Breaking up. Blurry days of shock and devastation followed by lonely nights in your room with only the company of questions, nostalgia, heartbreak and tears...sound familiar?
This topic hits home (quite painfully) for me right now, but sharing my methods for dealing with breakups will hopefully help all of us out!
1. Strike a balance between "friend time" and "alone time"
Some of us are extroverts, and some of us are introverts. If you're extroverted, you probably tend to want to surround yourself constantly with people in order to get over sadness. If you're an introvert, you'll probably want to hole up in your room to reflect/wallow after a breakup. However, a healthy balance of these two methods will help you to heal faster and more completely. Give yourself time to reflect on your own, work things out in your head, and reach a peaceful place. Of course, that may involve struggling through some dark, turbulent thoughts and rather un-peaceful crying episodes for a while, but that alone time is where you can sort things out on your own time and on your own terms. Allow yourself to feel the flow of emotions and thoughts that naturally develop. Living in your own head for too long isn't good for you either though - going out and spending time with friends and family can prevent you from wallowing unhealthily. When you're with people, you can let out all the things that have been on your mind and be comforted with the sympathetic and encouraging words of those who love you. Hearing what others have to say can help you come to an even fuller understanding of your situation, bringing you closer to true acceptance and peace. Spending time with people who care for you and make you happy will make you realize how lucky and loved you are.
2. Love yourself and take care of your physical and emotional health
Breaking up hurts because you can no longer love and be loved by a person whom you have grown to care for so much. Naturally, you will feel the pain of sorrow and loneliness. In these times, you must proactively love yourself. How would you want to be cared for? Do it for yourself! Take care of your body by feeding it healthy, delicious foods and exercising. Many studies have shown how exercise naturally makes you feel happier and more confident, both of which are beneficial to you in your beaten-down, vulnerable state. You can take care of your emotional health by being kind to yourself. Buy yourself that expensive coat you've been eyeing. Put more effort into your appearance before you go out, so you feel like well-groomed, well-cared-for, and attractive. Make a date with yourself, and indulge your craving for that delicious ice cream at the warm cafe. If you love yourself the way you would want to be loved, you will start to feel desirable and joyful again.
3. Establish and work on personal goals
Relationships can be huge distractions and take up lots of our time. Chances are, now that you are no longer keeping in contact with and hanging out with someone, you are left with some time alone that you want to make productive. Maybe you had goals and ambitions that you kind of pushed to the wayside while you were spending all your time and mental investments on the person you were dating. Or perhaps you never really thought much about your individual identity and dreams, and you are now feeling worthless and purposeless in the aftermath of your breakup. Neither of these situations are good, so now is the time to get yourself up and running as a strong, admirable, unique individual! If you haven't ever made a list of personal goals, make it now. Just writing down the things you aspire to be and do can make you feel motivated and ready for a fresh start. Once you have your list of goals, start working on them right away. Buy a nice camera, start taking voice lessons, work on your project proposal for that business idea you've been wanting to pitch. Not only will staying busy and working towards your goals make you feel great about yourself, you will attract the interest and respect of others. Sooner or later, you may find yourself on a date with one of these admirers!
4. Stay friendly, positive, and open-minded
Depending on the depth of your feelings for your ex, you may feel as though you will never truly love again. You might not be able to imagine ever feeling so connected or happy with another person. Things that you used to care about (other than your ex-relationship) seem unimportant in your current state of devastation. However, it is important to consciously remain open-minded to people and opportunities that come your way. Acting friendly and positive may seem like a forced act at the moment, but really do try to say yes more than no. If an opportunity comes your way that you know you would be good at, take it and have fun with it. If someone cute shows interest in you, go on a casual date. You don't have to be completely healed to do these things, and being open to meeting new people and doing new things will actually help your mental healing process.
5. Maintain space between you and your ex
This is probably the hardest thing to do for many of us (myself included). Those waves of sentimentality and nostalgia hit, and all you want to do is call your ex, hug it out, and be together again. You probably want to stalk your ex's social media accounts - has he/she changed that profile picture of the two of you yet? Oh good, not yet. You're tempted to go to that event you know your ex will be at because you're dying to see that familiar, much-missed face again and maybe get to talk a little...but there better not be some new person in the picture! Honestly, that is all so unhealthy. If you know the breakup is for the best, don't torture yourself by holding on and remaining obsessed. When you're temped to contact your ex, call up a friend instead. Or go to sleep. Just don't make the healing time harder and longer than it has to be. Once enough time has passed, maybe you will both be ready to cross that space and talk about how things are going in your lives. But please, please keep that healthy distance until you are ready!
Posted on Mon, January 19, 2015