Why are SO MANY people breaking up during the pandemic? It's a tough time, but you can sur-thrive this catastrophe.
This past year will be entered in the history books of my life as the year of darkness. No, no one has died, but I’ve lost nearly everything. But you know what they say about darkness. A light shines brightest in the darkness.
If you are here, reading this, it is likely you have just been through a big break up, right in the middle of a pandemic. Or, you know one is on the horizon and you can feel that growing sense of fear and dread. Breaking up is hard, really hard. Even worse when the whole world seems to be behind a mask and you couldn’t feel more alone with your pain.
I get it. And in July of this awful year, I did it. I did the break up thing but it wasn't necessarily what I wanted. It felt forced on me and I slept at night with the pain and the guilt. I thought it would eat me alive.
But then…it didn’t.
Something magical happened. Something I want to share with you today and hope that you, in some small measure, can find hope. You see, hope is one of those things that is consistently tested. If you have but a shred of it left, stoke that flame and follow that light. It will remind you that you aren’t truly broken.
Guide to Breaking Up — in the Middle of a Pandemic
These are the tips you’ll need, the resources you’ll need, and the reminders you’ll need to cope, to survive it, and then, when the time is right, to sur-thrive it.
Go Ahead and Get a Strategic Stress-Management Plan in Place
While the CDC and WHO are supplying their best advice on how to cope with stress in times of Covid, you are going to need a bit more than that. Stress-management will be your middle name. It will be what you eat for breakfast, what you treat yourself with between meals, and what you wrap your arms around to sleep at night. Plan for every stress management weapon you can gather to have in your arsenal. Go on the offense about managing the physical, mental, emotional and existential stress now amplified with a breakup during a pandemic.
Really, how’s that for timing?
Reach Out for Support
You may feel more alone in your pain thanks to the isolation, the fear, and the oppression of Covid-19; but you do have a support system, however small. If you do not — create one. Reach out to people. Set up a few Zoom calls to cry with your friends. Join online support groups. Get “out there” and get your empowerment.
If you are experiencing depression and anxiety, talk with your doctor and get some medical support.
Getting some therapy during this time could also help you to cope. There’s no better time to work on “your stuff” than when you are newly single, wondering why it’s all happened, and feeling uncertain about your future.
Seek Ways to Redefine Your Future
It’s time to start visualizing your future. What does it look like — I mean, after Covid passes, in an ideal world — how do you visualize your best life? Dream BIG. Spend time looking for that dream apartment, in that dream town, with that dream life — what does that look like to you? Yes, your new ex is NOT there. You’ve been dreaming of your future with that person and now that is gone.
But your future is not gone. And now you get to define it for yourself. Without permission or input from them. You may find your new dream future looks a lot different!
Take some time to dream — no matter how outlandish — because you will start to hustle in that very direction. It’s time for you.
Take a Look at Your Finances
I know it’s hard if you have had your finances tied up with your ex. If you have lived together, there’s all the who-takes-what conversations.
My best advice on this is to get the material things that matter for personal reasons — and the rest really doesn’t matter all that much. You can get new things, even if they are donation things. New things won’t have the ex’s “stain” of memory on them. Get what you really need and focus on just that — what you really need.
Now, sit down with your finances and decide:
- What must I have?
- What can I live without?
- Where can I “tighten the belt” on my finances?
- How can I gain more control over my finances, secure my independence, and make sure my living style matches my current income?
- What are some creative ways to increase my income and start growing wealth for myself?
To put things in perspective. Six months ago, the day before I left my new ex. I was living with him, my adult son, and his teenage daughter. I was suffering from a debilitating degenerative condition in my neck that needed treatment. No insurance. No job. And then I left him.
I tightened the belt on my finances considerably by moving in with my mom until I get a place of my own. I cancelled subscriptions and other unnecessary things. But I also created opportunity for myself to make money and find my own way in life. It was hard. I was suffering. Crying while working (I started a freelance writing business for income). Making typing mistakes I had to fix — because breathing was hard and sleeping was impossible. But I took control of my financial future. I invested a few hundred in stocks (in small deposits over 6 months.)
I have always told my boys there are 2 types of people in this world:
- People who make excuses.
- People who make things happen.
I realized, I had been making excuses and leaning on other people for too long. I decided to change. For myself. And the grit of that decision is paying off. You can do that too. Don’t wait for someone to come along and save you from this mess. Do it for yourself.
Make things happen.
Lastly, Mantras to Change Your Focus
That GoFundMe decision was a tough one for me to make, and it caused a lot of blowback for me. I was desperate to get my pets from the ex (I can’t have them at my mom’s) and time marching across me with no mercy. I couldn’t work hard enough, fast enough, to get on my own and start my new life. I asked for help.
I received an inbox message from a woman I have known for 2 decades. She called my GoFundMe “ridiculous,” “pathetic,” and said that I was nothing but a whiny, no-working, loser and she didn’t blame my ex for getting sick of me.”
Ok, there’s a lot to unpack there and I won’t address any of that point by point, but the words, in the fertile grounds of trauma, were cutting straight through to my soul. They played over and over in my head for weeks. I couldn’t think. I was having trouble getting client orders completed. I knew, I had to change this in order to move forward. I created my own mantras to battle those and other negative thoughts, to keep myself and my mental health on track, and to help battle the self-esteem plummets of a breakup.
- I am a busy, hard-working woman.
- I am a strong, successful businesswoman.
- My life is moving in the right direction.
- I am confident, strong, talented.
- I am worthy of blessings. I am generating wealth.
- (Fill in your own personal mantras — ones that lift you up and build you into that person you visualize yourself being. Mantras that undo the ugly things your ex or anyone else is saying to you.)
I know this article has been a bit long. I know you are hurting, a lot, right now. But you need to know things can and will get better with time. Allow yourself the time to grieve, yes, but don’t wallow in grief. Don’t escalate it. Catch yourself when you are ruminating and replace those thoughts with esteem-building mantras.
I know the pandemic is scary. Breakups are hard. The two together are almost unbearable. But you have to find the light in your situation and the light inside yourself. Use it to navigate the path moving forward, one step at a time. You’ve got this. A light shines brightest in the dark.