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Feeling Grumpy All the Time? 6 Health Checks to Do

We all feel grumpy now and then, but if it feels like you're constantly in a bad mood, it might be time to look deeper. We talked with Dr. Mary Poore, who specializes in holistic health and she gave us six health checks you should do if you find yourself grumpy all the time.

Long Term vs. Short Term Irritability

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Sometimes you're simply tired, hungry, or overstimulated. In these cases, the irritability you're experiencing is something you're usually able to turn around.

If you're feeling angry, irritable, and/or pessimistic most of the time, that's another matter. It's one that should alert you that you need to address your own health. Feeling grumpy all the time is definitely a warning signal to pay attention to.

6 Health Checks if You're Always Grumpy

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It's easy to put off doing things like going in for a regular check-up. For some of us, that means we're overlooking serious health issues or suffering needlessly – feeling grumpy and tired all the time when we could be feeling better with a little TLC.

Many treatable health issues can cause exhaustion or irritability.

I asked a health professional about issues that may cause mood changes to gather information for this article, but of course, you'll want to do your own research and talk to your own doctor.

1. Thyroid

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Both hyper and hypothyroid conditions can cause mood changes. A friend of mine who discovered she had a thyroid disorder described the symptoms she experienced before her diagnosis as feeling like having PMS all the time and being perpetually tired.

If you're finding it extremely difficult to regulate your moods, noticing changes in your appetite, hair loss, and chronic fatigue, definitely ask to have your thyroid levels checked.

2. Anemia

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Anemia is a frequent issue among new moms, but you can also be at risk due to poor diet, intestinal disorders, chronic diseases, infections, and other conditions. Anemia is caused by low iron levels and can leave you feeling tired and grumpy.

3. Blood Sugar

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Swings in blood sugar can be a serious cause of a bad temper. Most of the time this can be resolved by eating regular healthy meals involving good fats, complex carbohydrates, and protein. However, deeper issues such as diabetes can cause irritability as well. 

It's easy to grab simple carbohydrates like crackers, chips or sugary foods for a quick fix. The problem is these cause your blood sugar to go through peaks and valleys.

Simple sugars are absorbed so quickly that the body over-reacts and sends out too much insulin – causing low blood sugar. This leads to poor concentration and poor self control. (source)

4. B Vitamins

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B-vitamins are critical for nerve and brain function as well as for converting carbohydrates into energy. You can take a B-complex vitamin and also ask your doctor about testing for low levels of B-vitamins if you suspect this might be a problem for you.

B12 and folate, in particular, may ward off depression and other mental problems. Many studies link B vitamins to the maintenance of a good mood.

5. Caffeine Intake

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I will be the last one to tell you to stop drinking coffee because I would be a major hypocrite. I love my morning coffee. However, it's worth considering that caffeine can cause irritability, and notice if you need to cut back. 

Especially on days when you don't have enough sleep and have a long to-do list, too much caffeine may add to the likelihood that you will lose your temper.

6. Hormonal Cycles

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Have you noticed PMS being a major cause of anger or grouchiness? If you notice your temper is linked to your cycles you may want to ask a health practitioner about ideas to help even your hormonal swings.

Some gynecologists will have ideas; you might also consider asking a naturopath, acupuncturist, or midwife.

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Don't Forget Self-Care Basics

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When life throws you unexpected challenges or gets too busy your own self-care can be neglected. Here are simple ways to take care of yourself.

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Get Moving

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Get movement into your daily routine. Movement = endorphins = feeling better. Just taking a walk can make a difference.

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Regular Meals

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Eat regular meals with protein for lasting energy. If meal planning and prep feel like too much right now, shoot for just one healthy meal a day and keep easy snacks on hand that are just for you.

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Prioritize Sleep

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Do whatever you can to get the sleep you need.

Write Down Your Plan

Research shows that when we write things down we are way more likely to do them. Write down the steps you'll take to make yourself a priority.

Most Importantly – Don't Ignore These Signals

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If you feel down or grumpy all the time – don't ignore it! You might have an underlying health issue that is causing problems and you need (and deserve!) to get some help.

If you're finding yourself in this grumpy-all-the-time boat, make yourself a priority immediately. Your whole family will be better off for it.

Author: Alissa Zorn

Title: Trauma-Informed Coach

Expertise: childhood emotional neglect, perfectionism, parenting, journaling, comics, doodling, coaching

Alissa Zorn is the founder of She's a trauma-informed coach and cartoonist passionate about helping people overcome perfectionism and shame to build authentic, joyful lives. Alissa has been featured on the Good Men Project, Wealth of Geeks, Motherly, and more.