20 ways to survive (and feel better) after a breakup
Emotionally speaking, losing a partner to a breakup is very similar to losing one to death, and in both cases the only way to get over the loss is to let yourself grieve. Give yourself the time you need to process your feelings.
-- By Sharon O’Brien
Cry as much as you want for the first day or two. Crying when you’re hurting the most will release emotional energy, reduce stress and help you move on more quickly. After the first 48 hours or so, allow yourself a little time each day to vent your emotions and just feel bad. But don’t wallow. When that time is up, get back to doing other things that will make you feel better and help you heal.
If you and your ex are able to heal the wounds of your breakup and remain friends, that’s great, but don’t try to get there too soon. Make a clean break. Don’t call him and don’t take his calls. Zero contact will help you both heal faster and increase your chances of crafting a new friendship later if that’s something you both want after the pain fades.
Get your ex out of your life virtually as well as physically by cutting all your social media ties. Unfriend him, stop following him and delete his number from your phone and your text favorites. Keeping tabs on him online after the breakup is just another name for stalking, and maintaining those connections will just make it harder for you to heal. Besides, do you really want a painful reminder of your failed relationship every time you log on?
Working out is a great way to work on mending your broken heart. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins, which interact with the receptors in your brain that perceive pain. Regular exercise reduces stress, wards off anxiety and depression, increases self-esteem, helps you sleep, and boosts your immune system and overall health. And by working out frequently while you’re grieving and healing, you’ll look and feel your best when you’re ready to try a new relationship.
Spend time with friends
You may need some solo time to grieve after a breakup, but don’t spend too much time alone. Your friends want to help, so let them. Scheduling time with your friends, whether you meet to play tennis or just get together for coffee, will remind you that you are loved by some wonderful people and that you can have a full and rewarding life—even without your ex.
You know that old saying that laughter is the best medicine? When it comes to mending a broken heart, nothing is more powerful than a good laugh. Make popcorn and watch a few screwball comedies, make plans with a friend to check out a local comedy club, or just get together with some of the people who always make you laugh. If nothing else, laughter may give you a welcome break from your heartache; it’s not easy to feel miserable when you’re laughing.
Don’t torture yourself
You know what we’re talking about. Don’t spend time reading old love letters, crying over photos of the two of you when you were happy, or reviewing every email and text he ever sent you. Either get rid of all that stuff or put it aside for a few years—long enough that it no longer has the power to cause you pain.
Get a makeover
Most people end up feeling pretty unattractive and undesirable after a breakup. One way to get past that a little more quickly is to change your look. But don’t overdo it. Head to the makeup counter to get a professional makeover or spend a day at the spa getting treatments that will help you feel beautiful, but save the drastic haircut until your emotions are under control again.
Eat comfort food
There will never be a better time to indulge your taste for comfort food than when you’re recovering from a breakup. Don’t go crazy—you don’t want to conquer heartbreak only to find that you’ve gained 30 pounds—but don’t feel you have to deny yourself, either. Choose a couple of foods that make you feel better, whether it’s chocolate or mac ‘n cheese, then savor each bite to get the most satisfaction from a relatively small amount of these normally forbidden fruits. Go on. You know you want to.