My mom would tell you that I'm not especially patient, stubborn and cranky when tired.
My go-to expression of my displeasure as a kid was to slam my door as hard as I could. Then, depending on my anger level, I'd throw something at my closed door. Once it was about reading a book I didn't want to read, so I threw the book at the door, got up to get the book, sat down on my bed, threw it again. For at least 10 minutes. Have I mentioned, I'm a redheaded Irish Leo?
That's not really an option in adult life, at work, in public.
There are still plenty of nonsensical, illogical, inconsequential, plain silly things that raise my blood pressure and put me on edge. This week though, it's been plenty of completely legitimate and properly focused frustration over very real issues.
I tend to perform better under pressure, but in situations of extended pressure, I'm rarely at my best.
Lately I've been thinking more and more of the things that disrupt my calm and how better to cope. Because when I am consumed by nonsensical, yet irritating, things all day, I cannot do all the good work I need to do every day. And I am better than the things that annoy me.
Being outraged about things deserving of outrage is just fine, but letting something so silly as a co-worker in another department talking loudly about American Idol ruin my day is just not right. When it's the things deserving of outrage, I tend to dig in and work 50 times harder.
Sometimes, I just need to vent. Having a trusted person who can listen when you just need to let it all out and not think less of you helps. Just be sure you're willing to be that trusted sounding board when they need to vent. Sometimes I talk to someone who understands the situation and people involved. Other times, I talk to someone who understands me. That person is usually my mom. No matter what crazy things I say, she'll end the phone call with "love you."
When I feel my calm crumbling, I go for a walk if I can. A quick walk to the vending machine, or the water cooler or around the parking lot. Fresh air tends to cool my jets and help focus my thoughts on my work. If the weather is decent, an after work jog does wonders for sweating out frustrations. I might talk to myself while running, but you know, it's cool if the neighbors or people on the trail think I'm weird, right?
Think happy thoughts. I have a few photos and trinkets around my work space that I can glance at and smile. Postcards my friends sent while working as embedded reporters or world travelers, a photo of a squirrel in camo gear cracks me up every time and a sweet photo of Grover that my sister took one Christmas always lift my spirits.
Breathe and count to 10. Tried and true for the minor agitation.
Queso, chips and wine are my go-to comfort foods. This is most certainly the least healthy of coping mechanisms, but hey, it works for me.
Puppies. Before Grover, I'd borrow a friend's dog for cuddles, a run, a walk. Puppy love has an incredible way of washing all the tension out of you. Now, I just smother Grover in hugs that I'm not sure he always appreciates. Hey, it's your cost of living in this house, Grovester.
Sleep. Pretty much anyone will tell you that sleep is good for you. A college friend used to say "I can sleep when I die" and it kind of made sense to me in my caffeine fueled college years, but now, I simply revert to a snotty, grumpy five-year old when I'm overly tired. My mom and grandmother seem to function on something like four hours of sleep a night and maybe I'll experience that someday, but for my 30s, I am perfectly cool with going to bed early whenever possible.
All other outside factors aside, I'm usually most irritable when I feel overwhelmed. I can do something about sleep. I can work to let all the irritating things roll off my back, but I can't do anything about external forces. So when I feel the overwhelm creeping and the blood pressure rising, I tune into a good Spotify playlist, make a plan of attack and then take action. As I tackle my to-do list and starting making meaningful progress on projects, my focus sharpens and all those irritations start to melt away.
Don't let me fool you into thinking I'm some sort of Zen master. I most certainly am not. But, I'm working on it. I will not be owned by those nonsensical, inconsequential, illogical, silly irritations.
What about you, how do you manage daily irritations and those things that you know are nonsensical and yet still make you highly agitated?