Welcome to It’s OK to Not Be OK, a bimonthly column focusing on dating (kind of) in the Valley, but ultimately, being responsible for yourself. Check out our first entry here and enjoy this week's column.
Okay, let’s just jump into it.
The TL;DR is that I got broken up with at the beginning of 2019, and I spent the year trying to get over it. So, I’m going to tell you what exactly I did.
Of course, I had my fair share of vodka-soda-filled nights, some of which ended with me getting side-eyed at the downtown Taco Bell Cantina (don’t ask why), or losing my phone at Bikini Lounge and somehow taking out $100 there (not sure where it all went). Wait, I think those were the same night. Either way, I did cope by going out far too often. But I also eventually snapped out of it and found a couple of productive ways to get over it.
BIG DISCLAIMER: Just as I know being vegan isn’t a practical or accessible lifestyle for a lot of people, these may not be practical or accessible methods of coping for you. That’s okay! I’m only sharing and would love for you to contribute ways that helped you cope in cases of romantic and friendship breakups. Let’s face it: They often hurt the same, and no one tells us how to cope.
Here are some things that helped me keep busy. Sometimes, that’s all you need to get your mind to quiet down for a moment.
This is so cliche, and that's why we’re getting it over with first. It’s really true what they say: Exercise can positively affect your serotonin levels, which boosts your mood. I used to be a total naysayer about this, but I’ve seen the light as it hits and accentuates my baby muscles. A friend and I began to hit up our local YMCA branch for 6 a.m. spin class or get stretchy at Yoga to the People in Tempe. I was so hyped on my newfound strength and endurance that working out became a part of my daily routine.
Adopt a Pet
Before getting broken up with, I had been looking into adopting a cat. I would always browse the Arizona Humane Society and Lost Our Home sites, dreaming of which furry companion would be mine. After the breakup, I desperately needed to transfer all of the love I had for the person to something else, and everyone in my life urged me to adopt a cat. It was the best decision I could’ve made. Adopting Greta (formerly known as Cupcake, an awful name) gave me a new sense of purpose when I felt low, and it has been such a joy taking care of her. It honestly makes me cry thinking about how much we've grown in the past year.
Cook With Friends
I became obsessed with HelloFresh (#notspon, at all). When you’re "don’t-want-to-get-out-of-bed" sad, the last thing you want to do is cook for yourself. The service helped reignite my love for cooking. I don’t use it anymore, because it’s pricey as hell and doesn't have vegan options, but it saved my life when I wasn’t feeling myself. I also shared the meals with my friends, so cooking quickly became a social activity. I didn’t need to leave my house, but I was able to get the human interaction (and the full belly) I needed.
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When you cook with your friends, you also need something to watch. That’s how the routine of cooking and watching The Masked Singer started. At first, my friend and I watched it as a joke; then, it became part of our weekly routine. It made the week go by faster. I'm a big fan of routines. Before you know it, your breakup or other hurt begins to fade because you’ve replaced it with new memories. That’s kind of what happened to me.
I love memes. I will go through the trenches of Instagram to find the most niche and fucked-up memes. Naturally, I found solace in creating my own weird, niche memes. I had never made any before, so I downloaded an app and started my Meme Queen journey. It was a new way to express myself creatively and in a way that didn’t emphasize my sadness. It was thrilling to make deep-fried grocery memes or ones about White Claw for my friends. Don’t knock it until you try it.
Everything will go back to normal. It’ll be a new normal, but you’ll be fine. It’s easier said than done, but it takes real strength to pick yourself up. You’ll look back and be so proud of yourself.