Break-up is something most of us go through at some point in our lives.They suck and are often painful but we tend to adopt this mindset of 'well, that's life','time is a healer' or 'you can do so much better - get back out there and move on!'
None of these things makes for great statements or pieces of wisdom when it comes to knowing what to do practically to move on or to genuinely begin to feel better about yourself and the situation.
How you get over a break-up can really impact how you then approach dating, future relationships and even life when it comes to your attitudes and beliefs.
There isn't a one size fits all 'get over a break-up' guide, but here are a few steps that should help you on the journey.
Accept what you’re feeling
Part of the reason why we struggle to deal with feelings is that we avoid feeling them! It’s ok to feel sad, lonely and angry after a break-up. It’s completely normal to feel any emotion that you are experiencing, no matter how uncomfortable that is.
Break-ups are crappy things to go through and usually very painful. So try to accept, that for a while at least, you’re going to be on board that emotional roller coaster. You’ll get through it quicker and in a far healthier way if you face all the emotional stuff head-on.
Focus on your physical health
Might sound boring but definitely important! If you're physically as strong as you can be during this tough time, you'll cope better and think more rationally emotionally. In short; eat well, sleep well and exercise. The more you let any of these things slide and allow your stress levels to get the better of you, the more your cortisol (stress hormone) levels will soar, and this is what we want to avoid! Going through a break-up will inevitably mean that any or all of these health things might fall by the wayside, so just be mindful of at least keeping them in check where you can. You’ll also feel and look better, which in turn, will help boost your confidence!
Whilst facing up to your emotions is important, you don't want to wallow in them. Or fall into that victim mentality. Obviously you're going to want to moan and even bitch when it first happens - that's normal. But get it out of your system and then try to avoid talking about the same negative stuff over and over. It really doesn't help and can lead you to do something you regret - like texting your ex!
Do something small every day to create new habits, fresh memories and to prompt yourself to keep moving forwards.Spend time around friends who bring out the best in you.
It’s important that you have people around you who you feel comfortable talking to openly. This doesn’t mean that it’s necessary to talk endlessly for hours about the break-up and your ex (as mentioned before), but just reaching out to a friend and expressing how you are feeling in itself can be so beneficial. Especially if you've been bottling a lot of things up.
Choose to spend time with people who bring out your best self and help you move on. Who encourages you to engage in new things and who you can have a laugh with! Now is the time to allow yourself to have fun!
Avoid contact with your ex
This is a big one! And a tough one. Unless children are involved or something else that genuinely means you need to stay in touch, in the first 2 - 3 months at least I'd say (I've been there and made this mistake!), don’t make contact with your ex. Not by `casually bumping into’ in person, by text, email, social media or via any form of communication.
If you feel the urge to text your ex, text a friend instead and get them to be your 'don't do it!' support buddy. Even if you’ve beentreated badly and want to lash out, don’t. You both need this time to reflect, deal with everything and see things from the true perspective no matter how harshthat reality might feel right now. The moment contact is initiated, it will cloud your vision and unleash all those painful emotions again.
When you come out of a relationship, one of the realisations can be that you've become socially isolated and don't actually have that many friends. So now is the perfect time to start to widen your social circle. Start to think of ways you can make this happen.
Accept invitations out that you would normally decline, reach out to friends you haven’t spoken to in a while, join interest groups, take a class or course, get involved in a new sport, join a gym. Anything that will involve you meeting new people. Even if you really don't feel like doing it! Aim to do something different every week. This is great for making connections and friends as well as finding new interests, hobbies and routines!
Work on your self-esteem
After going through a break-up, especially if you're the one who has been finished with, your self-esteem can take a real hit. A good exercise when feeling bad about yourself is to write down all your strengths. What are you really competent at, what characteristics do you have that make you a great person, what do your friends like about you, what are your talents and achievements?
The act of writing all of this down will help re-affirm all the strong, positive things about you and might help you rediscover passions that you could well have lost in the relationship. It might actually reveal some things you forgot too.
Gratitude might sound a bit woo woo but it's really helpful to think of the things that you are grateful for. We can become so self-consumed during a break-up, so taking time to look at the bigger picture and come back to all the amazing things and people we have in our life can really help get perspective.
If you’re going through a break-up and reading this post really not knowing how to start to feel better, do this. Write down 3 things that you’d like to do - for you, but have never got round to doing. It can be anything from working towards a 5Krun, trying out a new class that you've never made the time for, learning a language, travelling to a new place, finding a new job or even setting up a business. Ideally, something you need to work at over a period of time.
Once you’ve decided on your 3, write down the first tiny step in making them happen and do it. Even if it's the last thing you feel like doing! These goals will also likely be things that push you out of your comfort zone(great for confidence building) and will end in you feeling some form of achievement. They'll give you a new focus, get you out of your usual routine and bring in something new that you don't associate with your past relationship and ex!
About Laura Yates
Laura Yates is a relationship and dating coach specialising in helping men and women through breakups and heartbreak.