Monday morning blues might be good for you, according to a new book in praise of getting the 'ump
Monday morning blues can easily flip a sunshiny day into something a bit… meh. The good news? A new book looks at the impact of female hormones and argues that moodiness is actually pretty good for us. In the book that’s promising to be a Spring best-seller, Moody Bitches (HarperThorsons, £12.99), Dr Julie Holland argues that the gift of mood swings (thanks, hormones) could be the best thing that ever happened to us. Don’t believe us? Here’s why Dr Julie Holland thinks Monday morning blues are no bad thing…
1. It’s natural. We were designed this way.
‘Women feel more, and for good reasons. By evolutionary design, women’s brains have developed to encourage empathy, intuition, emotionality, and sensitivity. We are the caretakers and the life givers; our ability to recognise and respond to the needs and moods of others is key to their and our survival. We need to intuit when our children are in danger or in need, or when the men around us might have malevolent intent.’
2. Being sensitive to our environment is adaptive.
‘Our hormones naturally oscillate, mirroring our fertility. Women know change (we live it every day) and it’s an asset, not a hindrance. Our fluidity makes us adaptable. It makes us more resilient. To be optimally engineered means perfecting the balance between stability and flexibility. Being locked into one way of thinking, or having constantly artificially elevated levels of serotonin or estrogen, may be stable, but it is not natural or flexible, and very likely it is not adaptive.’
2. Your fertility cycle, PMS included, can simplify your life.
‘The dissatisfaction that comes on a monthly schedule is a gift to you, a chance to make some much-needed changes in how you’re living your life and how much you’re giving, bending, and stretching to meet everyone else’s expectations. What I stress with my patients is this: the thoughts and feelings that come up during this phase of your cycle are real; they are genuine. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or underappreciated, that you’re taking on more than your partner, or that things are out of balance, chances are, it’s all true. I say, let it be a lesson to you. Perhaps you should be putting up with less all month long.’
3. Saying no is good for you.
‘Remember when you make those hard decisions about what to eat, when to exercise or go to sleep, that you are caring for yourself; you are taking care. There is a time to be sensitive to the needs of others, and there is a time for nurturing ourselves. Like a mama lion protecting her cubs, be aggressive in demarcating time that is just for you. Women are often givers and sometimes martyrs. Life doesn’t always have to be about pleasing other people. Resist being a pathological accommodator. Practice saying no. Finding ways to replete your energy is crucial to your functioning; you can’t pour from an empty pitcher.’
4. Your first point of defence should be yourself.
‘Be your own best advocate. You deserve downtime and pleasure, and your needs matter. Honour your hearty appetites for food, sex, and sleep. Stop beating yourself up with “shoulds.” Find the healthiest thing that soothes your aching heart and give it to yourself without shame. If at all possible, avoid the cycle of impulsive gratification followed by self-flagellation. Nothing healthy develops in a medium of self-hatred, rejection, and resentment.’
5. Men don’t know what you’re feeling unless you are overt.
‘Letting yourself cry can be important in communicating with your partner. A clear, visible sign that we’re upset may be just what men need. Women pick up subtle signs of sadness in others 90 percent of the time. Men are better able to discern anger and aggression; when trying to decide whether their female partner is sad, men are right only 40 percent of the time. That’s less than if they flipped a coin to help them answer. This is also a reason to express your feelings verbally and not expect your male partner to know how you’re feeling by how you look or act. They’re simply not constructed for intuiting emotion the way we are.’
6. Crying underscores lessons to your kids and even your colleagues.
‘Sometimes it’s a good idea to let your kids see you cry, especially if they’ve scared you with reckless behaviour or frustrated you with thoughtlessness. Tears can underscore lessons in how their behavior affects others. Being sensitive, and sometimes having your feelings hurt, teaches others how to be more emotionally correct.’
7. Repression can make you sick.
‘It’s survival of the bitchiest. Let your true feelings show, and save your sanity and your health. Being authentic in your actions and in line with your emotions, doing what you feel instead of what you think you should, can lead to improved health. Certain repressive behaviours in women that are considered self-abnegating, like compliance or conscientiousness, can create or exacerbate illness. Suppressing emotions like anger or neediness negatively affects hormonal balance, immune status, GI functioning, and skin, to name just a few. One study reports that the greatest risk factor for death, especially from cancer, is “rationality and anti-emotionality,” that is, denying or repressing the emotional components of the illness. Acting in accordance with how you’re feeling will reduce stress.’
8. Authenticity is attractive.
‘People resonate with authenticity, so go ahead and be yourself, speak your mind, and follow your gut. Act naturally. We all have the capacity to be more powerful in our lives. Stop playing small, rationalising that it helps others to feel more comfortable. It helps no one. Better to shine. It encourages all who see your light to burn more brightly. Lead by example. If you learn to use your moods, they will become your most powerful resource—personally and professionally, physically and spiritually.’
9. Bitches get things done.
‘Sometimes you have to express your dissatisfaction before others around you will get off their asses. Other times, you need to say no so that others will pick up the slack. Whether you’re defending your free time, or your own to-do list, firm boundaries about what you will and won’t accommodate help to keep you productive. And hopefully those around you will learn by your example.’
10. Feeling your negative feelings will also bring you joy.
‘Being empathic and connected with people is one of the greatest joys you can have as a human being. Moodiness goes hand in hand with happiness and you can’t have one without the other.’
Moody Bitches: The Truth about the drugs you’re taking, the sleep you’re missing, the sex you’re not having, and what’s really making you crazy, by Dr Julie (HarperThorsons, £12.99) is out now