Sounds ambitious, huh? ”How to cry”. I mean, we all are pretty good at it. Know the mechanics and all, since our very first days, so – what’s there to guide through?
Well, let me explain the situation first.
Yesterday was a bad day for me. Or rather it was a bad evening – the day itself was pretty good, actually. I walked with my sister’s dog, bought a couple of shoes, worked on the blog, colored a few patterns; overall, it was a nice day.
And then, around 7 PM, I decided to write a post. Barely anything came out of it. I was struggling with every sentence, getting more and more irritated with every passing minute. Yes, I probably got tired after a long day, but did I care? No. I needed to finish the post.
That’s the short story of how I ended up in the middle of my kitchen at 11 PM, crying into the dog’s neck and feeling like utter sh*t.
So, after I wiped my tears, and climbed under a blanket, and was ready to dive deep into the world of my imagination to lull myself to sleep, a thought came to me. Hey, it said, if you’re going through this right now, maybe someone else’s too. Maybe someone needs a helping hand or some kind of support.
I wish someone explained to me the basics of a crying fit when I still wasn’t used to it – it’d save me from a lot of stress.
Of course, I’m not a therapist and can’t help you with thoughts and feelings that brought you to this point – but I can share with you my own ways of dealing with them. I’d like to note though, that I’m writing this the very next day (it is 1 PM, to be precise), and while I am a bit tired, I feel much lighter already. Which means it was a one-time thing.
But if you feel bad for longer, or just overall have that gut feeling that you need proper help – find a therapist too (coincidentally, my own appointment is in three days, so hooray for that).
Alright, now that we cleared that out, let’s get started.
Allow Yourself to Cry
When depression and anxiety were only settling in my head (almost four years ago, phew, time just flies) I used to restrain myself. The feeling of every bad thought growing tenfold and stomping all over my mind was so strange that I was pushing it all away.
I was embarrassed to cry, even on my own.
Well, guess what? That is not the best strategy.
You will probably cry anyway. And if you won’t, the lump in your throat will be there for hours or even days, so what’s good in that?
Moral: better cry for 10 minutes than fight yourself for three hours. Noted? Good, moving on.
It Will Pass
That’s something we all should remember.
You won’t be like this forever.
But in that particular case, there’s an additional meaning: Your body has limits. When you’re crying because of negative thoughts coming from every side, it might feel like the hell will never end.
But it will. Eventually.
Allow your feelings to flow as much as your tears. Don’t keep them in your head, don’t dwell on particular thoughts for longer, just let everything go in and out – and soon it’ll be over.
You might be at the peak of your emotions – but the slide is not so far away.
And you know what comes next, right?
Take a Break and Just Breathe
You can always feel that moment when your body is done with the job. Everything you had to let out is already out there – words in the air, tears on your hands or soaked through the tissue.
Now your mind (and your body) need a couple of minutes to get back to normal functioning.
Familiar with that blank staring at the wall after a good cry? Or weakness in your limbs? Or heavy eyelids that feel like stinging bags? Yeah, that’s not your normal state, and your body knows it too.
Sit down and just breathe for a few minutes. You can also lie down, but if you’re like me and tend to fall asleep easily – don’t, it’s too early for that.
Allow your mind to not focus on anything but your own breath. Your thoughts will quietly find their way to the appropriate places.
Let your body find its storage of energy and send it where you need it most.
You just went through a huge and overwhelming shake – and hey, I’m proud of you. We may sometimes forget how hard it is to get through even one, even short crying session. How much negativity we were holding in for it to burst out.
I’m proud of you for entering that storm of thoughts and feelings and coming out of it.
We’re here. You made it.
Now, it’s time to take care of yourself.
First of all, drink a glass of water, at least one. Your body needs this. Depending on the time and force of the sobs, your throat might be sore, so you probably want to drink anyway.
After, remember to wash your face. I prefer to climb into a hot shower – it helps me to relax completely – but it isn’t always an option, so at least wash yourself.
It might be weird or embarrassing to look at yourself in the mirror, but that’s you in your purest state. Don’t be shy. Be there for yourself.
And you know what? You are still beautiful, even with red pupils and swollen eyes. Don’t let anyone (even yourself) tell you otherwise.
Now, let’s get to the yummy part.
Go to the kitchen and get that hot chocolate pack, find marshmallows, and maybe even a chocolate bar. Or, even better, banana. Or apple. Or strawberries. You see where I’m going?
Your body needs energy, and your mind needs that sweet flavor – partially because that’s what you were getting as a child. Your subconscious remembers everything. Just be moderate with your cravings: depression loves sugar in your blood.
But if you’re not a fan of sweets (yes, I know you exist), grab anything else you like. Not heavy meals though, just a light snack: you need to restore energy, not overwhelm your body again.
Get Under Blanket
Or find any other way to keep yourself warm. Although a weighted blanket can even help with calming down your anxiety, so honestly, get in the bed.
Your body’s just lost a lot of energy: don’t waste what’s left on keeping your temperature stable. That’s why I mentioned hot chocolate before – it’s a get-go for me, two points in one. Herbal tea is a great option as well, preferably chamomile, peppermint, or any other that helps you relax.
Side-note: It’s better to keep a pack at home at all times, you never know when it might come in handy.
But hot drinks aside, the best way to warm up is to climb into bed. Even if it’s too early to sleep, even if you have other things to do (which, if you can, better leave for later) – allow yourself to enjoy the cozy weight of your blankets for as long as you can.
It helps not only your body but your mind too. It’s your safe place, you can relax here, it’s okay.
Read, Watch, Relax
Yup, we are going full unwind mode.
You can choose whatever you’d like to watch or read. Maybe there’s something you wanted to lay your hands on for a while?
But I always prefer my old favorites.
I keep a list of all the movies (and one series) that I loved enough to rewatch again, and again, and again – and I always come back to it on such days.
Remember everything you could talk about for hours, be that a sci-fi movie, latest series, or an old anime, and create your own list! Preferably before the next time you’ll need it. Not all of them have to be outright positive – although a little smile won’t hurt – but just the familiarity of the actors’ voices and settings can do magic to your mind.
It always feels like meeting old friends again.
I’d say the same goes for books… but not really, at least not for me. I have only one book I can read over and over again, and that’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass” (sometimes Wonderland too, but that’s my first option always). I’m not gonna go into my two hours rant about why I love that book so much, but I just do.
That’s why, if you’re going for reading, I recommend you to try fairy tales. Or fantasy. The brighter and nicer, the better. Let your imagination flow through time, space, and all kinds of portals into other dimensions. Fly with dragons, sail with Vikings, fight a dystopian government, or fall in love with the vastness of space.
But, if you have other favorites, go for them. Just immerse yourself into something you already know and love – sometimes it’s warmer than the softest blanket.
Take a Nap
As I already mentioned (multiple times), your body needs to restore its energy, and your mind needs to clear things up a bit. What can be a better way to let them do their job than just getting your consciousness out of the way?
Let’s admit it, you’re probably exhausted anyway.
Don’t feel bad for “wasting time” if it happens during the day – this nap is something you need. Like a plaster for your wounded mind. You wouldn’t leave your finger to bleed, right?
You will feel better when you’ll wake up. Maybe, a bit slow and groggy, probably with a headache and sore eyes – but it’d come anyway, better to have some positive effects as well. Also, you might see something wonderful in your dreams – why not give it a go?
And so, that’s it, my short and simple guide for you to cry through! That didn’t sound good, did it?..
Hope it was helpful anyway, and always remember – there’s no shame in crying. No shame in letting your emotions out. There’s that weird stigma we grew up with – but crying is an action as important as laughter. We’ve all, and I mean all, every single one of us, been there. Just don’t let it affect you further, and always pay attention to your mental health.