Just because your relationship is broken doesn’t mean you are. These wise words were immortalized in the book “It’s Called a Break-Up Because It’s Broken,” and they couldn’t be more true. But knowing that you’re not broken is one thing, and while sensible sayings may act like a Band-Aid, you may need to dig a little deeper to truly heal the hurt of a broken heart. Whether you were the one who walked away or the one that got left behind, there’s a lot of pain that comes with being newly single. Here are seven tips for getting over a breakup and healing your heart.
Accept that you’re grieving
The end of a relationship is a traumatic event that can leave you feeling like you lost your best friend, your life companion, or a close family member. With this comes grief, and you need to accept that it’s completely natural to experience a myriad of emotions that can leave you laughing one minute and sobbing the next.
There are seven stages of grief, and chances are, you’ll go through each one of them. Give yourself the time and space to go through the shock, denial, anger, bargaining, and acceptance that form part of these stages. There’s no timeline for grief either, so don’t let anyone tell you to “get over it!”
Cut contact online (and off)
It’s always tempting to keep following your ex on social media or to stalk them from time to time if you’re no longer friends. While real-world contact is often easier to cut off completely, getting over a breakup means going cold turkey on social media contact too. Seeing what your ex is up to will stir up all kinds of feelings that may leave you feeling raw for far longer than is necessary. Block them, delete them, or do whatever it takes to stop yourself from checking their Instagram or Facebook feeds. It won’t do your self-esteem any good to keep checking up on them, and it can cause you a great deal of hurt if they’ve already moved on.
Focus on your friends
Your friends are often an incredible source of support during a breakup, and they’re likely to know what will make you feel better, too. Make an effort to really connect with your friends and to relish the time you spend with them. Do things you all enjoy and try to shift the focus from your breakup on to new beginnings.
If your friendship circle has dwindled during your relationship, you may need to make amends. Use this time to reconnect with those you may have lost touch with and then keep the momentum going. If you don’t have many friends or are far from home, you could join a support group or explore other avenues that allow you to meet people whose company you enjoy. You could volunteer at a shelter, join a hiking group, or do any other activity that brings like-minded people together.
Shake up your routine
If you were in a long-term relationship, you almost certainly had a set routine. Getting over a breakup is the perfect time to rethink your routine and make it 100% yours. This is also a great time to introduce healthy habits that you may have neglected. From starting a workout plan to eating healthier, adjusting your nighttime routine to ensure better sleep health, or just focusing more on self-care and nurturing your needs, there are plenty of ways you can make small changes that bring about big results.
Start a new hobby (or pick up an old one)
After a breakup, just about everyone tries to stay busy. And there’s a good reason for this. If you’re keeping busy and being productive, you have less time to think about your loss, your past relationship, and all those other little details that hurt or upset you. While you do need to cope with all of this in time, you don’t have to rush the process. Find a positive outlet for your emotions and channel your energy into something new and different, or something old and familiar that you love. You may have a hobby that you gave up because you didn’t have time, or maybe there’s one you’ve always wanted to try. Do it! Put yourself and your needs first and find pleasure in whatever you do.
Take some time out and let it out
It might be tempting to jump back into the dating pool or ignore your emotions, but don’t. Give yourself time off to process what has happened, and why. If you dive straight into another relationship, you may encounter the same issues down the line, and nothing will have changed. Don’t be afraid to really get in touch with your emotions, either. Journaling is a great way to cope with what you’re feeling. It’s also proven to help with depression and anxiety—two emotions that often come with a breakup. It can also help to talk to a professional, so don’t be afraid of seeking counseling if you feel this is in your best interests. You’ll learn a lot and equip yourself with excellent coping mechanisms.
Do something just for you
People often cut their hair when they’re getting over a breakup, and for good reason. Making a change is cathartic. It signifies a new beginning, and it can help you reclaim your identity. Have you always wanted to dye your hair a fun color or get your nose pierced? Maybe try a new style of clothing? Go for it. It can feel like you’ve lost a bit of yourself in a breakup. Doing something just for you can help you move on and feel more like yourself.
After healing comes happiness
Although it may not seem like it at the time, you will find happiness again. Give yourself a chance to process what’s happened and focus on moving forward in whatever way works best. In time, you’ll be ready for new adventures in love.
Kim is the owner and publisher of Sass Magazine, as well as the owner of Sass Studios, a boutique graphic design studio in Frederick, MD. When not in the office, Kim can be found doing some of her favorite hobbies—reading a book, dancing, traveling, or playing with her rescued pitbull.