SURVIVING A BREAKUP: SEVEN INDISPENSABLE TIPS
By Bikini Staff
Practically everyone will face the end of a romantic relationship at some point in their lives, and those who have been through it before know it’s never easy.
The temptation to lie in bed all day and eat everything in the house can be overwhelming, and there are times it feels as though the pain will never stop. There are some healthy ways, however, to deal with the sadness, the stress, and the anxiety that come with a breakup. Here are a few of the best.
#1 Keep Busy
It’s very cliché, but idle hands really are the devil’s workshop. Not keeping yourself busy physically and mentally makes it much more likely you’ll be tempted to handle your breakup stress in unhealthy ways– by eating too much, drinking too much alcohol, or engaging in risky behaviors, sexual or otherwise.
“Now is the time to take on new hobbies and explore things you’ve always wanted to try.”
Now is the time to take on new hobbies and explore things you’ve always wanted to try. Are you passionate about a cause? Look for volunteer opportunities in your area by doing an internet search on some of your favorite charities. Have you always wanted to try yoga or rock climbing? Call some studios or climbing gyms in your area and sign up for classes. Keeping busy will cut down on the time you spend dwelling on your ex or the relationship itself, and can help the downtime you have pass more quickly than it would just lying in bed watching TV.
“Giving yourself permission to grieve for the loss of a partner can dramatically speed up the healing process.”
While it’s important to stay busy, that doesn’t mean it’s not okay to take time out to be sad. A breakup isn’t the time for a stiff upper lip. Giving yourself permission to grieve for the loss of a partner can dramatically speed up the healing process. The body even produces different kinds of tears: basal tears provide lubrication, and reflex tears help eliminate foreign particles in the eye. The tears shed in response to emotion, however, are measurably different chemically and contain elevated levels of hormones, some of them stress related.
It’s a normal, healthy way for your body to shed a little emotional baggage. Just don’t let it become an all-consuming event– set aside some time to mourn every day, and when it’s over, move on to doing something else.
It’s probably the last thing in the world you feel like doing, but exercise may improve your short-term outlook more than anything else you can do. Research into the efficacy of antidepressants has consistently shown exercise is just as, if not more, effective than most SSRIs in relieving symptoms of depression and anxiety. Elevating the heart rate for a moderate amount of time each day encourages the brain to produce the feel-good chemicals endorphins, enkephalins, and endocannabinoids. These increase your sense of calm and well-being, in addition to giving you some energy to get through the rest of your day. And don’t forget the added benefit exercise has of keeping you looking fit and fabulous.
#4 No Contact
“So avoid any and all phone calls, texts, and delete your ex from social media.”
Visit any forum or message board devoted to advising breakup survivors, and it’s hard to miss the common refrain of “NC” or “no contact”. And it means exactly that. Prohibiting all contact between the two of you can make all the difference when it comes to expediting your post breakup funk. So avoid any and all phone calls, texts, and delete your ex from social media. Once your shared possessions are split up, say your goodbyes and let that be the end.
The temptation to call and ask if he still has that T-shirt you’ll never wear again may be overwhelming sometimes, so it helps if you delete any of your ex’s phone numbers or email addresses. And, if you can’t trust yourself not to attempt to contact him after a few glasses of wine (the dreaded “drunk dial”), give your phone to a friend beforehand with strict instructions not to let you call for any reason.
#5 A Strong Support System
Friends and family, even those you don’t feel particularly close to, can be a fantastic post-breakup resource. Part of this is because they can help keep you busy, by organizing things for you to do together and getting you out of the house. It’s also nice to occasionally have a not-so-objective shoulder to cry on from someone who will back you up regardless of the circumstances surrounding the breakup.
Spending extra time with those who love you should remind you that you aren’t broken and are still worthy of a healthy, happy relationship. Try to limit the amount of time spent around particularly affectionate couples, though, especially in the beginning. It can be hurtful to have that kind of constant visual reminder of what you’ve recently lost.
#6 Alone Time
Even though time with loved ones is a wonderful, and necessary, part of the healing process, so too is having some time alone. You might have to relearn how to do keep yourself entertained on your own, especially if you and your ex cohabited. This doesn’t mean you have to spend that time reflecting on the failed relationship or curled up in bed with a pint of ice cream. Instead, try picking up a new solo hobby. Something like knitting or crocheting is a great way to keep your hands busy, and there are plenty of instructional videos available online.
Enjoy cleaning? Now’s the time to do all those chores you keep putting off like cleaning out the closet or the garage. Whatever it is, try to pick a relatively easy task to do alone that will leave you with a sense of accomplishment when completed. Keeping your momentum moving forward, and figuring out how to get through some of the tough times on your own, will do wonders for your post-breakup mood.
#7 Know When to Ask for Help
Sadness and anxiety are going to be part of the end of any relationship, and sometimes those feelings can be all-consuming. After a reasonable period of time, though, the sadness and fear should start to subside and return to more normal levels. If these feelings do not, or if they begin to seriously interfere with and disrupt things like work, school, eating, or sleeping, then it’s time to get some help from a professional. Seeing a therapist is a great place to start getting some help. Ask friends if they can recommend someone, or do an internet search for counselors in your area.
A good therapist can give you some objective, outside perspective on the thoughts and feelings you’re having and whether or not they’re starting to affect your life. If she thinks it’s necessary, she might even put you in touch with a psychiatrist who can prescribe medication to help you deal with the depression, anxiety, or sleeplessness. Most importantly, if at any point post-breakup you feel like harming yourself, or ending your life, call a suicide hotline (or 911 if it’s an emergency situation) to talk to someone who can help.
Breakups are never easy, but it doesn’t have to mean the end of the world. By taking care of yourself, staying busy, and surrounding yourself with people who love you, you can be back to your old self in no time. NATURAL BIKINI