Is it just me, or does crankiness come easier this time of year? When the hot weather is relentless (though I’m welcoming this week’s reprieve) and I’m in constant harvest mode, there’s little time to stop and take a breather, allowing irritability to set in more severely. If you’re a friend or family member who has witnessed one of my sleep-deprived snapping points, I sincerely apologize but beware—there are surely more to come.
Maybe you can relate to this season of stress. Extended daylight hours mean you’re up earlier and to bed later, giving you little time to recuperate from the long work day. When sweat is dripping down your temples as you’re bent over in the field harvesting beans or pulling weeds from garden rows, your head gets foggy and it can be hard to continue trudging about your chores. Sometimes all you long for is a cool shower and a fan blowing on your face, and if anyone gets in the way of that, they better watch out.
It’s times like these that even simple, non-farm-related things can send us on a rampage. Slowed traffic on the way home from your day job makes you want to scream. A dirty dish sitting in the sink instead of in the dishwasher like you asked sends you into a tizzy. If you’ve over-reacted to the small things—don’t worry, we’ve all been there. It’s this time of year, when our stress levels are high and our workloads are heavy, that our worst has the tendency to reveal itself—but fortunately there’s a way we can overcome it.
It might sound cliché, but the old Beatles lyric "All you need is love” hits it right on the nose. Intentionally adding moments of sweetness into your day not only helps encourage those around you but can drastically improve your mood, as well. Studies over the past decade have even shown that acts of kindness can go so far as to improve your health.
When you’re running on your last bit of fuel, practicing love can seem like trying to climb a mountain, but I encourage you to give it a try. Even small bits of gentleness have great power—they may even flip your whole cranky situation on its head. As the author Tom Robbins says, "Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won't adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice.”
You’ll find that once you starting adding love back into your life, it’s not really a struggle at all. It takes over the driver’s seat, and you get to go along for the ride.
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