Breakups are hard. There’s no sugarcoating it. Whether you’ve been with someone for six months or six years, losing someone you love sucks. All you want to do is climb in bed and pull the covers over your head.
But even though we sometimes fall into the “my life is over’’ trap, the world doesn’t end just because your relationship did. Your life isn’t over, it’s changed, and how to deal with that change and the emotions that come with it is entirely up to you.
Like Florence and the Machine sing,“It’s always darkest before dawn.” But how do you get through the dark and stormy night?
Like we’ve mentioned in the past, emotional wellness is our ability to accept our emotions and effectively manage them through challenge and change. Staying emotionally well while enduring a heartbreak isn’t a walk in the park – no one says it is – but there are things you can do to keep your head up high.
Throw Out Your Phone
…not literally. But you absolutely cannot fall into the trap of checking on your ex’s social media profiles. It will keep you looking to the past and not towards your future. You may need to mute, block, or unfriend your ex, as painful as that may feel, but doing so will remove the temptation to see what they’re up to and the inevitable emotional triggers that come with it. Blocking your ex may seem extreme, but those pesky social media algorithms aren’t on your side. Free yourself from seeing them on your feed. If there are any social media pages you should be looking at post-breakup, it’s the ones that will help you get through. One of our dating and breakup favorites is tinymoron, whose comics about dating dilemmas and heartaches are filled with digestible truths and advice.
It’s Okay to Not Be Okay
We know, you’ve heard this before, but the reason you keep hearing it is that it’s true. Don’t fight your feelings (they will win). You lost someone, it’s sad! You need to allow yourself to feel sad about what you lost. You can – and should – grieve over everything, from the date nights and inside jokes to the future you’ve already planned out in your mind. Anger, sadness, anxiety, etc…allow yourself to experience all of these emotions, even when they’re uncomfortable. Suppressing them or numbing them (been there) to escape them is a short-term unsustainable solution that will inevitably leave you with long-term pain. Let it out! Cry, vent, squeeze a stress ball. Express and manifest these emotions so that you can recognize you’re experiencing them and you can get the catharsis you need. Remind yourself that although heartache hurts, you’re going to be OK. If you’re a human (you are, right?) you’ve been through hardship before, and since it’s in the past you have the ability to overcome it. As Glennon Doyle says, you can do hard things. Remember that.
No, Your Life Isn’t Over
Like we said, expressing your emotions is a key ingredient in the post-breakup recipe, but letting them out doesn’t mean a few thoughts we’re left behind. The rage or sadness may have dissipated, but the negative thoughts may still remain. While feeling sad is part of the grieving process, self-pity is different. “I’ll never be happy again” or “My life is ruined forever” are exaggerated negative thoughts that need to be evicted from your brain ASAP. Hosting your own pity party prevents you from getting better. Period. Life is not always going to be easy, so you can either support yourself through it or punish yourself and make it significantly harder (shout to selfishladies for this gem). So don’t make it hard on yourself, and a good first step is to change your attitude. As the yourbreakupbestie says, see your breakup as a blessing. If it wasn’t meant to be, it means you’re meant to do something else. Follow that path.
Put Yourself First
No, we don’t mean a pint of ice cream, Netflix binges, and a bottle of wine. Practice caring for yourself. On the physical side, make sure you’re eating right, exercising regularly, showering consistently, and getting plenty of sleep. On the mental side, spend time with good friends, go for a walk in nature, listen to music, read a favorite book, or experiment with mindfulness (mindfulnessmatters is a great place to start). Even indulging yourself a little can be a real mood booster. Think about things that bring you joy and try to incorporate them into your life. Learning to take care of yourself can be one of the most valuable lessons you learn following a breakup.
Ask For Help
If you’re having a difficult time mending your broken heart on your own, there is no shame in seeking additional help. Friends and family can offer support and help you feel less alone, but sometimes it’s just not enough. Therapists can assist you in moving through the grief process in a healthy way by helping you identify unhealthy coping methods and replace them with positive ones. If therapists are too pricey (they are), there are other ways you can receive support. Support groups, both online and in-person, can help you connect with people going through a similar experience. Ironically, being with other people going through a breakup actually helps you gain more insight into yours.
Recovering from a breakup is hard and takes time, but remember: it’s always darkest before the dawn. You can get through this.