On day 76 of my 366-day self-care challenge, I explored crying as a therapeutic act of self-care.
Yesterday, we said goodbye to one of our sweetest family members. Scout, our youngest German Shepherd, drifted away peacefully in our loving arms.
Needless to say, there were many tears.
Crying is a natural response to stress; it helps us release tension and move through the grieving process. While it can be a symptom of other health conditions like depression (especially when it occurs regularly and over an extended period of time), crying in response to things that stir our emotions is normal. Some researchers even believe that crying helps the body reestablish homeostasis after experiencing high amounts of stress.
We cry for a number of reasons: to communicate to others that we need help, to sympathize with and comfort others who are going through tough times and to mourn, and we’re sometimes moved to tears when we experience something beautiful. Crying is a form of self-care.
When I was little my mom used to say, “You only get one day to cry.” Of course, she didn’t mean that all of life’s hardships could be dealt with in a single day, but it has always reminded me that the longer I spend feeling sorry for myself – for my losses and heartaches – the less time I’m able to experience the joys in life.
In this case, I’m choosing to spend more time remembering Scout’s beautiful face, her silliness, and the love she brought to our family and friends.