This is something we all struggle with once, if not more than once, in our lives. I personally have experienced about five painful break ups in my life and have felt heartbroken even more times than that. I am an emotionally charged gal, what can I say? Because of my emotional personality and my past experience with pulling myself out of heartbreak, I am often someone that friends feel comfortable talking to when they are struggling with their heartbreak, and I love that. Discussing healthy ways to overcome these hurtful situations is something I enjoy and feel comfortable doing, so I wanted to share some insight you can refer back to whenever you may need it.
1. Talk to someone you trust.
Talk to a handful of people you trust, whether it’s one parent, one best friend, your therapist, a group of friends, your peers, your colleagues, or your cousins—whoever you feel comfortable opening up to. Anyone but your ex! This is so important. Being able to comfortably open up about what you’re going through is so therapeutic, and when you have trustworthy individuals giving you solid advice, it can be life changing. And talking to your ex will only have your mind and heart go in endless circles with no resolution (guilty of this). Even though it is 2020, I still feel like I need to say this: Going to therapy or counseling is nothing to be ashamed of. I found myself in counseling after my most recent break up a few years ago because I was just struggling so much. Shout out to my therapist at that time for getting me through that! What a mess I was.
2. Rediscover your hobbies or passions.
Have you neglected your art? Have you stopped reading because you haven’t had the time? Haven’t picked up a tennis racquet in months? Find something to do that makes you feel happy or helps relieve stress. If you don’t know what that “something” is, try a bunch of new things. Buy some coloring books, take guitar lessons, borrow some new books from your local library, or ask your friends to go play tennis in the park. It could be anything!
Spending more time with family, friends, or peers can help distract you. So go ahead, phone a friend and make plans! Just remember you cannot get offended and pissed off if friends are not available for hanging out every single night of the week. I’ve been both the heartbroken friend and the “to the rescue” friend, so I understand both sides. Yes, your true friends will understand your pain and will do their best to help you through, but you cannot expect them to drop everything in their life every day. That’s just not reality, and it’s not fair to get mad at them for it.
4. Write or journal.
No matter who you are, and even if you have never journaled before or think that “writing in a diary” is dumb, it can be really helpful for a few reasons. By writing your feelings down on paper, you are physically releasing the negative energy onto the paper. Some people find this act alone to be therapeutic. Maybe today you are feeling strong and resilient, but in a few days you will feel sad again. It might be nice to have a positive, encouraging journal entry to read when you need a reminder that you can overcome this hard time! Writing in a journal during a breakup allows you to have a private space to unleash all your emotions. No one else needs to know you have a journal and no one else needs to ever read it. Let it be a space for you and yourself only.
5. Start a new project.
Maybe your bedroom needs to be repainted or maybe you’ve always wanted to get a dog. Now may be the time to start something new!
6. Throw yourself deeper into your job or schooling.
Focus on earning a promotion or studying for a big test. Turn your negative energy into something positive. Who knows, maybe you will earn yourself a pay raise for your efforts or receive a scholarship for your awesome college entrance paper you worked so hard on.
7. Create a new routine.
If you pass your ex’s house on your commute home from work, find a new route. If you’re used to seeing your significant other every week at a certain place or Facetiming every night at a specific time, find new things to fill those empty time slots. Create a new, healthy routine for yourself. Join a gym and go during the time you’d normally see your boyfriend. Revenge body, anyone?! Make plans to FaceTime your best friend when you’d normally expect a call from your significant other. Go out for drinks, coffee, ice cream, you name it. Take a bubble bath. Mix things up so you don’t associate everything you do with your ex.
8. Travel alone.
I can’t speak from personal experience, but I can imagine traveling alone to be extremely cleansing to the mind and heart. Traveling is so good for the soul—you experience new cultures, navigate unfamiliar places on your own, and get to have a whole plush king bed to yourself in a fancy hotel. What’s not to love! And what better way to say fuck you to your ex than posting cool, exotic selfies from your adventures on Instagram?
9. Take a break from social media if you need it.
Social media is amazing in so many ways, but it is also a very dangerous place. I personally find social media to be more hurtful than positive in my own life. Remove your ex from your social media accounts or at least “unfollow” them on Facebook so you do not see all of their updates. If you find yourself constantly digging back into old photos (guilty) or stalking your ex’s current life (and guilty), maybe it is a time to take a break from social media. You can always come back. However, I have also found that unfollowing things that hurt/upset you and replacing those accounts with motivational, happy accounts can be helpful.
10. Try a dating app when you feel ready.
There are many free dating apps these days that allow you to connect with singles in your area. Since you can do this from the comfort of your own home, I always encourage my newly single/struggling friends to do this. I’m not saying you have to fall immediately in love with someone on an app and jump into a relationship, but matching and talking with single people may boost your ego. I know it did for me. Knowing that all those single guys matched with ME and wanted to talk to ME made me feel worth something. Granted, not every person you meet on an app will be a good, wholesome individual, but swiping through dating apps can be fun nonetheless. And who knows, you just may meet your next lover!
You may not be okay right away. Allow yourself to ride the roller coaster of emotions (as long as you are not harming yourself or others). Hopefully when you feel up for it, you will find yourself again and remember that you are a strong, powerful individual.