Many people around the world are staying home, either voluntarily or because of a mandatory state or national lock-down. It's an unprecedented event during peace time, and one that is completely foreign to younger generations.
Most Mend users are based in the US, UK or Europe, so we know that the vast majority of our community is at home with greasy hair, working remotely, reading the news obsessively and asking the same questions we're all asking: When will things be normal again? Am I going to get laid off? How do I keep my immune system strong? Is this the time to try switching to the cup? Why didn't I pay attention when my grandmother tried to teach me how to cook?
Reaching Out To Your Ex
If you've recently gone through a breakup or divorce, you're probably wondering how your ex is doing with all of this. There may be a pandemic, but heartbreak still persists amidst global crises. Relationships are powerful. Breakups are powerful. And thoughts of our ex don't just disappear overnight, even if we're feeling a lot of fear and uncertainty right now. In some ways, fear and uncertainty can make our feelings of heartbreak even more intense.
Maybe you've already texted your ex to check in, or maybe you're considering the impact of doing this. Our exes don't just disappear from our brains, especially in the wake of a pandemic where we're all worried about our loved ones (and ex-loved ones). In fact, thoughts about our exes may be even more persistent as we're craving comfort. It's normal to fall back onto habits during times of crisis, and it's normal to crave some comfort from someone who was once in your life. Don't beat yourself up about doing this. So what to do about it?
There's no playbook for what's right or wrong in terms of communicating with an ex during a time like this, but you do want to watch out that you're not using the pandemic as an excuse to check up on someone when you know deep down it won't be healthy for you. Remember that it's still important to protect your mental health. Consider if there are other loved ones (friends or family) who you can lean on for support during this time, and make sure to pause before reaching out to your ex. Is it really worth it? Will talking to your ex do any good for anyone, or is it just a reflex? Will it change the fact that you're not together?
The Bright Side Of Social Distancing
For those who have recently gone through a breakup and have struggled with not seeing your ex, this is a rare moment in time where social distancing is the norm. We have created an entire program to help you socially distance yourself from your ex during non-pandemic times (it's in our app, and also in this class), and now is actually the perfect time to do it. A pandemic doesn't make heartbreak easier, but it certainly doesn't hurt that everyone is being asked to stay home. Meeting up with an ex has real risks right now, and in many places, it's simply not allowed because it's non-essential.
How Will Relationships Be Affected?
It will certainly be an important time for all relationships. Some couples who aren't used to spending as much time together will be finding their way in the coming weeks, as they face each other day in and day out. For some couples, the added stress will likely cause fights. More divorces and breakups are predicted as a consequence, but for some it will also be an opportunity to spend more quality time together and grow closer. Relationship expert Esther Perel says that couples will need to mindfully navigate the different ways in which they react to crises. Ultimately, all relationships will be tested, and many will come out stronger as a result of this increased time together. There will likely even be a baby boom post-pandemic, as we've seen after other similar moments in history.
Regardless of your relationship status right now, it will be important to keep up the practices that support your mental health, even if your regular routine has been interrupted. For example, if you usually go to yoga or meditation at a studio, make sure you're still finding ways to practice at home. We'll be sharing more about how to take care of yourself during this time in another post.
Perhaps, if there has to be one, the silver lining of a pandemic is that it forces you to spend uninterrupted time with yourself and reflect on what's happening internally. We spend so much of our lives focused outward on non-essential questions: What are my friends doing on Instagram? How does my hair look? Should I buy a new car? Do I need to redecorate my apartment? What does my ex think of me?
But what about all the essential internal questions we are often too afraid or busy to ask: What do I think of myself? What am I doing with my life? How am I contributing to my community? How am I contributing to the world?
Wishing you and your loved ones safety and good health.
If you could use more daily support through a breakup or divorce, you can download our app Mend (iOS only). You can also sign up for our free class on "Staying Home: How To Support Your Mental Health During Coronavirus."