Going through a breakup can be an extremely emotionally devastating experience. When a serious romantic relationship ends, it often triggers intense feelings of sadness, grief, anger, and confusion. Learning healthy and constructive ways to cope, and gradually rebuild your life after a breakup is crucial for healing. Follow these essential self-care tips and practical steps to positively deal with and recover from a breakup.
Step 1: Allow Yourself to Fully Process the Range of Emotions
After a breakup, you may tempted to ignore your feelings entirely or try suppressing them. However, allowing yourself to fully experience and express the myriad emotions you’re going through is important for eventually achieving closure. Here are some healthy ways to process the feelings:
- Let Yourself Cry if Needed. Crying is an emotional release valve that helps relieve some overwhelming tension and signals to your body and mind that you’re actively working through the grief.
- Confide in Close Friends or Family Members. Sharing your authentic feelings and struggles with trusted confidants reduces the isolating loneliness of heartbreak. Their support reminds you that you are not alone.
- Write About Your Emotions in a Journal – Pouring all your uncensored emotions onto paper through stream-of-consciousness journaling can bring more clarity, perspective, and relief amidst inner turmoil.
- Avoid Dwelling on Regrets – Ruminating over what you could have or should have done differently rarely changes anything about the past. Try to accept that the relationship has fundamentally changed and that life will be different going forward.
- Expect Emotional Ups and Downs – Understand that some days you may feel relatively strong, optimistic, and ready to move on, while other days the grief may feel raw and renewed. That’s okay. Healing from a breakup is not linear.
Step 2: Make Self-Care a Top Priority After the Breakup
During this difficult life transition, be sure to actively nurture yourself through essential self-care practices. Your overall mental and physical wellbeing should take priority:
- Make Sure You Get Plenty of Rest and Sleep – Quality sleep gives you the energy and bandwidth needed to process turbulent emotions in a healthy manner. Don’t neglect your sleep needs.
- Eat a Balanced, Nutritious Diet – Closely monitor what you’re fueling your body and mind with. While cravings are normal, try sticking to a diet of healthy, energizing foods that will support your mood.
- Stay Physically Active with Exercise or Light Activity – Physical movement produces feel-good endorphins while enhancing your sense of empowerment. Take rejuvenating walks, do restorative yoga, or engage in other light activities.
- Avoid Drowning Your Sorrows in Drugs or Alcohol – While it may provide temporary relief, attempting to numb, distract, or bury your pain through substance abuse generally leads to much larger issues down the road. If it becomes unhealthy, seek help.
- Engage in Hobbies That Bring You Joy – Make time for hobbies like learning an instrument, baking, doing arts and crafts projects, or anything you find creatively satisfying. Immerse yourself in solo activities that just bring you joy and serve you.
- Treat Yourself with Patience, Empathy, and Kindness – Be extra patient and speak to yourself with the same gentle empathy, care, and understanding you would a close friend going through a similar hardship. Don’t internalize shame.
Step 3: Remove Lingering Reminders and Start Reclaiming Your Space
It’s very normal to be confronted with mementos that impede healing moving forward. Take tangible steps to reclaim your personal environment and living space as your own.
- Pack Away Old Gifts, Mementos, and Belongings. Box up or dispose of sentimental gifts, belongings, photos, and other visible reminders from your ex. Having these constant visible reminders around will stall your ability to move on. Enlist a supportive friend to assist if needed.
- Give Your Living Space a Fresh New Look. Make some minor renovations or reorganizations in your private environment like rearranging furniture, hanging new wall art, buying fresh linens, or adding new decorative elements. Making physical changes feels empowering.
- Avoid Public Places With Strong Memories Attached, It’s natural to want to avoid restaurants, bars, parks, concerts, or other intensely sentimental date locations from your relationship to sidestep painful memories being triggered. Give it time.
- Unfollow Your Ex on Social Media – Viewing their updates and posts on social media platforms only worsens feelings of hurt, jealousy, or longing. Unfollow, block or mute them and any mutual friends frequently posting about them.
- Establish a New Routine – With this new chapter, take the opportunity to develop a noticeably different routine and daily schedule than you had during the relationship. This distinction emphasizes that you are starting fresh.
Step 4: Invest Your Time in New, Fulfilling Activities
Making positive use of your time immersed in fulfilling new activities, experiences, and people fills the void left behind by the breakup in constructive ways:
- Reconnect With Old Supportive Friends – Make plans to actively catch up with old friends who uplift and inspire you. Sharing your feelings helps reduce isolation while bonding with them reinforces that relationships still exist.
- Meet and Connect With New People – Sign up for fresh classes, join a club, volunteer in your community, or try new social hobbies. Meeting new positive people organically aids healing by reminding you life goes on.
- Travel Somewhere You’ve Never Been Before – Changing your regular surroundings, even just for a rejuvenating weekend trip, often provides much-needed perspective while giving you something new to look ahead to.
- Learn a New Skill or Take an Interesting Class – Enroll yourself in an engaging class or set of lessons focused on a topic you’ve always been curious to try, like pottery, photography, dance, coding, or whatever piques your interest. It builds confidence.
- Commit to Developing Healthy Habits and Wellness – Use this transitional period as motivation to commit to starting new wellness habits like consistently exercising, cooking nutritious meals, meditating daily, or abstaining from bad habits. Invest this energy into improving yourself rather than dwelling on the past.
Step 5: Have Patience With the Complex Emotional Healing Process
Finally, understand that genuinely recovering from heartbreak and grief takes time, self-compassion, and patience with both yourself and the process. Avoid rushing things before you’re truly ready:
- Understand the Pain Will Slowly Subside Over Weeks/Months. Appreciate that intensely raw, overwhelming pain and shock you feel immediately after the breakup will gradually diminish as time passes. Have faith in that timeline.
- Avoid Rebounding Too Quickly Just to Fill the Void. It’s tempting to try instantly replacing your ex with a new relationship to avoid feeling lonely. But take ample time to first rediscover your interests, values, and independent spirit outside the context of any relationship or partner.
- Don’t Expect Overnight Closure – Find acceptance that some questions about why the relationship failed or ended so suddenly may remain forever unanswered. For peace of mind, work on making your own closure without the other person.
- Consider Counseling If You Are Really Struggling – If months pass and you still can’t seem to move past the all-consuming grief, don’t hesitate to seek professional counseling and guidance to finally let go and move forward in a healthy manner.
With consistent compassion for yourself, utilizing healthy coping techniques, filling your life with positivity, and simply allowing time to organically heal wounds, you can recover from a difficult breakup to renew your spirit. Have faith that you will be able to love wholeheartedly again when the moment is right.