Having a Meltdown?

Join the crowd. It's best, however, to keep it short — and try some of these other ways to cope.

What put you over the edge? A child saying, "Mommy, I can't get on my classroom Zoom"? Your cup of coffee didn't come out quite right? You slipped on that pen you just dropped in your home office? There are so many meltdown triggers lurking around the corner for all of us this year. According to the Wall Street Journal, psychologists say meltdowns can manifest in different ways: Crying. Rage. Silence or an emotional shutdown. "Often, people don't identify with the word 'meltdown' because of the stigma of having a mental-health crisis," Amanda Luterman, a licensed psychotherapist in Montreal, told the newspaper. "They will just say they are having a really horrible day." 

These adult tantrums have an upside, notes the article, allowing us to vent some steam. So accept that the need to act out like this often comes with this new territory, but keep the craziness as brief as possible. And maybe invest in a punching bag like this one, which costs $122.

But most of all, prepare for meltdowns. The WSJ recommends some strategies, such as: 

  • Accept that the meltdown is happening and don't judge yourself. 
  • Plan ahead (if possible) how you will react and find a private space for acting out, or choose the best person to talk to. 
  • Know what you need — and tell others. Do you need to be left alone? Want a hug? 
  • Model a good meltdown. Don't let it out in front of the kids. But do show them a calmer way to deal with such stress.
  • Try an "alternate rebellion," like taking time to do something you enjoy.
  • Move on, apologize if you need to and forgive yourself.