Begin by taking a deep breath. Breakups are never easy, even when the decision was mutual. They can be even more challenging if you’ve been cheated on or had your heart shattered.
Heartbreak is a natural and common part of life. It hurts tremendously because your brain registers it as physical pain, and your body begins to produce the stress hormone cortisol.
Whether you were together for three weeks, six months or five years, now’s the time to push through the pain and focus on being strong.
Here are eight helpful tips on how to be strong after a breakup.
1. Remove the Reminders
Box up their stuff and remove things that remind you of them. If it’s clothes, donate them or stick them in a bag to forget about until it hurts less.
Resist the urge to make huge decisions while you’re emotionally shaken. If you go out to get a tattoo to mark this period in your life, you may regret the permanent reminder you’ve placed on your skin.
If you still want the tattoo after the tears have passed, go for it.
2. Set a Grief Deadline
Now’s the time to let yourself feel all your emotions. Get them out, so you can start fresh. But set a deadline; otherwise, you might find yourself still living in pajamas eating takeout months from now.
Grief will swallow you whole if you let it. You must work through your emotions and give yourself a chance to heal.
Begin by initiating the no-contact rule with your ex. As much as you might want to be friends — or show that you can be the bigger person — these plans set you up for emotional failure. It’s OK if you want them to still have a place in your life, but do it after you’ve healed. Regardless of your strength, watching them be happy or meet someone new just adds to the heartbreak.
3. Respect Yourself (and Your Ex)
It can be tempting to lash out if a breakup has hurt you, but you’ll be better in the long run if you focus on respecting yourself instead.
Start by deleting them from your social media and phone. Now’s the time to focus on you — not cyber-stalk your ex. By removing these methods of communication, you decrease the chance of sending messages you might regret. Respect yourself by dodging breakup booty calls or drunken “I miss you” conversations. These will pull on your heartstrings and leave you worse than you were in the beginning.
Avoid keying their car, slandering them to the world or asking if they could meet you for coffee. These interactions would only offer opportunities for weakness to sneak into your life.
4. Focus on Other Things
One of the best ways to be strong after a breakup is to find a distraction. Look to your favorite books, movies and music for inspiration and a diversion from your thoughts.
Sometimes it takes hearing a relatable song or watching a gripping show to put things into perspective and help you gain clarity.
Breakups usually cause a lot of pent-up energy and emotions. Use this time to hit the gym. Exercising will produce endorphins that reduce stress and improve your mood. Physical activity will help you channel your emotions, leaving you feeling calmer and more focused than before.
5. Try Self-Care
It’s essential for you to love yourself. You are enough. It’s their loss because you are amazing. Celebrate your worth by practicing self-care. Plan a spa day or buy yourself that outfit you’ve been lusting after.
Practice healthy habits and take care of your body. Drinking alcohol in excess and eating junk food will cause you to feel worse emotionally and physically.
If you broke up, something wasn’t right for you at this stage. Perhaps you will reconnect years from now, or maybe you won’t. Make choices that nourish and benefit your life. That way, you’ll be happy and healthy when your real special someone comes into the picture.
6. Spend Time With Friends and Family
Lean on your close friends and family. These people love you and will be happy to listen to you rant and sob as you work your way through the breakup. They’ll care for you and encourage you to get out of the house and live your life.
While the hole may feel wide, your support network will help fill the gap and chase the loneliness away.
7. Discover Your Passion
Now is the perfect time to discover your passions and try new things. Maybe you’ve always wanted to travel to a new place or go skydiving — do it!
You might discover new interests, hobbies or even styles that you love. The people closest to you influence your thoughts and perceptions. This breakup is offering you the opportunity to discover what makes you happy.
8. Give Yourself Time
You’re probably wondering how long it will take to feel normal again. The truth is that it depends on you and your experience. It might take weeks, months or even years to feel like yourself again.
Remember to take life one day at a time, because this too shall pass.
Look Forward to the Future
Your pain, grief and anger will fade with time, and you’ll be so busy enjoying your future that you won’t even notice the change. One day you’ll wake up and realize that you haven’t thought about them in weeks.
In the meantime, use these steps on how to be strong after a breakup to guide you through this trying period. Things will get better. Repeat that mantra in your head until it becomes your reality.