On the open road, you’re mild-mannered - let him cut ahead of you; it’s not like you won’t see each other at the next traffic light. Once you reach the office, you’re the responsible one, who gets the job done and doesn’t say wildly inappropriate things at meetings. At home, you are a loving parent, who tunes into your child’s needs and responses with patience and empathy, even as she screams at you to make it stop raining NOW! And then all of sudden something – the sight of a lone adult man’s sock on the floor/ that thing your Mum just said – makes you see red. You flip out and everyone thinks you’re a raving loon.

PMS Mood Swings

But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can tune into our true feelings as they arise, manage our physical states like proper grown-ups, achieve some emotionally stability and not undermine our own valid arguments by looking crazy. 

The first place to start is with diet. We all live very busy and stressful modern lives. It’s easy to get into a habit of eating on the run and choosing sugary snacks for a quick energy hit. But this routine backfires. Yes, we get that quick hit and experience elevated blood sugars. The body then produces insulin to mop up the blood sugars, sending us into an energy dip. We feel down and irritable. We may reach for more junk food, or for caffeine, which heightens anxiety further, or we may lash out at those around us. 

Inadequate sleep also weakens our emotional defences and has been associated with elevated blood sugar levels. When we experience stress, the body has a ‘fight or flight’ reaction, characterised by a blood sugar rise; exhaustion and stress often appear hand and hand. 

woman getting ready to go exercise

Exercise and diet counteract these effects. No matter how tempting a cookie or a double expresso might be, healthier choices serve us better. Complex carbs (brown rice, bread and pasta) travel through the body more slowly, for a slower release of energy. A protein-rich breakfast, such as eggs or Greek yoghurt, sets us up for a busy but stable day. Green tea still contains some caffeine, but also brings some welcome antioxidants. B vitamins, found in meat, fish, dairy, nuts, wholefoods and many kinds of fresh veg, help us cope better with stress (if not eating an optimal diet, source them in a good supplement such as Cleanmarine for Women). Calcium-rich dairy products or green leafy veg helps our bodies produce melatonin, the sleep hormone.

Another handy trick is to simplify our days. Do we really need to go clothes shopping at lunchtime? What if a Monday night class just means a weary Tuesday morning? We have a finite amount of energy and patience each day. Use it mindfully.