How to Cope With Heartbreak
Put down your drink & heal your heart – in a productive way.
I have been dumped far more times than I'd like to admit. Naturally, some hurt more than others – depending on how serious or long the relationship was – but, with confidence, I can say it never gets easy to deal with the aftermath of a failed relationship.
It's scary to end back up at square one, alone. It's hard not to have someone to text or call to share random stories about your day, and it's hard to start going to things without a built-in plus one. It's sad to realize you've lost a best friend (and if you weren't best friends…well, that's a bigger issue, but I digress). The hardest part, though? What do you do with all of your feelings – where does the love (or like) go when something ends? Feelings don't just disappear, and they take time to process and work through.
After my first breakup from my “first love,” I replaced these feelings with too many numbing drinks during hazy nights out, too many tears shed to Adele songs, too many regret-filled and desperate texts, and absolutely no eating. My life paused…for a year – over a guy that was a total jerk! Hopefully I'm not alone in this. If I am, well, it's out there now.
Well, five years later, I still can't say I'm an expert with relationships or love…but I can say I have become pretty well-versed about the in-between. It never gets easier, but you learn how to cope in a healthier way. Sure, breakups change your life…but by no means should they destroy your life and your future. Things do get better, but you have to play an active role in that.
So, put down your eighth drink, delete that come-morning-this-will-be-embarrassing text you're about to send, get off your ex's fling's Facebook, and embrace and lean into the life change. Easier said than done, obviously. But, start this new chapter of your life on as much of a positive note as possible.
· Cry it out and feel all the feels. Almost everything makes me cry – a sweet text from a friend, any and all movies, a coworker bringing me coffee, people finishing marathons, you name it! As you can imagine, breakups make…well, wail. It's a new level of crying. And you know what? That's okay. Take time to cry – release the sadness and loneliness. If you hold it in, you'll find yourself in an aisle of Trader Joe's holding a frozen pizza sobbing and in the midst of a huge breakdown from all your repressed emotions (obviously speaking for a friend, here…). Work through your emotions and let them out – allow yourself to feel when you need to and know that's okay and all part of the process.
· Work out. As Elle Woods put it: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don't just kill their husbands.” While the last statement doesn't really apply, she is right that exercise give you endorphins, which naturally boost moods and happiness levels. Science. Boom. So, post-breakup, have some intense gym seshes with your workout-crazed best friend, go on that long run in the pretty neighborhood nearby, release your anger in a kickboxing class or hit up that yoga class to zen out. Working out helps replace the negative with natural positivity and happiness. Bonus: go to group workouts where you can feed off the contagious positive energy of everyone surrounding you too.
· Spend time with friends. Remember that your guy (or girl) was not your only friend! Lean into the people around you – this is what they're for. Cry on their shoulders, explore new places, go out to brunch. Dish on how terrible your ex was. Plus, all your random stories throughout the day – text them! They'd love to hear about your day. Friends help you realize that you are, not in fact, alone. Quite the opposite.
· Get busy – with productive things. The best way to get over someone is to remain distracted. Fill up your schedule with positive, productive things like working out, community service, mini vacations. Take on that extra project at work or pursue that side passion you've been putting off – whether it's cleaning, a painting class, starting a blog, or making a budget, whatever. The busier you are pursuing things that make you feel good, the more you'll realize there's greater things out there. Plus, less time to mentally go over every little sign that something was going wrong. Distraction is key, friends.
· Get off social media. I struggle with this – I want to know what my exes are up to and if I'm “winning” the breakup. After the first picture you inevitably find of your ex with someone else, you'll realize why I say just get off. There's no need to Facebook creep, overanalyze and fill in the missing story gaps with your interpretation. Unfriend your ex, block them on Instagram and unfollow them on Twitter. Take a digital break and focus on you – not what they are up to.
· Accept when you slip up…and don't get too hard on yourself. Yes, as hard as you can cope healthy, we're all human and make mistakes. Breakup sex is a thing…and so are sad drunk texts/calls. Unconsciously, you may be doing things to try to impress your ex too. Whatever it is that's unhealthy – that's okay. Accept that the sex or text or whatever it is happened and move forward. You're already dealing with enough – don't beat yourself up about it. You're human, too. But when you move forward, do so healthily and productively.
· Get yourself back – not him/her back. Rather than spend time trying to get them back (things happen for a reason!!), do something for yourself. More importantly, love yourself. Don't let a breakup change your self-worth. What are you like outside of a relationship? Take this transition to get your own sense of self back.