Break ups are an impactful experience that can leave you emotionally scarred which can negatively impact your growth and development of yourself. It can leave you with trust issues and difficulties in nurturing a genuine relationship. This article will tell you the 5 steps that may help you move on from a break up and start getting back on track with your life without a heartache.
Just a little disclaimer though, these steps may not be in the exact order as everyone copes with heartaches differently. However, these are generally the steps that people follow.
1. Allow yourself to grieve
Grieving is not only reserved for a passing of someone dear, but rather it is for anything that has ended, which also includes the end of a relationship. It's healthy to indulge in your sadness and let yourself feel your feelings. The first stage is to allow yourself time to simply let the heartbreak out. On the contrary,denying yourself from experiencing these emotions prevents you from moving on productively and you may get emotionally "stuck" long term, which will hinder your self-development and mental health.
2. Surround yourself with supportive people
Losing a partner makes you experience social withdrawal symptoms such as loneliness, and cravings for physical touch. In order to somewhat fulfill your withdrawal needs, your social support system is the best "replacement" for losing a companion you were used to connecting with. Your (good) friends will give you a boost on your self-esteem, they may say the right words of wisdom, or simply be there to listen. They key thing here is to ensure your friends are truly supportive. If you are unsure whether your friends are good for you, click here to find out of your friends are toxic for you.
3. Find enjoyable activities
Keeping yourself busy and distracted is also a healthy healing process from a breakup. Explore new hobbies you have always wanted to try or re-discover hobbies you used to do. It gets better if you find someone else to join you with the activities. Even just binge watching a comedy show or doing a movie marathon (may avoiding romance movies for now) is still a pleasurable activity to help ease your heartache. If you need some help on creating a hobby, click here to read an article to help you get into a hobby.
Getting back or going into a hobby or activity signals you to slowly move forward and start a new chapter in your life.
4. Set a limit to your grief
Now that you have identified a healthy support system and are engaging in activities that help you cope, it's time to close your grieving chapter and re-discover your path. You do not want to get "stuck" and be "comfortable" with grieving.
It's normal to feel random bouts of heartaches throughout the day. You may sink into those feelings, but keep it within 1-2 hours and then continue back on your tasks. Be realistic in setting a limit because some may need 2 hours to grieve, while some only need 30 minutes until they are ready to resume their day. "Feel" what is best for you.
5. Explore the meaning behind the relationship and the breakup
At this point, you're engaging in social activities, you're creating hobbies, and you're "interrupting" your grief to cope. You've distanced yourself from the breakup and now you feel somewhat grounded. When you're ready, it's time to reflect back on the breakup and explore what was the symbolic meaning behind the break up - it could be divine will, a life lesson, fate, or a simple "it's not meant to be".
Don't just focus on the breakup though - think back on the relationship as a whole. What did the relationship serve for you? What was the meaning behind the relationship? What was the symbol of it? People who find meaning behind life stressors tend to cope better than those who do not.
6. Plan for your future
You've done a great job making it this far. You've reflected and learned a lot from your relationship. Now, it is time to start a new chapter of your life! What are your career goals? What did you want to learn? How is your life going to be better? And when you're ready, what kind of relationship are you looking for? The possibilities are endless! Your new life awaits for you.
One last thing, it's normal to experience random bursts of heartaches even if it has been a couple months or years. What's important here is your ability to regulate yourself back to your daily routine using the new coping skills you've learned. Remember, rely on your supportive community, your hobbies, and your reflection!
About The Author
Jasmine Tsang is a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) under the College of Registered Psychotherapist Ontario (CRPO) and the founder of Reflections Therapy. She specializes in providing counselling services for people facing challenges in their adulthood such as relationships, self-esteem issues, school & career stressors, anxiety, and depression. For more information about Jasmine, click here to read her bio.