Whether you’ve been together only for a few months or for many years, breakups are rarely an easy transition to make, made all the more challenging with the added stress of the pandemic. In addition to the heightened experience of loneliness and isolation we encounter, the usual ways we process breakups may not be available during this time of physical distancing and limited social exposures.
There are many uncomfortable emotions brought up due to the pandemic, and the difficulties of a breakup add to these complex feelings. Considering the inability to utilize some of our go-to coping skills, it’s understandable that many of us are having a tough time! This is absolutely normal and valid.
Experiencing loneliness during this time is a natural response to the current situation, particularly if you live alone or have recently had a partner move out due to the ending of a relationship. Feeling lonely is not inherently a bad thing — all emotions are important and serve a function — but when we experience chronic loneliness in a frequent and intense way, it can begin to affect our mood and quality of life in significant ways.
Pure Health Center recognizes these challenging times, and would like to offer up some tools that may be helpful in navigating through this!
How to Deal with a Breakup During the Pandemic
1. Allow yourself space to feel
For many people, they like to stay busy after a breakup and distract themselves at all times from the uncomfortable emotions they may be feeling. However, filling your schedule with social activities is much less of an option during the pandemic, and you may have no choice but to sit with your emotions.
As difficult as it may be, reflection and introspection can actually be a step towards healing. Allow yourself to cry and grieve the relationship. Express your thoughts and feelings through journaling or another artistic outlet. It may be helpful to remind yourself that these uncomfortable emotions are temporary, and by honoring and sharing them, you are holding space for your authentic experience.
2. Practice mindfulness
With so much variability in the world right now, the uncertainty of life after a breakup can trigger feelings of anxiety and stress. Rather than focusing on the unpredictability of what the future holds, practicing mindfulness helps anchor us into the present moment. By being in the “here and now”, you’re able to observe and experience life as it currently is, without the added worry of how things might be.
This can bring a sense of stability and acceptance amidst the chaos. While it may not be ideal, accepting your reality and surrendering a need to control can help you find more peace and freedom while navigating the breakup.
3. Engage in fun, healthy activities
While life may not currently allow us to participate in the activities we typically enjoy such as traveling or going out with friends, it’s still important to find fun things to do that bring you joy, especially after a breakup.
Try thinking of what you would love to do if you didn’t have any barriers, then adapt that to fit with the current restrictions. For example, if you would want to grab dinner with a friend, set up a dinner date or happy hour over Zoom with them. If you would want to go to a concert, check out online concerts or jam out to your favorite artist’s music videos.
It takes a bit more effort, but with some creativity, it can be possible to have some fun and enjoyment during these times!
4. Reach out to friends and family
Of course, it’s not the same as actually spending time with friends and family, but a great alternative is to still connect with your loved ones. When going through a difficult time and feeling lonely, some people tend to isolate even more, which can lead to a cycle of seclusion and shame.
An alternative action to this is simply reaching out to your social supports. Human connection is essential to our well-being, and especially after a breakup during a pandemic, it can be so valuable to have another person to lean on.
Whether this looks like simply reaching out and grieving the lost relationship with a friend, or using Netflix Party to watch a movie together, making a point to connect with others is crucial. It can be incredibly helpful also to have time set aside each week on the same day and time. This helps things to feel more structured and will give you something to look forward to each week!
5. Speak to a mental health professional
If things feel overwhelming and difficult to manage, reaching out to a therapist may be the next step in your healing journey. It can be helpful to speak with an objective third-party to process the relationship and the hurt you are experiencing.
A professional can also help guide in identifying unhealthy patterns and replacing them with more adaptive and beneficial coping skills, which can provide some much-needed relief during these challenging times.
Pure Health Center offers a variety of counseling services (including virtual sessions). We are here to support you as you navigate post-breakup feelings, or any feelings, that you may be experiencing.