8 Tips for Coping with a Break-Up
Updated: Dec 7, 2022
Breakups are hard regardless of who initiated the breakup, or even if it was amicable. If you ended the relationship, you may be feeling overwhelmed and confused as to why you are feeling upset. Regardless of who ended the relationship, many individuals experience symptoms of grief, even if the breakup happened for good reasons. The reality is that a loss has happened, therefore symptoms of grief are completely normal and to be expected. Sometimes this is referred to as an ambiguous loss.
A few things to help you cope with this new loss…
1. Acknowledge how you feel
It might seem appealing to completely avoid what you are feeling, or to use unhealthy coping to distract yourself. Drinking excessively or engaging in a rebound hookup will only prolong the healing process. Depending on why the relationship ended, you may experience any of the following: sadness, anger, regret, sorrow, acceptance, relief, hope, depression, hopelessness, humiliation, to name a few. We might be confused by what we are feeling, but that does not mean that it is wrong. Taking a moment to simply acknowledge and name what you are feeling will help you to begin healing. “Name it to tame it” is a helpful phrase to remember this.
2. Talk to someone
Sharing with someone you trust about how and what you are feeling can help you to feel less alone. You may even want to seek out the help of a therapist who specializes in relationships and/or grief. Being able to share what you feel and be seen and heard can be a powerful source of healing. Many individuals find it useful to see a therapist during life transitions
3. Journal about what you are feeling and thinking
Sometimes talking to someone can be scary and feel too vulnerable. Beginning to write out what you are thinking and feeling can be a way to express yourself without feeling too exposed. It can be useful to combine the two and write about how you are feeling and then share that with a trusted friend or family member.
4. Engage self-care
It can be hard to practice basic self-care when you are feeling lonely and hurt. Especially if you are having symptoms of depression and low mood. Being able to care for your body and mind will help you feel better about yourself and the situation. As you begin to engage in these daily practices, whether it is simply sitting in the shower, name this to yourself as a success and progress towards healing.
5. Practice self compassion
If the other person initiated the break up, it can often feel as though you are the problem or that something is wrong with you. This is not true. Relationships end for a multitude of reasons, and trying to dissect those reasons while we are emotionally raw can be enticing but ineffective. Provide yourself the space to feel without judgment and tell yourself that you will complete the dissecting later.
6. Take time
In the same vein of practicing self compassion, remind yourself that it will take time to get over the break up. You may experience all of the stages of grief, and we know that grief comes in waves. You may feel okay one day, and angry or sad the next day. This is okay and normal. Recognizing that it will take time to process the break up will help you to be gentle with yourself.
7. Use distraction when necessary
Distraction can be a great tool to utilize when we are feeling flooded with emotion or overwhelmed. Distraction can be unique to the individual - maybe you go for a run, hangout with friends, or play video games. These can all be great ways to distract yourself from the overwhelming feelings that may come after a break up.
8. Avoid using substances
Utilizing alcohol, marijuana, food, or other substances can feel like a good option due to the mind altering effects it provides, but it will only prolong the healing process. What we don’t feel now, we will eventually feel later.
Ultimately, breakups are hard and can feel like your world is crumbling. Knowing when to get some professional help is a crucial part of any life transition. Utilizing these tips discussed here can be a great first step towards healing. There’s nothing wrong with seeking out a professional to talk to about the break up regardless of what stage you’re at. If you find that these tips are not helping, you are having thoughts of death/dying, or you find yourself utilizing substances more than normal, then it might be time to talk to a professional.