As a recovering alcoholic and sex and love addict, I don’t get to indulge in the traditional vices that come after a breakup. Instead, I begrudgingly choose more healthy coping mechanisms. You’re allowed to roll your eyes at me, but if you try these instead of wine-chugging and sex with randos, I promise you’ll feel better.
Unfollow and unfriend him on all the social meds. When you’re still mad, it might be helpful to delete and unfollow him from social media right at that moment. Because often if you wait too long, you’ll start to feel nostalgic or sad and want to peek. There’s nothing on his Facebook page that will make you feel any better about what happened. Cut it off, let it go!
Get rid of painful memories and triggers. Okay, so you’ve done the deed and removed him from your Facebook feed. Now you have to get rid of the picture of you two from your phone background and throw away the stuffed animal he got you. If you’re feeling unwilling to do this, grab a friend to help you. They can hold onto the belongings if you aren’t ready to throw them out. You’ll feel way better when they’re out of your space!
Clean your room and car. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, a Buddhist teacher, said: “Your physical environment promotes your discipline of warriorship.” When he says warriorship, he means your ability to show up in the world and be your true self. It may seem like it’s not a big deal that your room is a disaster and your car is littered with coffee cups, but it makes a huge difference to how you feel about yourself. A cleaner environment = a cleaner mind. Putting the simple effort in can really uplift your mood and how you feel about yourself.
Do some therapeutic writing. We live in a culture that encourages you to blot out your consciousness after you endure the sharp pains of a breakup. Despite getting the message that you should drink your pain away, I encourage you to take an honest look at what happened in your relationship. Do some reflective writing to see what you liked and didn’t like about your partner as well as what you could improve on in your next relationship. Although this kind of writing is hard, it offers incredible healing.
Delete his number or change it to something that will cause you to pause. It’s good to have a safeguard in place for when you’re feeling like you’re going to reach out to your ex despite the breakup determining that it’s over. You should either delete his number entirely from your phone or change his name to something that’ll give you pause. For example, you could change his name it to “CALL EMILY,” reminding you that you should call your best friend before you call him.
Use distress tolerance to dull your urges. There are going to be times when an urge to call him, drink your pain away, or numb out by using another person. During these harsh times of craving, let’s borrow some advice from cognitive behavioral therapy. Put a freezing cold ice pack on your face for a few seconds. This will actually stimulate a parasympathetic response and will help you calm down. You could also jump into a hot shower or go for an intense run. Any of these things will change how you’re feeling quickly and they’ll redirect you away from acting on an urge.
Have your friends close by to remind you of the truth of the matter. When you’re heartbroken, your brain can tell you all sorts of things that aren’t true. It can scream that you’re unlovable or that you’ve made a grave mistake in breaking up with your ex. These distortions are tough to battle on your own. Have a group of loving friends nearby to remind you of what’s true: that you are so lovable and that the relationship is totally over.
Make a drastic change. It’s common after a breakup to feel you’ve shed some layers. You want to do something dramatic to your physical appearance to even further show that you’ve moved on. I’m a huge fan of tattoos or piercings, but for something less permanent, you could cut or dye your hair! The drastic change will help to reinforce the fact that there is a new you who is better off without your ex.
Let yourself feel your feelings. I know this is an unpopular one. When you’re feeling heartbreak, the last thing you want to do is lean into it. But, if you find a break in the intensity of the feelings, take a peek at the heartbreak. Shake its hand. I think you’ll come to find that you’ve made the heartbreak out to be a much scarier monster than it really is.
Don’t wallow in your feelings. Maybe you go to the other extreme and you are actually too good at feeling your feelings. You feel them, and feel them, and feel them. You feel so much that you haven’t showered in days and you’re just totally wallowing. You’re not making any progress because you don’t want to let your feelings go. Girlfriend, it’s time to take a shower and hit the reset button in your mind. Take a break from thinking about him and the breakup. Watch a silly comedy, go get some exercise, or ask a friend about their life. You’re going to get over this.
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