A breakup is never easy for either party involved. Whether one of you cheated, had conflicting interests, or simply grew out of each other, saying goodbye can be heartbreaking. No matter the circumstances, breaking up means ending a chapter in your life, and moving on can be difficult at best. If you’re feeling the breakup blues, follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to a healthy recovery.
1. Allow Yourself to Mourn
Internalizing your feelings creates a sense of shame, resentment, and worthlessness that can damage you and your future relationships. Accept your feelings as a natural part of the human condition so you can begin the grieving process.
2. Write in a Journal
Whether the relationship was good or bad, you’re probably feeling a wide range of emotions. Anger, jealousy, anxiety, grief, and sorrow may have hit you all at once, and expressing them can be difficult. If you’re not ready to talk to someone or you need a private space to express how you feel, write in a journal. When you write in a journal, there’s nobody looking over your shoulder to criticize you or tell you how to feel. Let this be a place where you can process your thoughts and emotions. Try these writing exercises:
- Identify Your Feelings
Put a name to your feelings so you can express them. Write down how you’re feeling that day, or throughout the day as your grief comes and goes. Consider personifying your emotions and talking to them directly.
- Write a Letter
Unfortunately, not everyone gets closure after a breakup. Write a private letter (but don’t send it) to your ex. Write freely about any emotions, regrets, or fond memories you have of them. If you broke up on good terms or you owe them an apology, you may revise this letter and send it to them.
- Reflect on the Relationship
As time goes on, you’ll be able to reflect objectively on your relationship. Maybe it wasn’t as perfect as you thought it was, or perhaps you had unrealistic expectations. This will help you avoid pitfalls with future partners.
3. Take Care of Yourself
Eat well, exercise, and get seven to eight hours of sleep to stay healthy. A healthy body contributes to a healthy mind, and taking care of yourself will improve your attitude. Stick to a new diet plan, enjoy new physical activities, and turn in early some nights instead of going out with friends. When you do all these things, you’ll notice a difference in your appearance and your attitude.
Meditation calms the mind, lowers blood pressure, and reduces feelings of anxiety and depression. When you feel overwhelmed, take a moment to meditate. Sit up tall on a comfortable surface, close your eyes, and rest your hands on your lap. Concentrate on your breathing by inhaling through your nose and exhaling out your mouth. Taking slow, deep inhales and exhales will help calm your nerves. You can do this in public or in the privacy of your own home for as short or as long as you like.
5. Confide in Someone You Trust
Talking to others about your breakup is a great way to gain insight into your relationship and let off steam, but don’t tell everyone your business. Confide in a few close, trusted friends and family members who will simply listen to you and be a shoulder to cry on. When you start to feel better, ask them for constructive advice and observations from an outsider’s perspective.
6. Avoid Impulsive or Dangerous Behavior
When we’re depressed, it’s easy to slip into unhealthy habits including drugs, alcoholism, overeating, overworking, compulsive spending, gambling, and promiscuity. You may identify these behaviors in your past, so avoid them now to prevent damage. Indulging in impulsive or dangerous behavior puts you at greater risk of developing depression and dependencies. If you’re restless, invest your energy in constructive activities like art, music, travel, or exercise to keep your mind busy.
7. Be Kind to Yourself
You may be harboring guilt and regret after your breakup. If you know you could have done better, learn from it and move on. What’s in the past is in the past, and what you know now can save your future relationships. You also need to forgive yourself. While you didn’t mean to hurt your partner, you need to recognize that you’re a human being who makes mistakes. When you’re kind to yourself, you can let go of your guilt and build self-esteem.
8. Seek the Help of a Professional
If you can’t handle the burden yourself, seek the help of a therapist. A therapist provides a safe space where you can speak freely about your emotions without judgment. They will ask you about your relationship as well as your upbringing to find the origin of your behaviors. They use this information to give you valuable tools to help you overcome unhelpful behaviors and emotions. Therapy can be an uncomfortable process for some, but if you’re ready to be vulnerable, this will help you heal and bring out your best self.
9. Create Goals for the Future
The past is behind you, so look to the future. Perhaps you put off your dreams while you were with your partner, or now you have new ones you want to pursue. Whether it be a vacation, a career change, or going back to school, pursue something that motivates you to move on. Accomplishing big and small goals alike will rebuild your confidence and self-worth.
10. Know that Change Doesn’t Happen Overnight
We all want the heartbreak to end, but grief doesn’t disappear overnight. While you heal, sorrow may come and go in waves. A song, a memory, or a dream might bring pain, but this is natural. Recovery happens slowly, and you must be patient if you’re to fully heal.
The pain from heartbreak can be devastating, but you’re strong enough to overcome it. Follow these tips to help you heal and build a promising future.