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Well Being

Pandemic-exhausted moms gather in an empty field and let out a collective primal scream

Pandemic-exhausted moms gather in an empty field and let out a collective primal scream

A group of around 20 moms gathered at a Boston area high school to vent their frustrations loudly.

The pandemic has been hard on everyone, but there are certain groups of people who have faced particularly intense challenges these past two years. Healthcare workers? For sure. Teachers? Definitely. Parents? Um, yes.

Moms specifically? Yesssss.

It's hard to describe how hard navigating the pandemic with kids has been. Figuring out childcare when schools and daycare centers shut down, managing kids' remote or hybrid schooling, constantly making decisions about what's safe and what's not, dealing with the inconsistency and chaos of it all, weighing risks with who is vaccinated and who isn't—none of it has been easy. Many parents are also raising kids with mental, emotional, behavioral or physical challenges that have only been made harder by pandemic life.


COVID-19 has forced us to give up and/or alter the systems we rely on to keep our lives running smoothly, and because moms tend to take on the lion's share of child-rearing and logistical household management, we've felt those changes intensely. And at this point, heading into the third year of pandemic uncertainty, we're exhausted. Wiped out. So done.

That's why when editor Lucy Huber shared that her online moms group had invited everyone to an empty field to scream, it resonated with so many:

Some days we just want to scream because it feels like we can't do anything else. We need to vent somewhere, let out some of this tension and frustration and exhaustion we're carrying around, and we don't want to take it out on our families. The idea of getting together with other moms who get that feeling is incredibly appealing.

The group Huber mentioned actually did this, gathering at a high school in the Boston area on the evening of January 13. Around 20 moms showed up and participated in a group scream session led by licensed therapist Sarah Harmon, according to GMA.

Looks cathartic, doesn't it?

The idea of a primal scream isn't exactly new. In fact, The New York Times set up a "primal scream" hotline for parents to call and scream or cry or vent about anything they feel like getting off their chest. The hotline number is 212-556-3800, and you can let it all out for a full minute.

"Any of our readers or anyone who is not a reader can call to scream, laugh, cry," said the Times' editor at large Jessica Bennett, according to WCBS Newsradio. "We've been hearing for months now about how women have been disproportionately affected in the pandemic and we've been hearing about parents who are struggling to manage work and child care."

Anyone can utilize the primal scream hotline, but most of those who have called in have been women. Shocker.

Ironically, Huber herself wasn't able to attend the in-person scream session because she had to put her toddler to bed. That's how it is, and part of why the scream space is needed in the first place. Even under normal circumstances, mothers need an occasional space to vent. In pandemic times? Absolutely vital.

Really, anyone could probably benefit from finding a place to scream right now, whether it's to the air in the middle of an empty field, into a pillow in a closet or to a random someone on the end of a newspaper's hotline. Times are hard, folks. Let it out, let it out, let it out.

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Native Siberian shares what daily life entails in the coldest village on Earth

See how the people of Yakutia, Siberia take showers, do laundry, go to school and more in minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit.

A man in the Yakutia region of Siberia takes an ice bath in minus 50 degrees Celsius.

For most of us, waking up to a temperature of minus 50 degrees would spell catastrophe. Normal life would come to a screeching halt, we'd be scrambling to deal with frozen pipes and power outages, school and work would be canceled and weather warnings would tell us not to venture outside due to frostbite risk.

But in the Yakutia region of Siberia, that's just an average winter day where life goes on as usual.

When you live in the coldest inhabited area on Earth, your entire life is arranged around dealing with ridiculously cold temperatures. Villages don't have running water because freezing pipes wouldn't allow for water treatment. Kids go to school unless the temp drops below minus 55 degrees Celsius (which is then considered dangerous). Showering involves spending hours stoking a fire in the bathhouse to create a steamy, warm room.

Native Siberian Kiun B. has created a series of documentary short films detailing what daily life is like in Yakutia's frigid winters. She was born and raised in Yakutsk, Siberia, widely recognized as the coldest city on Earth, where average winter temperatures hover around minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit. As seen in her videos, smaller villages in the Yakutia region regularly dip down into the negative 50s, with the lowest recorded temp in the Yakut village of Oymayakon reaching a mindblowing minus 96 degrees Fahrenheit.

The popularity of Kiun's YouTube channel demonstrates how curious people are about life in such harsh conditions, as her videos have been viewed by tens of millions of people in the past year alone.

Check out this video detailing a day in the life of a family in a Yakutia village.

Can you imagine going out to use an outhouse in minus 40 degrees? Oof.

Another of Kiun's videos goes into more detail about how people shower and do laundry in the region. You might assume they wouldn't line-dry their laundry outdoors, but they do.

Watch:

What do people wear to protect themselves from the negative temperatures? Frostbite is a real risk, so it's important to have the right kinds of clothing and outdoor gear to stay safe and relatively comfortable.

Kiun shared some frigid fashion norms from Yakutsk, which include traditional fur hats and boots as well as lots of layers and down jackets.

However, there are some Yakut folks who see the cold as something to embrace. For instance, this man takes an ice bath out in the elements as a morning ritual. It's something he has worked up to—definitely not something to try on your own during a cold snap—but it still has to be painful.

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The way humans have learned to adapt to drastically different environments, from the sweltering tropics to the Arctic tundra, is incredible, and it's fascinating to get a close-up look at how people make life work in those extremes. Thank you, Kiun B., for giving us a glimpse of what it's like to experience life in the dead of winter in the world's coldest inhabited places.

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