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January 30, 2024

6 Tips for Healing After a Breakup

Let’s face it, breakups feel like traumaespecially when you didn’t want it. And even if you were the one who initiated it, it can still crush you. Sometimes we have to do what we have to do, even though it hurts.

Whether you were together for 6 months or 30 years, breakups hurt. Seriously hurt. Scientists are discovering that the brain doesn’t even differentiate between physical and emotional pain. Your whole body experiences a breakup and your job is to care for yourself in your recovery in the best way possible.

Here are six tips for healing after a breakupfrom someone who’s been there and has helped thousands through theirs.

Go No Contact. I think this goes without saying, but from what I’ve heard from other people, apparently this needs to be said. No, you can’t be friends in a healthy way right after a breakup. Stop convincing yourself of this. It just prolongs the process. Buy a paper calendar and put a big blue (for hope) circle around the date you went no contact. As time goes on, you can count the days and be proud of the strength you are developing. Take pics down. Put them in your closet if you don’t have the heart to throw them away. Delete pics on your camera. Get rid of triggers.
Accept the stage of Grief you are in. In case you didn’t know this, you are grieving. Anytime you experience a loss, grief is involved.

Accept and Feel Your Feelings. There are five stages of grief, according to Kubler Ross. 1. Denial 2. Anger 3. Bargaining 4. Depression 5. Acceptance. Many get stuck in the bargaining stage of grief, where they are constantly thinking of other person, possibly stalking them on social, imagining what they could have done differently or whether they could change things to get their partner back or fix the issues that caused the breakdown. Whichever stage you are in, truly feel the feelings. Accept it. Name it . Feel it. These feelings may feel like they are going to last forever and consume you. They won’t. You will smile again, love again, hope again. Just not right now. The more you are able to feel now, the easier you will move on later.

Remember Who You Were Before. It’s inevitable that we lose some parts of our individuality and autonomy in a relationship. You may have bent to accommodate your partner in a healthy way, or you may have been completely dysfunctional and lost yourself. Either way, you probably sacrificed a little bit of yourself for the good of the relationship. Let’s stop that. Get back to the strong, independent woman you were before you met him or you imagined you would be one day. Take the opportunity and space now, while you can, because you won’t always have it. Buy some books, take a class, pick up that hobby you used to do. Find yourself again.

Invest in New or Old Relationships. Sometimes outside relationships get put on the back burner. If it’s been less than a couple of months since the break up, now isn’t the time to seek out a New Romantic relationship, but it’s a wonderful time to connect with others and grow deeper relationships with your circle. It’s also a great time to invest in the most important relationship with yourself. Going to a movie or dinner by yourself sounds sad and lonely, unless you switch your lens. You are the most important person in your life. You should be good company to yourself. Going out, whether to a coffee shop or to fine dining by yourself is the best way to demonstrate to you that you’re going to be okay and to finally accept and explore this new season of aloneness.

Write, Create, Express. Get it all out in all the ways. Dance, cry, paint, write, talk, scream. Get out in nature and let the elements surround and envelope your body. Breathe and tell yourself you are healing.

Move Forward from the Grief Stage You Were In. I first asked you to accept it and go deeper. Now it’s time to Stop. You’ve been processing your grief, now stop bargaining, stop blaming, stop fantasizing. Accept that the relationship is over. It’s supposed to be over in the great design God has for you and your life. You are alone and you are okay. You will be okay. Even if you don’t believe this, it’s time to recite this to yourself regularly. Eventually your brain believes what you tell it- for good and for bad.

Breakups hurt and yet they create the best fodder for growth. I know you don’t want to hear about growth right now, but having been there, I’m planting seeds for you that will grow over time. Give yourself space. Give yourself grace. Feel the feelings. Go easy. Push softer. You’re going to be okay.

Want to hear more? Listen to this podcast episode as I interview Emily Bridget Taylor, author of Remedy, a book of poetry about love, loss and healing.

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