For the first time in almost 2 years, I have a whole lot of free time that’s suddenly not filled with boyfriend-related activities… which means I’ve had to find a whole new set of “Just Zo!” activities to fill my waking hours. I’m not exactly a hobbies person (unless drinking red wine and watching The OC count as hobbies?), so it’s been kind of a struggle to find things to do aside from stalking my ex on social media (I eventually had to block him) and convincing myself of all the reasons why texting him would be a bad idea.
As far as breakups go, I’d say ours could be classified as a “best case scenario” situation. It was more or less a mutual decision, there weren’t really any ugly words exchanged (or at least, not a ton of ugly words that made us hate each other) and we both walked away from it with the intention of eventually becoming friends or being in each other’s lives in some capacity (and I’m pretty sure that still rings true). The fact that we’ve been able to put a continent in between us also definitely helped matters, but no matter how “good” a breakup may be, there are still certain times where it still absolutely sucks. In fact, there area lot of moments when I am just really fucking sad….like every single morning when I wake up and have to remind myself “oh right, I sleep alone now!” From time to time it hits me hard (the new Taylor Swift album definitely isn’t helping) and I’ve been known to shed a tear or two at very inopportune moments. It’s not great, especially as I’m trying to make the most of my last few months on @remoteyear.
I’m gonna be real with you: At first, the way I dealt with this involved a lot of Malbec, some Tinder swiping, eating either 15 empanadas in a row or nothing at all, and the occaaaaaasional Xanax. I’m not proud of it, and learned pretty quickly that it wasn’t going to help me get through this whole thing alive (/with my dignity still in tact). Thanks to approximately 2378423413874932784 searches on the Internet of “how to get through a breakup without completely losing your shit” and “ways to not be sad that don’t involve drugs and alcohol,” I’ve since figured out a much, much healthier way to deal with being sad: Workout, Journal, Meditate… aka the wellness girl’s (read: basic bitch’s) version of GTL. But no joke — it works.
Here, lemme break down the morning routine that is quite literally keeping me sane.
Exercise gives people endorphins, endorphins make people happy and happy people just don’t
kill their husbands cry about their ex-boyfriends. As someone who swears by boutique fitness, finding a workout that I love has been kind of a challenge for me while traveling. What I’ve learned, though, is that it doesn’t matter what I do as long as I’m doing something to get my body moving. My go-to’s range from running in the park to yoga to spinning to Kayla Itsines “Bikini Body” workout, all of which I usually perform to a playlist titled “Songs That Almost Definitely Won’t Make Me Cry.”
We’ve all heard that exercise can help with heartbreak, but there are definitely mornings when I would much, much rather stay in bed and feel bad for myself instead of getting up and going for the run. As is usually the case, though, I always feel better after my workout, and the positive energy helps keep me balanced throughout the rest of the day. I’m learning to rely on my body to help heal my heart (so cheesy… I think I read that on someone’s “Inspirational Quotes” Instagram feed) and I swear it’s actually starting to help. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that I’ll be feeling foiiiiiiiine (aka strong) when I decide I’m ready to get back on the horse (but no more Tinder, ever.).
When I left for Remote Year, no less than four people gifted me with journals. I hate to admit it, but pre-breakup me wasn’t exactly the best at writing in them. Now, I start my day by purging at least one page worth of thoughts into the red Shinola that my best friend gave me. According to this study from the journal Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, journaling for 15-20 minutes, 3-5 times a week was enough to help participants deal with traumatic, stressful, or otherwise emotional events. I’m going to go ahead and file my breakup into category “D: All of the above.” I also write out at least one thing I’m grateful for (full disclosure, yesterday it was “my pillow” and today it was “the banana and peanut butter I’m about to eat for breakfast), because apparently starting your day with gratitude is a major #key to success. I may or may not be becoming fully addicted to my journal, because sometimes at bedtime I’ll also scribble down a memory or two from the day before I fall asleep.
Throughout this process, I’ve found that writing out my thoughts has really, really helped me make sense of them (because, duh), and it’s also great to be able to look back on the last two months and see how my emotions have changed over time. TBH, I probably should have started journaling before the breakup, because I feel like it would have really helped the situation, but hindsight is 20/20. At least now I’ll have fodder for my memoir once I’m famous.
I’ve never been into the idea of being alone with my thoughts… Especially now, considering that I get really, really sad when I think too long about the fact that my relationship is O-V-E-R. But I started meditating a few months ago because the Internet told me it would make me smarter/happier/more successful, and I have to admit all of the annoying people who constantly talk about their meditation routines might actually be onto something. I downloaded the Headspace app in September, and at first was not into it at all. I tried to do it in the morning, and spent the entire time thinking about what I was going to eat for breakfast when my zen time was up. But I’ve since started to force myself to make time for it every day, and it’s actually become pretty life changing. I now spend 10 minutes every AM centering myself to the sound of the Headspace guy’s kind, British voice, and I genuinely do believe it’s making me more productive.
Slowly, but surely, I’m learning to control my thoughts, which makes ditching all the negative ones that are constantly screaming “how did you manage to fuck everything up?!??!!?!?!” a lot easier. I can honestly say that I have never felt more creative or inspired since I started really meditating (as evidenced by the fact that I am posting on this blog like crazy), and I even use some of the mini-sessions during the day when I need help staying focused or motivated. Bottom line? Jeff Bezos and co. are right — meditating really is an important part of being successful, especially when it comes to matters of the (broken) heart.