• Mon. Oct 18th, 2021

Breaking up to Breakthrough: How One Nurse Student Helps Women Heal Broken Hearts and Find Themselves Again


“I needed something to put my hands on and help me work on myself.”

Gloria Billingsley, 29, creator of the Break Up Box

The narrative with break-ups is that time alone can heal heartbreak. Some studies have found that our bodies react to a breakup the same as it reacts to physical pain. Not only does the body react the brain also goes through chemical withdrawal. Similar to the withdrawals that substance abusers experience.

There are a plethora of options for recovering addicts, yet for heartbreak, there are little to no tangible resources that address the physical and mental pain people experience. The only available answer seems to be time.

For Gloria Billingsley, 29, creator of the Break Up Box, time was too passive of a response for and she needed a better option.  She created The Break Up Box as a self-care package that helps women transition through a break-up phase.

Billingsley is a nursing student and frontline worker at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. The Panama City, Panama native came up with the idea of the box in 2018, a week after her own rough patch. She’ll sit in alone in her room and pass the time by watching movies and drinking, the usual post-breakup activities. But the usual wasn’t cutting it.

“I needed something to put my hands on and help me work on myself”, Billingsley said. At this point, she searched and researched everywhere and couldn’t find anything outside of time to help her get over her breakup.

At that moment Billingsley had enough of sitting around.

“I just couldn’t spend any more time in this grief, feeling like I lost something special”.

That night, her search for an answer led her to a 24-hour Walmart in Gwinnett County where an employee directed her to the book aisle.

“I just started reading a whole bunch of different books like how to grieve over a lost loved one or how to process a divorce all types of different things.”

She sat in Walmart for two hours reading and was still left empty-handed, broken-hearted, but determined, nonetheless, to overcome her blues.

When she returned home she got busy. “I had a blue Adidas shoe box and I started putting things in the box that I like. For example, when we broke up, I had terrible skin. So, I put my favorite things in the box that helped my skin.”

“I needed something to put my hands on and help me work on myself.”

From there she started writing, crafting, and sharing. “I gave out a few breaker boxes to my friends who were going through a breakup and they loved it and they gave me their input and from there. I’m like, okay. I need to really pursue this a little deeper.”

Billingsley’s father also prompted her with a question that pushed her deeper into her research.

“He’s like Tita, you’re going to sell this box to a whole bunch of different women. How can you come with something that they all will like ?”

Billingsley realized that combing the five senses with the seven dimensions of wellness; spiritual, physical, emotional, career, intellectual, environmental, and social will give all women an option on how they heal.

This not helped her to find the right tools to put in the box, it also helped evolve the box.

Every single time my boyfriend broke my heart, there was an evolution within the box. It got me to thinking like I need something spiritual mental emotional physical and social to process breakups better.”

The Break Up Box comes in a seven-day kit and features skincare, sage and “One Day at a Time” Cards to name a few things. It even comes with a breakup manual and in the time of COVID-19, a black mask.

Every single time my boyfriend broke my heart, there was an evolution within the box.”

Billingsley makes it clear that this does not replace professional help.

“I advise everyone that I’m not giving out advice and I’m not giving out instructions. It’s more mental stimulation”, she says.

“I want the brand to be an option when there is no option. Instead of reading a whole bunch of books, instead of reading so many different opinions and hearing so many different people speak. You can actually do something for yourself and work on yourself.”

In the future, Billingsley would like to expand the Break up Box brand to include a Make Up box that will allow couples an option to heal together. Also, this fall Break box will be expanding from seven days to 14 days for people who need a little more time to heal.

Of course, you can’t put a time stamp on healing, but the box can be a step to help.

To learn more about the Breakup Box click here

Haylee Bell

Haylee Bell is an avid storyteller. Her interests are art, music, film, literature and writing. She aspires to inspire and inform.