Tame (or Tickle) Your Temper 


Are your emotional breaks failing during the stay-at-home order? Perhaps you find you are running on a shorter fuse, are lashing out more often, or just cannot seem to find the patience you usually reserve for friends, family, or even your pets.

Feeling confined to a space for an indeterminate amount of time with the same people can certainly heighten or bring certain emotions to the surface—anger, irritability, and at times, even rage. The following are some tips to better manage these emotions as they arise.

1. Reflect on what the underlying emotion might be: Anger is often a secondary emotion, meaning that it can surface as it masks an underlying emotion that may be more difficult to acknowledge or experience, such as sadness. It may be that this collective sense of loss and grief is manifesting in ways that are easier to play out or that are perceived as more acceptable to express. Acknowledging the emotions beneath the angry surface may enable you to relate to others in a way that is more compassionate and/or forgiving.

2. Adopt a mantra that helps you remain stable and grounded: For example, taking a deep breath while acknowledging that your spouse, children, or pet are “just doing the best they can” within the limitations of the presenting circumstances may allow you to take a step back and refrain from reacting upon every annoyance.

3. Take a break from “adulting:” It is difficult—perhaps impossible—to be the responsible adult at all times, without a break. Figure out what you need to take some space and time from today to regroup with yourself. Maybe it means letting the laundry sit for an extra day, ordering a pre-prepped or semi-prepped meal, or even using paper plates and plasticware rather than having to do the dishes for one night. Then, be intentional about how you are spending that time instead. And remember, no “adulting.”

4. Step away and let off some steam: If you find that you are reaching the point of no return with your anger taking over, JUST S-T-O-P. Step out of the space, such as by going to another room or going outside for a minute, and let some of the pressure out. If you must remain indoors, go to a dark, cool, and quiet room, or take a hot shower or bath. If you’re pressed for time, place a cold towel over your eyes (bonus points if it is infused with essential oils!). If you can step out, go for a walk or run, and just take a few minutes to breathe fresh air. You may be surprised how quickly you can return to your baseline with just incorporating 5 to 10 minute mini-breaks throughout the day.

5. Find the humor in it: You may have to dig for this at times, but finding humor in itself may bring some lightness to the situation. Relish in the absurdity of the abnormality of it all. What might the soundtrack of your life be right now? Would the current at-home scene make for a good sitcom? Are there memes that may just hit the nail on the head? Take it all in, have a good laugh, and save that little speck for the next time you need it!

Rinse, repeat.