There is an old song that honestly and accurately states, “Breaking up is hard to do.” Maybe you’re recently single and struggling with reminders of your last relationship. Maybe you don’t know what to do to make it through this difficult time. Here’s some advice on surviving a break-up.
Get it out. Sob until your pillow is wet. Cry alone, cry with a trusted friend, cry to God, just cry. Your tears are valid. You’re allowed to be sad. Break-ups are a loss, so it is a strange form of grief. When you’re grieving, it’s best to embrace your emotions instead of bury them. So cry. Cry even though you do it all the time. The sooner you get the tears out of your system, the quicker you reach the path to recovery.
Crying is good, but it’s also important not to become too worked up, physically, emotionally and mentally speaking. Take deep breaths during and between crying. Take deep breaths when you feel like your heart is going to spill and shatter all over the floor. You may feel like you’re falling apart, but you’re not. Do not forget basic human functions; breathe, blink, swallow. Even if it’s shaky, breath keeps you going.
You need to throw away the remnants of your relationship. Get rid of pictures. Change your Facebook relationship status to Single. Give him his stuff back (don’t burn it, no matter what your friends tell you). Delete pictures of you two as a couple. Put away or sell gifts. Eventually, you will most likely need to de-friend and unfollow him on any social network and delete his number from your phone. The door is closed; now lock it. It sounds harsh, and it’s definitely not easy, but the sooner you accept that it’s over and there are better things waiting for you, the better it becomes. If it sounds exceptionally difficult, invite a supportive friend over to be there for crying, hugs and dancing to Taylor Swift.
Even if it doesn’t solve the overall problem of heartbreak, it’s okay to indulge yourself in a healthy way. Take a luxurious bath with bubbles, soap petals, candles, music, a bath pillow, etc. Have your best friend over and eat Domino’s pizza and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream while watching a movie (avoid rom-coms and tear-jerkers). Go to a secluded part of your house and belt out a break-up song (or any song, really). Do something that makes you feel better, even though it’s only for a moment.
Don’t be alone too much. Alone time is valuable during a break-up because it’s time to cry, evaluate emotions and respond to them. At the same time, it’s a very easy way to slip into thinking that you’re not cared for. Run to the store with your mom. Watch TV with your Dad. Have homework sessions with your friends. Get coffee with a youth leader from church. You’re not alone just because you’re single.
When you’re in a relationship, being a couple becomes a very important part of your life and a gateway for many new experiences and it provides you with an automatic adventuring partner. So after a break-up, it’s easy to buy into the lie that your life’s boring without a significant other. That’s the farthest thing from the truth. Your worth and life isn’t tied to a significant other. You don’t have to be in a relationship to experience new things. As a practical reminder, do something new! You could train for a 5K, create the perfect pesto recipe or volunteer for a ministry at church.
Or spin, stretch, do jumping jacks, crunches, sit-ups, planks, yoga, just get your body moving and active. After a break-up, you may want to just stay on the couch all day, but there are plenty of reasons to exercise. First, it provides you with another way to re-focus. Second, since people have a tendency to hold tension, stress and other negative emotions in their muscles, stretching those muscles helps truly release those feelings. Third, exercising releases endorphins (feel-good chemicals) in your body, so it’s a very healthy pick-me-up. Lastly, exercising is a physical reminder that like your exercise routine, the break-up will be difficult to push through, but you’ll feel better by the end.
Breaking-up has many layers of emotions that come along with it. Sadness, anger, guilt, relief and confusion are all normal. These emotions are not pleasant to work through, but you can’t stuff them and pretend that they don’t exist. Take some time out to process what you’re feeling. You can do this by journaling, praying or while you take a walk and go about your chores.
Don’t just latch to one piece of advice from this post. Doing one thing alone will not help you recover. If you only cry, you will not move on. If you only throw, once everything is gone you’ll freak-out. If you only indulge, socialize, run or experience, you’ll develop unhealthy coping mechanisms. If you only process, you’ll start to live in your head and not accept the new opportunities of the present. You need to balance. All these things are helpful and beneficial in moderation and countered with other practices. So, after a bout of crying, go socialize. After processing, go for a run. Once you’ve experienced something new, analyze the past.
If you’re recently single, we’re sorry that you are going through a break-up. They’re not fun, at all. But as corny as it sounds, it does get better. If you want to talk to someone about what you’re going through and want some more specific advice to your break-up, tweet to us @niNeMag or email us. It’s going to be Okay.