SOCIAL MEDIA

16.7.18

How to own your heartbreak: 14 ways to cope with a breakup



I started putting my life back together 133 days ago and I haven't looked back since

I blocked my ex's number, deleted all of our photos and unfriended him on social media. I used my friends as a support system to stop me when I felt like contacting him. I listened to every breakup podcast I could find and I joined online support groups. I wrote affirmations and stuck them up on my wall. I got myself a counsellor and a life coach, read self-help books and blogs and wrote all of my feelings down in a journal. I joined the gym and started going to yoga classes and meditating every morning. I went to bed early, took long baths and started eating better. I even bought myself an expensive new mattress. I cooked myself amazing meals. I got my nails done and had massages. I diffused essential oils and lit candles and listened to relaxing music. I went for walks in nature and for coffee with friends. I had movie nights with my family. I stopped going on social media and I stopped drinking. I started a new hobby, joined a local meet up group and made new friends. I booked a last-minute solo trip to a yoga retreat in a different country. 

And for the record, I didn't feel like doing ANY of these things at the time. They took a hell of a lot of self-discipline and motivation and I was forced well outside of my comfort zone. Most days I didn't even want to get out of bed, let alone my house. But I couldn't ignore the benefits.

Once I started making small changes and improvements to my life, good things started to happen for me. 

I got a new job which I enjoy, I made new friends and connections, and I had some of the best adventures and experiences of my life. I'm slowly filling my life with things that I love and I feel happier than I ever have before.

The pain is still there in the background, but it has less power over me now. I still get triggered. I still miss him sometimes. I still have bad days, but they are fewer and far between. And I can pull myself out of them much quicker now that I have the tools. I've made the choice to move forwards and be happy, and you can too.

So what can you do when you find yourself crippled with fear, getting sucked into a negative thinking pattern, replaying the ugly scenes from your breakup or obsessing over what your ex is doing?

Bring yourself back to the present moment. I do this by focussing my attention on what I'm doing right now and fully taking in my surroundings. I observe what's going on around me, tune in to any sounds I can hear and bring myself back to the task in hand, whether it's writing an email or doing the dishes. It reminds me that I'm not in any immediate danger and that everything is okay.

Connect with your body.  I achieve this through yoga, a meditative body scan or light exercise. I try to feel every single sensation in my body from head to toe. When your body and mind are in harmony, you have no choice but to be fully present. Yoga is the thing that's helped me through my breakup the most. It grounds me and fills me with a real sense of calm and peacefulness. I would urge everyone to give yoga a try, but any form of mindful exercise would also work.

Journal. It’s so therapeutic to get all of your thoughts and feelings onto paper (or screen) so that they’re not whizzing around in your head. I also write 'letters' to my ex that I don't send. Not only is it a healthy release, it curbs the urge to actually contact him and averts the subsequent, inevitable drama and emotional turmoil.

Meditate. Once you learn how to observe your thoughts rather than getting sucked in, it's easier to detach from them. Meditation has pulled me back from the brink of a panic attack more than once and it's also great if you're having trouble sleeping after a breakup. I've found that simply sitting and concentrating on my breath for five minutes a day is enough.

Get out into nature. If I start to feel like I’m going down a rabbit hole in my mind, I force myself to get out of the house and into nature. It sounds cheesy, but it’s hard to feel miserable when you’re surrounded by beauty!

Work on a project. When I feel like I can't calm my mind, I pick up a craft project instead of choosing a mindless activity like watching TV. Keeping busy with something that requires concentration helps to focus your attention away from what's going on inside your head and can act as a creative outlet for your pain.

Start a self-care ritual. This could involve anything from sitting down with a cup of tea to getting a massage or taking a candlelit bath. These rituals become things that you look forward to and can replace the nice things that you might have done with your ex. Sure, it might not be quite the same - but if your ex used to give you a foot rub, why not rub your own feet?

Practice gratitude. Every day I write down three things I’m grateful for, three nice things that other people did for me, three nice things I did for other people, and three nice things I did for myself. If you focus on what you do have rather than what you don't, you'll rewire your brain and feel happier.

Take a solo trip. Taking a solo trip is truly the best thing that I did or myself after my breakup. It helped me to rebuild my self-confidence and to prove to myself that I CAN have a good time on my own.

Create a support network. Surround yourself with people who love you unconditionally and will listen to you. If you don't have anyone you can talk to, find a support group or talk to a professional. There's no shame in reaching out for help. 

Read and listen to podcasts. Self-help books, blogs and podcasts are a powerful reminder that, not only are you not alone in what you’re going through, but there are so many things you can do to improve yourself and your life. I'll be sharing my favourites in one of my next posts.

Learn something new. This could be anything from taking a class, joining a club, or even just researching an interesting topic online. I found that starting a weekly class was a great way to meet new people, cultivate new interests and improve my self-esteem after my breakup.

Develop a mantra. Mantras and affirmations help turn destructive feelings such as anger and resentment into positive ones. If you find yourself thinking 'it's not fair!', instead say to yourself 'everything I'm feeling is just part of the human experience. I'm going to embrace the challenge and use it as an opportunity to learn and grow.' This helped me to shift my mindset from that of a victim to one of empowerment. I also use mantras to practice forgiveness towards myself and my ex.

Help others. By healing others, you can heal yourself. You can use your recent experience of loss and trauma to help others going through similar hardships. Showing compassion towards others gets you out of your own head and forces you to think about someone else for a while. It could mean talking to a friend about their problems, giving advice on an online support group or something even bigger like volunteering.

These strategies and tools changed my life. I hope that you find them as valuable as I did.

Sending you all love and hugs x

4 comments :

  1. This is perfect. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Aw, thank you. You're welcome! Thanks for reading <3

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  2. Yes, this is great. I am on the same path, headed for a divorce after 14 years. Scared. Learning to take care of me. 😊

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear that you're struggling, but I have no doubt that you'll come out of this even stronger and happier. Sometimes we need to let go of the things that are no longer working for us in order to make way for things that do. Sending you so much love on your journey back to yourself x

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