May 20, 2020

6 Ways to Emerge from our COVID-19 Breakup like an Absolute Badass.


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Elephant’s Continually-updating Coronavirus Diary. ~ Waylon

Breakups are hard. 

There’s no way around it. Whether it’s a curveball separation or a mutual parting of ways, there is always loss, uncomfortable transitions, and big feels.

In normal, non-pandemic life, the rest of the world’s general stability provides a sense of predictability. That doesn’t stop our personal lives from crumbling, and now uncertainty lurks at every corner. 

During a breakup, even deciding what we want to order for lunch can overwhelm us and cause us to cry.

The COVID-19 pandemic just made breakups some next-level sh*t. Truly. I mean, there’s nothing quite like job uncertainty, travel restrictions, and health risks to make a split feel even more unbearable—it’s almost comical. 

To make matters worse, we’re facing a whole new monster of loneliness during isolation because our social network has vanished into thin air. To amp up the intensity, some of us may even be stuck quarantining with our ex while we go through the breakup process.

To say that going through a heartbreak right now is challenging is a massive understatement. 

The truth is, many women are experiencing this; at least we’re not alone in that. If there were misalignments, unspoken truths, or fractures in the foundation of a relationship before the virus, we can bet our asses that the pressure, massive increase of time together, and lack of distractions has made them exponentially worse.

Quarantine life has been a relationship accelerator—if a relationship had unresolved issues, it has quickly become evident. 

As painful and wildly destabilizing as breakups can feel right now, we can make it through. And not only make it out alive but thrive on the other side.

Here are my top six ways to survive a COVID-19 breakup:

1. Let the tears and rage come.

A guaranteed way to stay stuck in the past and get frozen in our breakup process is to resist our feelings. The more we can fully let our grief strip us clean, the more we can let our anger healthily express itself. And the more efficiently we’ll move through the breakup. 

This is especially true right now; there are feelings on top of feelings regarding the state of the world. We have to do our best to allow all of the emotions in our bodies to come forth. We should dance and punch or scream into pillows to release our rage. 

Also, we should watch out for a tendency to collapse into our feelings, get caught up in stories, or make ourselves miserable with too many sappy, romantic movies. (Seriously, put down the remote and stop watching “The Notebook” on repeat.)

2. Boundaries like a boss.

Communicate “What is okay and what is not okay.” What we’re available and not available for is essential in any breakup. 

Without boundaries, breakups become messy really fast. Still in contact? Okay, we should ask ourselves what we feel comfortable talking about. 

Are we entirely done with physical touch and sensuality? What about cuddling? 

Listen closely, sisters: if anyone is still living with their ex during quarantine, they better enter the school of boundaries and get a degree. Quick! 

Without physical space, we must use our boundary muscles to create the pillars for our separation. This means clear boundaries that we uphold within ourselves and outwardly with our ex. 

3. Get that fine ass outside in nature.

If we have access to hiking trails, beaches, lakes, wide-open spaces, or even a little corner garden at the end of the neighborhood, get all up in it (while responsibly social distancing, of course). 

Here’s the thing, nature is a healer and a nervous system regulator. The chaotic state of the world can hijack our system into a state of fight, flight, freezing, or “collapse right now.” 

These are all standard states that come up during a breakup. Old emotional traumas or wounds are often poked, touched, and thus resurfaced during a separation. Prioritize getting outside regularly to support in getting grounded, resourced, and centered. 

The best part? There are no special techniques required. All we have to do is show up. Get outside and let mama Earth work her magic. 

4. Focus on rebirth.

There’s nothing like a breakup to give us a fresh start. And, there’s nothing like a stay-at-home order to provide us with time to reflect on who and what we genuinely want to be. 

When there’s a death of any type—a breakup is a death of a relationship, a chapter of our life, mutual friend groups, and sometimes housing situations—there is an opportunity to let what has “died” become compost. 

It’s an incredibly fertile environment for new life and growth. We should ask ourselves: what is no longer serving me? What are the patterns, habits, and ways of relating that need to be released? 

After we’ve honored the endings, and received the insights (the “compost”), we can make space to dream and welcome the next version of ourselves. 

Indeed, the future is more uncertain than ever, but there are also a lot of possibilities.

5. Get real support.

Listen, we all know family or that one particular friend can be a safe place for comfort and sharing, but they aren’t always the best source of support. They can unknowingly set us into a headspin, cover us with clouds of doubt, and take us a few steps backward. 

Beloved aunt Jackie is fun to talk to, but let’s keep it real, she has no business giving relationship advice. She’s never had a healthy relationship, and she usually makes it all about her anyway. 

Now more than ever, we need effective, wise, and clear support. There’s not a lot of wiggle room to f*ck around. Things are intense. The country is on lockdown. Life’s uncertain. We need to be discerning who we are getting advice from. 

Better yet, we can seek support from a professional (a coach or therapist) whose sole role is to skillfully get us through. Someone who knows how to hold space.

6. Stay connected to our community.

A standard salve for heartbreak is an epic night out with the girl squad. Tequila, dancing, dressing up, and singing to Beyoncé? For sure!

But what do we do when we can’t get together and dance for hours? Shoot. Some of us haven’t seen our friends in person for months. 

Our besties are still an essential part of our breakup recovery, but now we have to get creative and prioritize the connection time. During quarantine, this looks like group video dates. Regularly. 

Make it fun. Have a drink. Get out of those yoga pants. Maybe wear no pants. Play some tunes. Dance. Sing. Lean into the friend and family network, consistently. Even though Zoom or FaceTime isn’t ideal, time together is still a super important part of the breakup transition.

None of us would willingly choose heartbreak (let alone during a global pandemic and social isolation), but if we find ourselves in the midst of one it’s best to strap in and greet the challenges with a courageous and creative heart. 

If we meet it well, we will not only survive but rise like a phoenix. We will have done tons of deep healing, grown a support system, and paved the way for the new, reborn version of ourselves. 

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