5 Things You Can Do To Help Heal After a Breakup
There is no doubt about it: breakups can often be agonizing and difficult to process. Whether you were blindsided or initiated the split – you might wonder why a breakup hurts so much. This article provides some tips on what to do when you’re in this early stage of separation.
If you’re fresh out of a breakup, this means you have a big open wound. It may be an emotional one, but it must be treated with utmost care and sensitivity. You can’t magically make that wound disappear, but you don’t want to make it worse. The goal is to nurture your heart and sense of self back to an equilibrium and there are simple ways you can do that.
Note that what you do in the beginning stage to protect yourself will look different than later staged when you’ve built up more strength.
Here are five things you need to know when recovering from a breakup.
1: Be Kind to Yourself
It may sound mundane, but one of the most important things to remember while going through a breakup is to be kind to yourself. This means when the urge comes to blame yourself or when you get caught up in ‘shoulds’ – you recognize that your mind is playing tricks on you. These are called cognitive distortions (you can learn about that in this health podcast). For now, take deep breaths, do a state change by going for a walk, dancing it out, or do some jumping jacks. This can help pattern interrupt so you stop the rumination spiral.
2: Allow Yourself to Grieve
When we say goodbye to a partner, we are often thrown into a stage of significant change. Give yourself time to grieve the person that is no longer in your life, and give space for all the unpleasant emotions you may want to bury. Turn off your devices, have a good cry, and focus on leaning into how you feel. The emotions needs space to breathe. They need to be released. If you don’t find ways to do that in a healthy way, they will only build up, or release in unconscious ways like blame, misguided rage, and so on. Go journal, talk to a friend and give yourself permission to feel angry and upset.
3: Don’t Be Afraid to Say “No” or ask for help
Shortly after a breakup, you may feel that friends or family in your support group are encouraging you to move on. Remember: you are healing on your own time. If there are days where you need to stay in, rest, or change plans, don’t be afraid to say so. Express your boundaries, and ask for space if you need it. Following that same idea, it’s okay to ask for help when you need it. If you are struggling and need support, reach out to a loved one or a trained professional, especially if you don’t feel comfortable sharing your grief with someone you know.
4: Focus on Self-Improvement
Another way to process a breakup is by focusing on self-improvement. If you find that you have extra time in your schedule, try filling it with something new that lights you up. Find an outdoor activity like hiking, learning a new sport, take a course online, or start a hobby; it can help you learn more about yourself, your interests, and what future goals you want to achieve (while also taking your mind off the situation at hand).
5: Make Exciting Plans for the Future
Whether we want to or not, it’s common to recall memories of our partners in the places we like to go and the activities we do in our day-to-day life. Making plans for the future can help take your mind off your breakup and give you something to look forward to. It can be as simple as dinner with friends or a breakup retreat. What’s important is having something on the calendar that you know will be rewarding. You get dopamine just by thinking about it.
Remember that healing from a breakup takes time. There’s no right or wrong amount of time. There’s no textbook way to grieve. It’s a process. That process requires respect and acceptance. Taking time for yourself can be a beautiful opportunity to grow and learn more about what you want (and don’t want) – in all aspects of your life.