Because the pandemic has disrupted almost every aspect of our lives, it’s no surprise that it has impacted countless romantic relationships as well. Experts say that the COVID-19 crisis could be a major driver in divorce and breakup rates in America.
Unless you went through a deeply traumatic past, you most likely expected your relationship or marriage to last for the rest of your life. A 2012 survey revealed that the majority of young adults in America expected their marriages to last forever. Almost no one enters a relationship or gets married expecting to break up, making it all the more challenging when the separation does happen. Factor in a pandemic and the economic instability of a recession, and going through a breakup becomes a million times harder.
Here are a few self-care pointers on how to care for yourself during and after your relationship breakdown, because you deserve to heal.
Be gracious to your ex
That is easier said than done, but it’s also the right thing to do, especially if you two have children. Take note that being gracious doesn’t mean allowing them to hurt you over and over again; it means being civil with proper boundaries. Unless he was physically, emotionally, or verbally abuse to you and your kids, there’s no harm in staying on civil terms.
Some ways to show kindness to your ex include:
- Keep your communication lines open to them and their lawyers if you were married.
- Let them see the kids and the pets, depending on the arrangement you two agreed on with the help of your lawyers.
- Refuse to gossip about them and shutting down conversations that tarnish their character.
Showing kindness to your ex is not primarily for them; it’s first and foremost for you. Studies show that letting go of bitterness is one of the first steps to healing correctly. It will also protect your kids from the toxicity and trauma of growing up with parents who hate each other.
Clean up your side of the street
No matter who is at fault—even if it’s 99% them and only 1% you—you still played a part in the breakdown of the relationship. You are no longer in control of them, and you have never been. You have only ever been in control of your thoughts, your actions, and your responses. Take responsibility where you need to, and clean up your side of the street. That is important, especially in the case of no-fault divorce, where no one cheated, got incarcerated, abandoned the marriage, was physically ill, or abusive in any way.
Open up to your family and friends
One of the most crucial parts of surviving a tough breakup is staying connected with your friends and family. That may be more challenging in a pandemic, but you have the internet and video chatting tools at your disposal. If you have a good relationship with your parents and siblings, schedule a video call with them and open up to them about what happened. Opening up to your friends about how you’re feeling is a healthy way to blow off some steam, too.
Don’t neglect physical fitness
Multiple studies have shown the many physical, mental, and emotional benefits of exercise. Take care of yourself by working out, even if it’s only 15 minutes per day. Regular exercise can help reduce stress, boost your brainpower, and lower your risk of certain diseases.
Outsource what you can
If you find that you have no energy to do additional chores around the house, cut yourself some slack and outsource what you can. Hire a professional cleaning service, leave your dirty clothes at your neighborhood’s same-day laundry cleaners, have food delivered instead of cooking. It’s okay if you can’t do these things for now—maximize the services available to you while you’re healing.
Don’t be afraid to seek professional help
The first step to healing is acknowledging where it hurts. Being kind to yourself will go a long way in helping you find a semblance of normalcy once again. Be proactive about your mental health by not hesitating to seek professional help. A breakup can feel like death, and in some cases, it’s even more challenging than grieving over the death of someone we love. Consider going through grief counseling to help you process your loss healthily.
Be Kind to Yourself
You may be tempted to feel like a failure or constantly ask what you could have done differently, but that is the last thing you should do when you’re going through a difficult time. Show yourself some compassion in this challenging situation, and believe the best is yet to come.