The world is in chaos it is scary and a bit overwhelming. Before we get started, let us take a collective moment to breathe. Maybe like me, you have been holding your breath as every one of your body’s senses has been bombarded by emotions too quick to process.
So, I invite you, no, I implore you, find a comfortable seat, relax your shoulders, and plant your feet firmly on the floor. Close your eyes. Place your left hand on your belly, and your right hand on your heart. Take a deep breath through your nose, feeling the rise and fall of your belly and chest. Do this three times. Now, sit for a moment and just feel the awareness of stillness.
Even when you were not physically moving over the last 12 weeks, your mind has been in constant motion. I would bet you a butter pecan iced coffee that you are emotionally, financially, and spiritually exhausted.
Having been hit simultaneously with a global pandemic which has killed over 120,000 people in the United States alone, left 40 million Americans unemployed, plural police shootings which have sparked nationwide protests. Fueled by 400 years of systemic racism, brutal injustice, and downright disrespect of the human rights of black and brown folks in this country.
As women of a certain age, we have become very adept at hiding our feelings; after all, it would be selfish of us to spend time dealing with our own emotions, when we need to be the glue that holds our world together. So, we pack them away in a little box with the promise that we will unpack them later. Well, my friend later is now.
Some of us were never taught the importance of examining how we feel, that was a luxury for the rich and famous. I mean really, “was this not an issue of class in that the higher socioeconomic classes could spend their time contemplating their sadness while the rest of us regular folks had to get to work? How possible was it, really, for the average person, to be with or in their sadness, “sitting still” when things needed to get done? After all, didn’t we all need to get out the door and earn a living?” Our parents showed us they loved us by providing for us, as a single mom my mother rarely had time to ask us how we felt or really examine how she was feeling, she was too busy trying to put food on the table. Unfortunately, the cycle continued with me.
Feeling your feelings is not an easy task, believe me, I know. I am the queen of holding things in and telling myself that I will deal with it some other time. When things are not as hectic, when my life is in order, or when I have more time. I placated myself bingeing on Netflix, alcohol, food, and shopping. Until being unemployed meant that I had to let go of these vices and deal with my feelings.
“When you are focused on numbing your feelings rather than processing them and using healthy coping strategies, you prevent yourself from living a full and meaningful life. Hurt, frustration, pain, sadness, and anger are all-natural and healthy parts of the human experience. When we try to suppress these emotions, we are unable to thrive.”
At the end of a recent yoga class, one of my students exhaling loudly said, “I do not believe that I have taken a real breath all day.” Your feelings help you decide whether you are in alignment with your wants and needs. The scary part about taking that deep breathe feeling your emotions and identifying how they show up in your body is that you must submit to being vulnerable.
Being vulnerable can provide us with the key we need to live a full life. If we’re brave, it will allow us to finally let our guard down and open ourselves up to the sadness, disbelief, and frustration we may be holding on too, which means “more energy and attention we have to devote to our functioning life.”
Does holding your feelings in lead to emotional eating, shutting yourself off from family or friends, sadness, headaches, gut issues, overspending, or yelling at co-workers?
Your assignment this week is to sit in a quiet place, use the breathing exercise we did at the beginning to anchor your mind. This process will be as long or as short as you would like it to be, it must be done. At the end of your day, take out a blank piece of paper, set the timer for ten minutes, and just write how you are feeling. My free writing led to me address some things that I had pushed down but that needed to be addressed immediately, such as the daily emotional eating I had been doing to ease my frustrations. Once you complete the activity, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know how this exercise worked or did not work for you.
You can conquer anything if you acknowledge its existence. The more we try to hide our feelings or put off dealing with them until some arbitrary future date, the more we will use unhealthy coping skills to bottle up our emotions. It is time to feel again.
With Peace and Love,
Whenever you are ready, here are two ways I can help you create the future you’ve always wanted:
- Join the private Welcome to Your Life Midlife Made Easier Facebook group, a curated community exclusively for fun-loving midlife. Learn from and connect with other midlife women; this is your village, a safe place to vent your concerns and celebrate your wins. Click here to join (note: you must answer the questions to be considered).
- Work with me privately. I am looking for 10 women over 50 who are looking, to lose weight naturally, reduce their stress, and increase their joy. If this is you, please fill out the form below. All eligible applications will be contacted by phone or email. Click here to apply! Your first call is free!
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