Breakup Survival Guide: Healing After a Breakup
If you’re reading this I’m guessing you’re going through a breakup. I’ve been there, I once had to live right next door to my ex for six months after going through a really horrible and painful breakup. Trust me, I know breakups really freaking suck. You lose the person you’re closest with and it’s painful and usually a whole big stupid mess. Please take extra good care of yourself during this time, losing a partner is hard but you will feel better eventually. I thought I wouldn’t ever get over the pain of my breakup but time really does help. The truth is, he really wasn’t right for me and I’m excited I have the chance to meet and fall in love with someone who is. I’m excited you have that chance too and I hope you feel better soon. If you’re struggling with depression be sure to check out my post on living with depression. Here’s my breakup survival guide. <3 I also have a whole epsidoe about breakups on my Podcast you can listen to below.
Don’t get me wrong, spend time on the couch eating pizza and watching TV. Let yourself rest and be real sad. Losing a partner is hard but eventually, shake it off and exercise hard. When I emotionally and mentally feel like crap exercising can help pull me out of it. When I’m feeling down I like to go hard and exercise as much as I can. However, if you’re just starting just do a little bit. Take a walk or do a dance routine. There are tons of workout videos on Youtube, these are my favorites.
Spend Time With Friends
Being in a relationship takes a lot of time and energy. When you’re in a relationship you don’t have as much time to spend with your friends. Now that you’re single spend some of that extra time with your friends. Reconnecting with your friends is the best thing about being single. Make plans to hang out with your friends after work and on the weekends. If your friends don’t live in the same city as you set up some Skype dates. Oftentimes going through a breakup can leave you with lots of extra time on your hands and you can start to feel lonely. Check out this post for tips on coping with loneliness.
Try Something New
I took a feminist history class and signed up for pole dancing classes but do whatever floats your particular boat. Sign up for some classes to learn something you’ve been wanting to do. This is the perfect time to spend some time doing things you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t had the time. Sign up for a dance class or join a new gym. Just try something freaking new. I also have a whole list of great books to read when you’re going through a breakup if you’re looking for some inspiration.
Give Up Unhealthy Coping
Whenever I’m feeling down the first thing I do is quit drinking alcohol. I actually just gave up alcohol and I have a whole new podcast episode about it you can check out on iTunes or Podbean. Alcohol is a depressant and when I’m sad it makes me feel like total crap. I’m a fan of cold turkey quitting. If you have a unhealthy coping mechanism just give it up and be done with it. I know this doesn’t work for everyone but this is what works for me. Focus on how you want to feel and get dead serious about eliminating everything standing in your way from feeling that way.
Feel Your Feelings
Get sad and cry on the couch for awhile. Get freaking angry and throw some pillows at the wall. Write in a journal. Really get in your head and feel your feelings. It sucks but it’s just part of the process. The great thing about feelings is that they are temporary. You might feel like you’ll be upset forever but you won’t. People survive terrible and unspeakable tragedies every day and eventually are able to move on and find joy in life. Your feelings are like a storm and they will pass.
Don’t get me wrong, eat all the ice cream and pizza but ya know not forever. Once you’re done with your junk food bender go to the store and get healthy food that you like. Learn how to make a salad that you like (I like this one). Start making smoothies for breakfast. Eat fish and vegetables for dinner. Salmon has been shown to help with depression and I have a stupid simple recipe you can check out. Whenever I’m going through something stressful I try and eat really healthy to keep myself from going into some kind of big depressive funk.
Losing a partner can be traumatic and screw up your sleep schedule. I’ve had a really hard time sleeping after breakups. The best thing I’ve found is to get up really early and stay busy. If you can’t sleep start getting up at 4:30am or 5:00am and work really hard all day. Exercising helps but getting up early is what helps me the most. I also take a small dose of melatonin if I’m really having a hard time sleeping. It’s hard to do any kind of healing if you’re freaking exhausted.
Train Your Brain
It’s so easy to obsess over everything you miss about that person or everything that went wrong. At some point, you have to just make yourself stop. You have to be really diligent with your thoughts when you start thinking about that person make yourself think about something else. I like to replay things in my head over and over, eventually, I just have to make myself stop thinking about it.
Get Off Social Media
Someday maybe you can be Facebook friends but now is not the time. You can’t move on with your life and go onto do all the kick ass things you need to do if you’re looking at your exes Facebook page. Unfriend them. I’m dead serious. Right now, go unfriend them on everything.
Make a Gratitude List
Even though your relationship ended you still have so much to be thankful for. Make a list of every. single. thing. you can think of that you’re thankful for. When I’m sad I start obsessing over everything in my life that I wish was different. It’s easy to lose perspective and forget about how blessed I am and all the great people and things I have in my life. Writing out a list can help you remember of all the great things in your life. If you’re interested in doing some gratitude journaling I have a whole list of free gratitude prompts here and you can find my free guided gratitude meditations here. I have a free gratitude worksheet you can get for free below.
See a Therapist
Going through a breakup is really hard if you’re struggling go see a therapist. If you’re in college they probably have a therapist you can see for free. I spent years of my life suffering instead of going to a therapist and getting the help I needed. I regret suffering all those years instead of getting help. I have a whole article on going to therapy for the first time. If you’re interested in online therapy I use the service BetterHelp. This service lets me talk to my counselor at my convenience through text, phone call or video chat. I’ve found it’s really helpful when I’m feeling down and can’t get motivated to talk to someone face to face.
Make a Breakup Mix
I don’t have a breakup mix but I have a Single Ladies Bump mix on Spotify. Make a playlist of all the songs that make you feel like a total bad ass and play it whenever you’re feeling crappy. I love making playlists, whenever I break up with someone I listen to Destiny Child’s Survivor on repeat.
Make a List of Why it Didn’t Work Out
It’s easy to only remember all the good times and forget about the flaws of your relationship. No relationship is perfect so write out a list of its flaws to remind yourself why it didn’t work out. When you’re feeling down or you’re starting to obsess remember that your relationship ended for a reason. It’s an easy way to give yourself a good shot of reality.
When you’re going through a breakup it’s easy to think you won’t have another relationship that will be as great as the last one but (trust me) that’s not true. You have no idea what’s waiting for you in the future and an epic relationship could be right around the corner. I watched a video about a YouTuber that met his partner in a holocaust museum. You just never know what’s going to happen so get excited about the possibilities.
Breakups are hard so now is the time to step up your self-care game. I have a list of self care ideas that won’t cost you a God damn thing. Try to stay busy and fill your time with things that make you feel good and energize you. Take a long walk or get ice cream. Give yourself a pedicure. Just give yourself permission to spend extra time taking care of yourself. I have a whole guide on extreme self-care you should go read when you’re done with this post.
Don’t Make Any Big Decisions
Whenever I go through a breakup I’m ready to change my whole damn life overnight but trust me and just chill girl. Now might now be the best time to move out of state or get a tattoo. If you’re about to make an impulsive decision try and wait a couple weeks to make sure it’s what you really want to do. When I’m upset I get really impulsive and I have to remind myself that quitting my job and selling everything I own isn’t going to make me feel better. If you are upset the best thing to do is just wait it out.
A breakup is a perfect time for a fresh start. Rearrange all your bedroom and living room furniture. Clean out your junk drawer and donate all the clothes in your closet you never wear anymore. Buy yourself new underwear and get rid of the ones you’ve had forever (is that just me?). Find the perfect shade of red lipstick and start wearing it all the time. If you’re feeling more daring you can always go for the classic breakup move and get a new hairstyle. A breakup always feels kind of like the start of the new year to me, it’s a chance for a fresh start. Figure out some ways you can give your life some upgrades.
Don’t Try To Be Friends Right Away
Tough love/hot truth time. DO NOT TRY TO BE FRIENDS WITH YOUR EX. This hardly ever works out and will probably blow up in your face. I know it’s hard when you go through a breakup and you have the same friend group. You might feel like you have to see your ex for the sake of your friends. YOU DON’T. Do not hang out with your ex. Just don’t. I know they were a huge part of your life and it’s hard to lose someone close to you but you’re only going to drag it out and make it hurt worse for both of you.
Make Plans for the Future
Plan something you can get really excited for. Start filling up your new free time with plans to go to happy hour or brunch. Give yourself something badass to look forward to and start planning an epic trip to somewhere you’ve always wanted to go. Big trips take time to plan so if you want to do a big trip to Europe or South America next year now is the time to plan. Figure out a budget and look at ways you can start putting money away for your trip. Having an epic adventure to look forward to always keeps me motivated in my day to day life. If you want more ideas to check out my post on how to create the life you want to live.
Take It One Day at a Time
You just have to get through today. Focus on doing whatever you can to make this day a little better. Eventually, it will get easier but right now you just have to make it through one day at a time. If you’re really sad or upset just give yourself a break and don’t worry about the future. You don’t even need to think about what’s going to happen tomorrow. Just get through this one day. Time really is healing so just get through one day at a time and know that eventually, you will start to feel better.
Stay insanely busy. Start exercising at 6 am and make plans with friends after work. Write a book, start a blog or jump head first into some other creative project. Find a new hobby, take up tennis or volunteering or whatever you need to do to keep yourself busy. Become a regular at a coffee shop and read all the books you bought but never got around to reading. If you need some books to reach check out my post of books to read during a breakup.
Watch this pep talk from Kandee Johnson
I hope this post gives you some ideas to help you get through your breakup. I have a ton of other posts about depression and anxiety and I would love it if you checked them out. I also have a whole library full of free worksheets and other resources you can access here and a mental health podcast. I hope you are able to heal from your breakup soon and please just know there is tons of love and happiness waiting for you in the future. Take this time to focus on yourself and do tons of self-care. This time is all about you and doing what you want so try to enjoy it.
I am not a licensed therapist or mental health professional. If you are suffering from a major disorder and need treatment please seek the help of a professional. If you need help finding a mental health care provider call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit BetterHelp to talk to a certified therapist online at an affordable price. You can download a free printable list of hotlines here and join the free mental health support group on Facebook here. This post contains affiliate links, you can read my full disclosure policy here.
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