latte…christmas…peppermint mocha and if isn’t one of those seasons, and a diet coke fails me, then Trader Joe’s chocolate covered espresso beans.


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