Sometimes Self Care Means Letting Yourself Cry
“Cry. Forgive. Learn. Move on. Let your tears water the seeds of your future happiness.”
You’ve hit a low week. Your motivation has dropped, optimism is obsolete, and your overall morale is considerably compromised. Everywhere you look, you’re bombarded with chipper reminders emphasizing the importance of self-care and the significance of “filling your cup first.” The suggestions you find are logical and legitimate, but they also contain an often-overlooked obstacle. During a season of life in which you’re so overwhelmed and exhausted, sometimes engaging in a self-care practice can feel like a chore within itself.
Self-Care Isn’t Always As It Seems
So, what exactly is a self-care practice? Social media, never short on ideas or opinions, has 101 remedies to rush away your internal rainy day. Draw a bath! Do a DIY facial! Try a gratitude journal! Ignore, suppress, don’t surrender! Rise above! All of these are decent suggestions, especially if you’re down for a little distraction. But don’t be fooled by the hype; sometimes, the most replenishing act of self-care isn’t something desirable or Instagram-worthy. Sometimes the most effective form of self-care is simply letting yourself cry.
The Science Is There
While crying still seems to hold an unnecessary stigma that’s shrouded in shame, studies show that crying can be both productive and beneficial for relieving stress. In a study published in the journal Emotion titled Using crying to cope, researchers found that holding back your tears exasperates stress while, on the contrary, letting yourself cry may lead to a quicker coping and adaptation. This means that even science supports your need to have the occasional sob-session when necessary.
Feel Your Feelings
But this concept isn’t limited to just crying. Sometimes self-care is letting yourself scream, run, rant, sit in dumbfounded silence, or any other action or inaction that allows you to spend an honest moment in reflection, in a manner that doesn’t compromise the safety or wellbeing of yourself or others. Because at the end of the day, people just want the freedom to feel their full range of emotions without being pressured to immediately smother them in an Epsom salt soak. You are dealing with a lot. Life right now is a lot. It’s okay to let yourself not be okay.
So the next time you feel yourself holding back tears or other pent up emotions, do yourself a favor and let them flow through you. Confronting your feelings and being honest with yourself about how you feel not only takes courage, but it can be incredibly liberating. However, if you find yourself starting to exhibit some symptoms of depression don’t be afraid to reach out for assistance. Treatment and therapies are available to help you unpack your load, and no matter what your circumstances, you never have to carry the weight of your pain alone.