Going from we to me: 6 healthy ways to cope after a breakup

February 03, 2017 | by Terry Ciszek, LCSW, CSADC
Categories: Healthy Driven Minds

Coping with a relationship breakup isn’t easy. No matter who initiated it, the experience can be one of the most painful processes in life.

If you didn’t see it coming, you may feel shocked and powerless. If it was a particularly close or long-lasting relationship, you may feel heartbroken, lost and even physically ill.

A breakup can cloud your sense of self, as you go from "we" to "me." Sometimes the most difficult part is not so much losing the other person, but losing the dreams you had for a future together.

As you move through the grieving process and try to pick up the pieces, it helps to have friends and family by your side. Also, there’s no shame in working through your feelings with a professional if needed.

Here are 6 strategies to help you cope with your breakup in the healthiest way possible:

  1. Write it down. It can be very cathartic to write down your thoughts and feelings about the breakup. Think about what you have learned from the relationship. Make a list of all the incompatibilities in the relationship and the benefits of being single. Write down all the things in your life that you are grateful for. Learn why gratitude can make you happier.

  2. Share your feelings. You surely have a lot of feelings about the breakup. If you try to suppress all those feelings, you could get stuck in the grieving process. First, identify your feelings. Then, allow yourself to feel them, without judgment. Talk to your friends and family. Join a support group. Reaching out to others is crucial in rebuilding your life.

  3. Follow a healthy routine. Establish a healthy routine to gain a sense of stability and avoid dwelling on the breakup. This means getting enough sleep, eating well and seeking out things you enjoy. Go out with friends, take a warm bath, get a massage, buy something new, travel, sign up for class, or volunteer. Avoid unhealthy vices like excessive drinking or drugs.

  4. Get moving. You may be tempted to shut down, curl up into a ball and cry, but try to find ways to keep moving. Daily exercise raises levels of serotonin and can lift your mood and improve your well-being. It’s also a great way to channel negative energy and provide a healthy distraction.

  5. Make closure.You need to let go of the possibility of getting back together with your ex. You are moving onto something new now. It may help to remove all photos, reminders, etc. that you have of your ex. Write a letter to your ex that you won’t send—the act of writing it can give you closure. Don’t jump back into another relationship right away.

  6. Try positive affirmations. What you tell yourself about the breakup can shape how you cope with it. Don’t get stuck in the self-blame trap or obsessing over what went wrong. The relationship was wrong, not you. When negative self-talk creeps in, try affirmations to feel better: now you can put your own needs first and you have more freedom to do what you want to do.

Almost everyone will experience a breakup at some point in their lives. It’s a natural part of life, and relationships usually end for good reasons. After a while, the sadness from the breakup will begin to lift and you’ll start to move on. Over time, you’ll get to a point of acceptance.

If, after two months, you still feel as bad as you did the first week of your breakup or if you are having trouble going about your life, you may be suffering from depression. In this case, consider reaching out to a mental health professional for help.

Get support from Linden Oaks Behavioral Health.

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