Two Steps for Feeling Better

 

Do you ever just feel emotionally stuck with all the feels pressing against your chest, up into your throat and with no sense of how to deal with them?

 

I live that way.

 

My days are endless cycles of running a household and managing the lives of six children. This is a weighty, all-consuming task. My daily goal is to keep up. Keep up with the laundry, the next meal, the math assignments, the shopping lists.

 

My mind chatters constantly. I dream, think and ponder many things big and small. The bigger and more challenging my thoughts, the stronger the emotions (fear, joy, anger, frustration, sadness) seem to rise with no place to release.

 

I get stuck. Bottled emotions aren’t healthy.

 

We mothers need simple ways for releasing our emotions in ways that are appropriate and doable in the midst of real life. We don’t get much alone time or hours to process the inner workings of our souls. We get moments and small windows.

 

Lately when I’m feeling down and without spaces to figure out what my soul is saying, my simple formula for lliving healthy is:

 

MUSIC + MOVEMENT

 

If I need to cry and I can’t (which happens to me all the time: emotional constipation!), I turn on music that puts words to the deeper, darker things that I can’t express. Josh Garrels, Sara Groves, Christa Wells, Fernando Ortego, Lauren Daigle and Sleeping at Last have all given me the words to name my struggles and heartaches hidden in my heart that need to come up, be seen, and healed.

 

A monthly premium subscription to Spotify has been one of the greatest emotional + spiritual gifts to myself.

 

I get up. I move my body. I start cleaning, organizing, gardening or sewing. I allow my hands to draw, to scrub, to weed. I say no to plopping down in a chair to read one more status update about the election on Facebook. I take long walks and snap photographs of trees, sunsets, and dirt roads.

 

One of the greatest accomplishments of someone suffering from depression is to get out of the bed every morning. Rise up. Make your bed. Cut and arrange grocery store flowers. Decorate a mantel. Many times my daily irritations and anger can find healthy release through exercise, creating with my hands, and cleaning my home. 

 

When I start feeling heavy, sad, or stuck and am tempted to shut down, I am going to take my own advice and turn on the music. I will allow myself to cry with lament, to dance with joy, to make their lyrics a prayer to the Lord that I can’t seem to pray.

 

I will move. Putting on running shoes in the morning is a small but effective habit that gets me serious about being active. I will take my walks, tidy my home and putter around my yard. I will take my children on hikes and to parks and splash in rivers or puddles.

 

The easiest thing to do when feeling overwhelmed is to operate from “fight or flight”. Get mad or go away. Until we can receive some time and space to process the deeper soul reasons for these emotions, maybe we can start small practices like music + movement that can help us stay present in our lives in healthier, healing ways. Listen and move.

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