Everyone has those days that result in a volcanic eruption because you’ve spent the better half of the week or month suppressing your emotions. It all just happens to unravel at that very inopportune moment when you go to grab that KitKat you’ve wanted all day, but your hand comes back with nothing because no one wanted to throw the empty bag in the trash.
It may look like you’re just really upset that you can’t have your post-lunch treat you’ve dreamed about all morning, but in reality, it was just the last in a long line of emotional floodgates that had to open sometime or another.
If you’re like me, you don’t display your emotions. I pride myself on being able to mask a lot of what I’m feeling through the work day, and once I cross the threshold of my basement apartment, I go full blown dramatic actress in a death scene on Broadway.
Tears are streaming from places I didn’t know tears could stream, I’m thinking that curling up in the fetal position on the entryway floor is both comfortable and reasonable even though my bed is three feet away.
I’m a hot goddamn mess.
Other people can wear their emotions on their sleeve, with integrity. I can immediately tell when someone is an emotionally balanced human because he or she is able to accept mood swings as a natural part of living and know that people aren’t happy 100% of the time.
I guess I grew up differently.
My mother would argue that I am dramatic. But realistically, I have outbursts full of emotion because most of the time I suppress what I’m actually feeling. I don’t ever speak out about things until they have built up, boiled over, and reared their ugly head inside my mind to the point where I need to bitch, complain, yell, or freak out about it until someone listens and validates my emotional state.
I realize this is unhealthy, but when it’s been a certain way for twenty years, it’s hard to consciously make changes. I’m working on it. Maybe.
I have triggers for when I know I’m getting close to an emotional explosion. It allows me to assess what I’m feeling and then take the appropriate measures to immediately store it in my feeling chest until I can’t possibly squish another one in there.
And then I accept the emotional overload.
For starters, I always assume it’s because I’m due for a cry. I take out my personal calendar, go back page by page, and try and remember the last time I shed a tear. If it’s a sizeable amount of time, I take it as my cue to stay in on a Friday, pop in Marley and Me or A Walk to Remember, ball my eyeballs out, and be good to go for Saturday night.
Never underestimate the power of using a q-tip. If you’re feeling crappy, take a shower, get a q-tip for each ear and go to town. Cleaning the wax build up out of your ears after a hot shower will not only make you feel better, it will make you realize you’ve been listening to your television on a concert-level decibel which will also make your roommates happy they don’t have to listen to the George Lopez show with you until 2am anymore.
If your car has any gas in its tank, take it for a good ole mindless drive. Make sure you have a playlist on deck that transports you back to the happiest time of your life, which for me was the Medieval Times field trip in 7th grade when we played truth or dare in the back of the bus and I got to kiss my crush in the coach bus bathroom (BIG DREAMS, WHATUP?!).
Though unpopular, exercising is an awesome way to reduce stress and deal with problems. You never realize how much crap is weighing on your mind until you set out for a three mile jog and you end up running for six miles and then finish your workout at a boxing class. Just kidding, only crazy people do that (What? Who am I?). But seriously, go for a run, a walk, or a hike and just think. It’s amazing what some exercise and fresh air will do for your mind.
On the complete opposite side of the health and fitness spectrum, I have found that dabbling in gluttony soothes the soul like a stick of butter on a pancake. When having a bad day, there are few things more relaxing than sitting in your bed, sweatpants up to your boobs (allowing room for expansion, of course) holding a tub of Ben and Jerrys in your right hand and a bottle of Cabernet in your left. Wine and dairy don’t seem to go together, but after the fourth glass, you can’t really tell what anything tastes like anyways, so eat up, boozebag.
We all have weeks where we want to tear our hair out and poke other people in the eyeballs so they can feel our pain. My advice to you is to not do that, because a hefty lawsuit and being fired from your job are far worse than admitting you enjoy crying when you watch Bambi or you thought about punching Kristen Stewart during your boxing class.
Trust me, these things work.