Lean In to Your Crabbiness: 10 Things to Do When You’re Home Alone and Feeling Grumpy

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

Maybe I’m being a curmudgeon here, but the current cultural pressure to be happy and mindful and Mindfully Happy all. the time. —it’s too much. It seems like feeling any other way is culturally unacceptable, something to feel guilty about. Yet we’re emotional beings and life can be tough. Feeling sad, crabby, or even (gasp) angry is OK sometimes! No, it’s more than OK, it’s necessary. Right? So let’s, you know, allow ourselves to lean into the crabbiness.

Is this list a little self indulgent? Probably yes. Are these things I would want to do in front of other people? Hard no. But that’s the great part about time at home alone—we have the freedom to let our guard down completely and express how we really feel, and it isn’t always mindful or happy. Dammit.

1. Yell.

Really, I’m serious guys. Yell at a picture of the people you’re mad at. Yell at your ill-fitting clothes or messy room or all the blasted bills. Yell on your back deck into the great abyss (or the building across the alley). Oh, definitely yell in your shower. Just let it out. Who cares?! We spend so much time thinking about what others think of us; it’s healthy to take a few minutes and let our freak flag of righteous indignation fly as loudly as possible. (And I’m usually very quiet.)

2. Throw a bunch of pillows.

Don’t aim at anything breakable because that will just fuel the fire. But truly, there is something very cathartic about lobbing, full force, a bunch of pillows at a wall or the floor or whatever you fancy. You think I’m kidding but it’s wonderful. Rinse and repeat until you feel better.

3. Just eat the damn ice cream out of the carton.

…or make a bowl of pasta as big as your head. Eat whatever you want. You spend so much time every day minding your eating choices, so just leave the organic kale and kombucha alone (they’ll wait for you, trust me) and eat the damn thing you want to eat. Enjoy the heck out of it. In that moment, it is good for you because it will make you feel good. And sometimes we just need to feel good.

4. Blast your music at full force.

And, for the love of god, sing and dance and cry along like you’re three sheets to the wind at your childhood friend’s wedding who you don’t like very much but you went because they had it on a boat with an open bar and top-shelf liquor. What I’m saying is, really go nuts. And if you’re worried about your neighbors, leave a note, something like “Hey guys, so 99% of the time I play my music at moderate to low levels to be a thoughtful neighbor, but today I’m kicking out the jams and I’ll also be jumping around a lot. Just FYI.” Hopefully they’ll understand. (And pay it in kind when it’s their turn to grump.)

5. Curl up in a ball on your couch.

Grab your favorite blanket and cry hard if you need to, or sleep for 14 hours, or watch 6 hours of Gilmore Girls or whatever your therapeutic show happens to be. Turn off your phone and just feel it all. Don’t worry about the laundry that needs to be done or the exercise thing or the texts. Sometimes a good cry is the most productive thing we can be doing.

(Image credit: Alexander_P)

Need some ideas?

Need a new show to add to your Netflix (or Hulu) queue? Consider putting these shows in your self-care marathon rotation.

6. Angry clean something.

Anger often leaves me with loads of pent up energy, and I’ll tell you what: That extra energy boost can lead to some highly effective rage-filled vacuuming. This one is also accidentally productive, so a win-win really.

7. Have a conversation with yourself.

Frustrated with your boss? Your friends? Your sibling? Let imaginary them know exactly how you’re feeling in an expletive- and tear-filled one-sided rant. Then perhaps you’ll be able to have a calmer, more productive real-life discussion once you let out your emotions. Or perhaps not! You do you.

8. Sit and stare.

Out of a window. At nothing in particular. At that upsetting email you received that you can’t believe you received. Stare for however long you want—until the sting is diminished or you feel more at peace.

9. Secretly heckle the internet.

I would never actually take out my frustration on other happier people, because that’s mean and it’s not their fault that I’m crabby. Nevertheless, scrolling through, say, Facebook and letting off steam by saying something out loud to yourself like, “Simmer down about what a ‘blast’ you’re having!” or “We get it, your kids are perfect, your husband bought you jewelry again ‘just because’, and your new gourmet kitchen is the stuff dreams are made of. Big ups to you, Martha! Big freakin’ ups to you!” can actually be quite helpful. Saying it out loud is important. Once it’s out in the ether it’s out of your system.

10. Do a combo of #1 through #9.

Start off with some pillow throwing, then move onto angry cleaning and yelling, then settle onto the sofa with your giant donut (box of donuts?) and turn on your show and just be. Oddly enough, that old mindful gratitude will likely resurface because, hey, look at you: You’re navigating the turbulent waters of life as an authentic, feeling human, living in the moment and accepting the fact that you’re not feeling happy. And that, in my opinion, is mindful as hell.

Do any of you ever feel unabashedly cranky? I’d love to hear what you do! Leave a message in the comments and let’s crab together.