When the season turned from summer to fall I found myself particularly weepy. It generally happens every year, and every year I forget that it happens. In Chinese medicine one of the correspondences for autumn is grief (the other side of that coin is awe or inspiration) and so it’s not really that weird that as the leaves turn and fall, so do the tears.
I checked in with a few others, turns out weeping was a theme amongst many of my loved ones recently. I wasn’t surprised because Joy and I see this in patients when they come in for acupuncture in the fall – lots of stuff that people are feeling weepy about. Good stuff, bad stuff and some neutral stuff too! Some people are awesome at crying (children are awesome at this), they let those tears fall easily. Then there are those of us who don’t let go as easily. Those tears can get stuck and cause a ton of anguish – fatigue, misplaced anger, susceptibility to getting the flu and more. It’s easy to forget that holding onto something tightly – like an emotion we stuff down – is even more exhausting than letting it go and just expressing what’s there. It takes energy to hold on, and hence takes energy away from other things (like digestion for example).
I fall into the category of people who have a hard time crying. Even when I want to most often I just cannot get it out so easily – I haven’t figured that out yet – how to let the tears fall when they first arrive. This photo is an example of me desperately attempting to hold back even on my wedding day (happy tears, I can’t even get out the happy tears).
But I digress…
So this year when I felt the weepy coming on, I also spent some time thinking about all the ways I know of to help myself cry. Here’s the shortlist for anyone out there who, like me, could use a bit of coaxing to get the weepies out. And this is the list that excludes tequila and wine. You’ll feel better after that cry, I promise.
- Stub your toe on something. Seriously! Sometimes all I need is to knock my elbow too hard or smack my knee into something. Luckily (in this case) I am clumsy and when I have a cry stuck inside all it takes is a hard blow to my finger or toe and the tears flow like the nile. Typically it’s tears mixed with laugher but hey, it does the job.
- Call a friend and invite him/her to “cry-fest.” Here’s what you do… watch a movie like Beaches or The Notebook (y’know – whatever movie is likely to make you cry) and just have at it. Or have a conversation about something terribly sad like your childhood pet who has passed away or some memory that still gets ya in the gut. Better yet talk about how you are actually feeling right now or the situation at hand. These chats can open the door to free flowing tears.
- Alternately, host “cry-fest” an attend solo. For some of us privacy is the key to tears. I hosted my own sessions once by watching the first season of Parenthood with my cats while in my sweatpants with a large box of tissues. It took a few weeks but ALL of the tears came out over that time.
- Go for a drive. Just you and your wheels. I like to crack the windows just a bit and make sure I am warm enough even with the breeze. I put on my favorite Pandora station and I leave my headset to the side so I won’t be inclined to call my besties and ignore my feelings. With just the right tunes and me-time the thoughts start to come and the tears follow.
- If you are partnered, actually talk to your beloved. With the daily grind it’s possible that you and your sweetie haven’t had a heart to heart in awhile. Make it a priority to crawl into bed together, snuggle up and tell him or her what’s on your mind (the most embarrassing thoughts, your greatest fears… the vulnerable things) and my guess is that as you open up your mouth to share your eyes will water up as well. At least, that’s what happens to me. And it’s nice to have a chest to lay on or a shoulder to snuggle into while you sniffle.
Good luck with your weeping and holler at us if you need some help. A great yoga class or acupuncture needle here or there plus a safe listening ear can help too.