“I know it hurts now, sweetheart. But, that's how you know that it was a relationship worth having.”
This famous quote from the popular American sitcom, Modern Family is probably the best way to make peace with a breakup. It is okay to get hurt. Whether you broke up with him or he broke up with you, the pain is inevitable.
But, not all of us will have the presence of mind to think rationally right after a break-up. That is okay too. While all the reasons for ending a relationship still exists, the roller coaster of emotions, the want for familiarity, and the rush to get to the point where it stops hurting also exists. There is no way of sugar-coating it. Breakups are like a train wreck inside the brain.
It is perfectly normal to sleep all day or party till you drop. But, not all of us have the luxury to stay in bed and cry for six months or take a trip to Paris. So, how do you get over a break-up? The answer is that it is not an overnight process. You have to be patient and take it one day at a time.
But, You don’t have to figure it all out alone. Here are 15 steps to ease this long process.
Our brain has all sorts of defence mechanisms which aims at only one thing. Avoid pain. The human mind is more interested in skipping the long term healing process to achieve instant good feeling. But, that is not a healthy or sustainable strategy. Hoping that things will be mended and the relationship shall be reinstated is more fiction your mind make than fact. What mostly in waiting shall be the re-experiencing the heartache all over again which you have already underwent.
The first step to surviving a heartbreak is to face it. Accepting this reality is the hardest part of any breakup. There is no point in lying to yourself. You have to admit to yourself all the reasons why you are no longer in a relationship with him. This will surely cause great pain, but you are stronger than this pain.
Trying your hardest to pretend that you are not sad is a waste of energy. Cry as long as you want to. It doesn’t make your weak. Belittling the breakup as something worth not crying over is not going to work either. You are sad about a loss, and you are allowed to be. You can’t put the past behind unless you grieve the breakup.
The chances of feeling alone and incomplete without him are high. But, be smart enough to understand that it is only the result of habit you used to have when he was around. You have been talking to him and hanging out with him for a period of time. You have been planning your day around this relationship. It has been a very important part of your everyday life. When that part no longer exists, it is normal to feel like something is missing.
What is the solution? The solution lies in focusing on you. The individual that existed before he came to your life. There are things that define you and that you enjoy doing. If you haven’t really thought about who you are without a partner, now would be a good time to start thinking. The person who you most love, care, and stay loyal to is you. And that person is still very much in your life.
The temptation to overthink the possibilities if you had done something different in a relationship is hard to resist. Blaming yourself is not a productive act. Even if you had done things that you regret, blaming yourself over and over is not going to change the past. If you feel guilty about your actions, own them up. Go on to apologise if that will make you feel better.
‘What if’ and ‘Could have been’ are mere possibilities that you are imagining. They might or might not have come true. But, there is no way to be sure about that. The important fact is that you acted the way that you deemed appropriate at that point of time. Be proud of it.
The desire to still keep the person you loved in life is normal. But, there is no switch that you can flip and change your relationship status from lovers to friends. If you both wants to remain friends, it is a great idea. But, the transformation is not immediate. Take your time to get over the relationship and break-up. The option of being friends with your ex is not going anywhere.
Social media makes it hard to get someone out of sight. Every time you open Instagram or Facebook or Snapchat, if your ex is there updating how his life is without you, you will never have the peace of mind required for focusing on you.
Blocking someone on social media may seem like a lame move. But, if that's what it takes to heal, do it. If you do not want to cut ties forever, temporarily block them. If you wonder what he is going to think when he sees your post, a social media detox is a great idea at this point.
If you are surrounded by things that remind of you of the relationship, you are likely not to think about anything else. If you don’t want to get rid of these souvenirs forever, put them in a box and put them away. This could be photographs, gifts, or clothes. Do not forget your phone. Remove the photos and that long chat you keep going back to.
They are your friends for a reason. Friends possess the power not only to stop you from drunk texting but to uplift you. They will stay with you through terribly lonely nights and hear you retell stories for the 100th time. Make sure you have productive conversations with them. Tell them all that is suffocating you and listen to them. Knowing that there is someone who has got your back is strangely empowering.
Rebounding is not a healthy solution. It may seem like you won the break-up by entering a new relationship. But, are you really in that relationship until you are emotionally available to that person? It may seem like you are no longer sad about the break-up. But, for how long? The frustration and sadness from the break-up will catch up with you at some point. Rebounding is only going to delay this inevitable turn of events. Get over the break-up before finding new love.
Mental wellness is deeply connected to physical well being. A break-up is an excellent time to take up fun workout sessions. You may have a lot of unresolved emotions and frustration in you. The exploding feeling inside the chest might be weighing you down. Channel this energy to something that will contribute to your physical wellness.
Zumba, yoga, aerobics, walking, running, cycling, swimming, and dance are excellent ways to cope with this stage. These activities will help you to get in great shape as well. The momentary lapses in which you don’t feel good about yourself, a fit, strong, and healthy body can make you feel better.
Food has the power to make you feel satiated. The movies with heartbroken women eating tubs of chocolate ice cream do seem cliche. But, what else can instantly make you happier than your favourite food? And chocolate actually has the ability to release endorphins aka happiness hormones. So, eat whatever you want and do not forget to work out the next morning.
It is a scientifically proven fact that heartbreak can cause physical pain. Along with your mind, the body is also suffering, and it needs to stay healthy to recover. You may feel self-destructive or just lazy after a break-up. The drive to take care of yourself may disappear. But, you have to push yourself to self-care.
Go to sleep on time. A brain without sufficient sleep will not function properly. Do not skip meals, and drink enough water. Cognitive decline is not good news at this stage when you need the mind to do its best.
This might sound completely silly and absurd and not to mention a cliche. We grew up watching tons of movies where the heroine feels completely different after getting a haircut. The truth is that a new hairstyle is the easiest dramatic change one can make in life. You look and feel different. It feels like letting go of the past. With the new hair, you are outgrowing the old you. She was heartbroken and sad. You will be not. A new hairstyle is the visible representation of the change you want to see in you.
Is there something you wanted to do since childhood but never did? This will be a good time to take up that. Do you want to dance, but never did out of your fear? Did you fantasise playing the violin but never took classes? How about learning a completely different language?
These are not mere hobbies. They are a part of who you are. A part of you that never really had the chance to manifest itself. Learning them is not only a great distraction but a productive engagement that will help you grow. Do not worry about failing at it and the pain it would cause. If you are brave enough to take your chances in love, you are brave enough to do this.
Pampering yourself is the best way to feel good about life. Going to the spa or a simple head massage will make you feel great. But, that is not the end of it. Think about what will make you feel good. You have time and energy at hand. If there is a bag or gadget that you wanted to buy and never bought it because you thought it was out of your league, buy it.
The important thing to remember in this process is that no matter what you do, you will not magically heal in a week or a month. Once you forget him, he is not going to stay forgotten for the rest of your life. Every new day is a challenge and each day is a success.