Living In A Pressure Cooker: Five Unorthodox Tools To Release Tension

Primal Scream

It was sometime last week, between learning my father-in-law had his second stroke in 2 months, my stepdaughter questioning college, managing the large expanse between my — erm — conservative approach to social distancing and at-risk folks who are close to me choosing a more, ahem, liberal approach…

It was between all this that I lost two computers, navigating setting up my three children with their kindergarten, first grade and (totally different curriculum) first grade digital classroom that I realized my one son (after 3 separate trips to the bathroom for a phantom poo), well his teacher created a video that was recorded without sound. That meant I would have to read her lips and translate to my son.

That is when I screamed. Like a big, uncontrollable, LOUD scream.

It felt so damn good.

I turned to my 7-year-old son and said. “This isn’t about you at all I just REALLY REALLY need this right now” and screamed again.

He patted my hand and said “I understand”.

I screamed a third time. Pretty sure the neighbors and anyone walking by on the street could hear.

I cared for a sec (what would the neighbor’s think), and then I really, really didn’t care.

I felt better for the rest of the day. I got a good night’s sleep.

I needed that primal screen. And so do you.

Try it. And let me know how it goes.

In addition to the primal scream, may I recommend the following:

FAITH
I’ve been doing a lot of research on faith, religion, spirituality and meaning lately. In times of great tumult, these structures provide ways to think about change. It’s no mistake that AA is based on religion, and it’s no mistake that people become more religious on their death beds. When we are in great stress, we look for ways to make sense of it all.

I’ve been listening to Richard Rohr, Oprah’s friend Bishop TD Jakes, and Pema Chodron, the great Buddhist nun. You can pull tarot cards, go to a psychic, bake challah and light candles on Friday nights.

Meditate. Take an awe walk. Use the tools that people have used for millennia to make sense of that which cannot be understood with logic.


CRYING
I spoke with a therapist colleague recently who is the mother of a young son. She confessed, “There was a lot of crying in the house today and it wasn’t by anyone under five.” I’m crying a lot too. Feeling joy, love, great frustration and anguish. I think I’ve cried more in the last few months than I have every other year.

Cry. Feel. Feel. Watch the tear jerker movies, do what you need to do. Cry. Please let yourself cry. Feel all the feels, don’t run away from them. Don’t bury them so they become a cancer in your body.

Feel all the feels. Let those leaky faucets flow.


HUMOR
I let out an audible gasp when SNL shared that they were going on hiatus for the summer. “They can’t!” I said to my husband. But oh yes they can. And they need to.

And we still need to laugh. Because we’re in a comi/tragic situation, we need to balance the great tragedy with a significant amount of comedy. So find your comedians, watch the one hour specials, get raunchy, laugh about your family, laugh at yourself.

Just make sure you’ve got a solid dose of humor right now to help you balance out the pain.


SEX / MASTURBATION
Ah, the great release! Whether you have a partner, or the person who can read your mind with what you need sexually (ie. yourself), have at it. The build up, the release, the fabulous nap or night’s sleep that comes thereafter.

Please don’t stop your sex life; you need it. You need the connection, the intimacy, the creativity, The physical release. The chemical release. We all need a giant steam valve release of tension and a fabulous orgasm can help.

So there you have it; five underutilized pandemic coping tools
– The Primal Scream
– Faith
– Crying
– Humor
– Sex/Masturbation

I hope this helps you through the next phase. And as always, I’m here for you if I can be of service.

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