Allowing Myself To Feel Worse, So I Could Feel Better

I bawled and bawled. Eventually, I realized as a parent it was the best thing I could have done.

I’ve been trying my best to hold it together for my family and my students, trying to look on the bright side and be grateful, but this week was the last straw for me. Our Public Health leaders announced their recommendations for Christmas, and it was so hard to process, as I thought of all of the families struggling, and of how many people use the Holiday celebrations and gatherings to recharge their internal batteries, myself included. Deep down I’m not surprised at their recommendations, but hearing it forced me to face the reality. And so, I wept and wept. I bawled 3 times in the span of 24 hours. One was even in the middle of the night. I let it all out, all the frustrations that have been building for me, I just released it all.

That word ‘release’ is why I know it was the best thing I could have done.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been getting more irritable with my kids, my husband, and I’ve been less efficient at work. I’ve been going through a lot of ups and downs. I know I’m not alone in this - maybe that’s why I’m choosing to write about it.

The weather is changing, but I absolutely love winter and the colder weather never stops me from going outside. I have been using outdoors and nature to keep myself afloat, but my thoughts go to all the people who despise winter and I worry about a lot of families.

In many families, as frustrations rise, people are often lashing out in anger at the people they love, which unfortunately is another form of release. I see the fallout at school with the teens who are regularly witnessing or receiving anger from the adults in their lives. It is so incredibly hard on these kids.

So, when I was crying, I knew it was the healthier option for me. I don’t want to bottle it up until It comes out as anger. After I had fully let it out over a couple of days, I was blessed with clearer thinking of what things were like for my kids. I tallied hours in my mind and realized that my teens are pulling longer work hours sometimes than myself or my husband are. (With their school and homework, chores, and part-time job.) So, while my daughter was out for a walk, and my son was out at work, I did one small act. I did their unfinished chores for them, made their beds and tidied their rooms. I felt no resentment, I felt only compassion. Even though for weeks I’d been exhausted from work, I felt a fresh wave of energy.

Since my emotional release this week, I’ve also set aside quality time with my husband, and I feel a renewed strength to continue to support the struggling families I interact with in my job at school. Additionally, knowing that some people who usually might give to charities are not able to give this year, I’ve decided to give a little extra.

Non-judgemental compassion, that is where I want to draw my energy from in this pandemic, compassion for those outside of my home, compassion for those in my home. My tears allowed me to re-enter this space. Now again being able to see everything through the eyes of compassion without being tainted by my building frustrations and subconscious judgments, it just feels so peaceful.

So, to all of you parents, our ‘caregiver fatigue’ & ‘pandemic fatigue’ are real, but it may simply mean that we need to give space and time to grieve. We can’t do it all, all the time. Let go, Let it out. Sadness is an important step on our path to internal peace and joy.

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