There have been a lot of people lately that I care about who have been going through difficult breakups. Talking with them and hearing the pain this is causing them has caused me to want to give some input on some healthy things you can do when going through a breakup.
For starters, breakups are rarely easy. Even if you both agree that a breakup is necessary, it doesn’t mean that the transition period won’t be difficult or painful. Breakups often impact all areas of our life making it hard to focus, eat, sleep or keep up our usual routine. There are a lot of myths out there about what to do when you are going through a breakup, most of which (in my opinion) aren’t healthy yet alone realistic, so here are my favorite things to recommend if you are struggling through the end of an important relationship.
- Allow Yourself To Grieve: One of the things we hear all the time is to keep busy and not think about it. I don’t believe it’s possible to not think about something when it is having such an impact on your emotions and your overall life. While I don’t think it is healthy to isolate yourself all the time either, constantly trying to avoid the feelings this breakup is bringing up by avoiding down time is only going to make the pain and discomfort drag on longer. Instead, give the emotions that are coming up for you some space. They are there to teach you something and to make you realize that you are affected by things that are important to you. The emotions can seem scary at times because they feel like they will consume you, but if you give yourself permission to really feel them despite it being painful, you will move past them and this will get easier in time. Try to give yourself some time each day to process what is coming up for you.
- It’s Okay to Talk: When a relationship ends, sometimes we aren’t sure what we should do or how much contact we should have in relation to our ex. This is one area where there isn’t one right answer. Instead, listen to what your needs are and try to meet them. If you feel you really need to talk to your ex then call or text them. If you feel you can’t handle hearing their voice because it will hurt too much then take some space. It can be hard to go from speaking and seeing each other every day to never talking so if you find yourself needing to talk what I want you to pay attention to is the reason behind the need and what you are looking to accomplish by talking to him/her. Texting or calling to check in because you genuinely miss them and want to see how they are doing is okay. If underneath you know the reason you are calling is to get angry with him/her, or to manipulate or make him/her feel guilty, try to find a different way to soothe. Your anxiety through all this will be high but it isn’t your ex’s responsibility to lower it, it’s yours. If you call them for the wrong reason it will leave you feeling worse, not better, after you talk.
- Try To Be Kind Not Cruel To Yourself: After a breakup we can sometimes become someone we aren’t and obsess about things. This is normal (within reason). If you find yourself, for example, constantly looking on your ex’s Facebook page or talking with his friends to hear how he/she is doing, ask yourself what you are hoping to find out. If you are wanting to see how he/she is doing, why not call or text to find out for yourself. Just because your relationship ended doesn’t mean your ex has become someone completely different overnight. If you see pictures of him/her out having fun, instead of taking these as proof that he/she never cared about you or that your ex is unphased by the breakup, tell yourself that your ex is just doing what he/she needs to do to get by. If you were out with friends and someone took a picture of you, you would try to seem happy in the photo as well. Additionally, if these things keep making you feel worse, do what you can to stop looking at them. During this time you want to try to do things that make you feel better not worse. We can’t always stop ourselves from going to their Facebook page for example, but we can choose how we are going to react to things that we see. Try to remember that your ex still cares about you even if you can’t be together; it is very rare we hate someone we once loved. So work to flip the negative stories you are telling yourself into something more kind.
- Self-Care: I know I take about this a lot but it is because it is so important. After a break up you won’t be able to manage all things you could before. Your energy will likely be low and it can make it hard to eat or sleep. Take time to do self-care every day. Give yourself permission to just be instead of trying to be who you were before all this happened. Your ability to do your job, exercise and look after yourself will come back but right now you just need to take the time your need to heal.
If you are going through a tough breakup right now, know that I am thinking of you and sending you tons of warmth.