Last night I came out of Magnus’s room after bedtime and said to my husband, “I’m going to bed.”
He was laying across the couch on his phone. He sat up and looked at me funny and said, “It’s 7:30.”
“I know. I’m going to bed to watch something that makes me cry.”
The funny look now turned into a look that was a mix of horror, concern, and confusion. “Why would you do that?”
“Because I need to cry, and I don’t think I can do it on my own.”
Dave had 3 games this weekend which means I had just enough support to get a run in each day and that’s it. It was long, and I was exhausted and done with it all.
If I’m being really honest, I’m also burnt out and feeling at my edge with almost everything.
Being a parent (especially the primary or default parent), has been exhausting during a pandemic and I’m seeing it take it’s toll on me. The unpredictability of school (childcare), what’s allowed to be open, and hum of low anxiety that’s ceaselessly playing in the background is depleting. Not to mention all the social justice issues (they are hard and I’m so glad for these!!!) and very heated division that energetically, emotionally, and mentally takes it’s toll.
Adding to that, the pressure of living in a new community, fewer amenities than I’m used to, no extra support, and because its winter, I’m feeling more isolated and alone then ever.
It makes sense to feel this way, and speaking with many other moms, I know I’m not alone in this. We’re all feeling it while doing our best not to show it.
Here’s what you need to know about emotions, they are a neurobiological event in the body. They are not some “airy fairy” ethereal thing that happens to you. Emotions are cycles that happen in your body which are neurological events (and by neurological, I mean not just happening in your brain but your entire nervous system). Almost every system in your body responds to the chemical and electrical cascade activated by emotion.
Emotions are an involuntary neurological response and have a beginning middle and end. You can imagine emotions like a tunnel: you have to go all the way through to get the light at the end. That means you can’t turn them off, ignore them, or give them the side eye and hope they’ll walk away. You have to go through them and get to the other side to complete the cycle, or you will get stuck in the stress response, which over time, breaks down your body resulting in conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and IBS.
Researchers have found seven effective tools to complete the stress cycle: physical activity, breathing, positive social interaction, laughter, affection, creative expression, and a big old cry.
That’s what I was after, a big old cry.
We all know that crying won’t solve a problem. However, when you allow emotion take over your body it will complete the stress response cycle. It lets the emotion go all the way to the end so it’s not getting trapped in your body.
But, there is a bit of a trick to this type of crying though because it’s not a typical “woes me” cry, its a Mindful cry. You set aside the story of what’s upsetting and turn your attention to the physical experience of crying. You notice the hot tears, the tension in your body, the physical sensation of what crying feel like in your body. This is all done without feeding it more thoughts about what triggered the crying and focusing on sensation of crying instead.
I am highly attuned to myself, and I knew what I needed.
Last night, I needed an outlet for all the stress, hopelessness, isolation, sadness, exhaustion, overwhelm, and irritability that had been building. I needed the emotions to move through me, so I could move on.
So I went to bed, put on “This is Us” and made myself cry.
PS. If you’re wondering how my cry went, it went great! This morning I was up at 6am for CrossFit and I feel like a new woman…for today at least. One day at a time, right?
Hey, I want to hear from you. Tell me in the comments how you’re feeling and what you’re struggling with. I feel like such a whinner when I share like this (I know I have it so much better than so many), however what I’m feeling is real, and what you’re feeling is real too. My hope is that this post will give you validation and tools to cope. It’s been a long fucking road dammit! So, tell me how you’re feeling, what you’re struggling with, and what you want to hear more about from me.
I’m here walking this wild path right alongside you. I got you.