You’re fresh off a breakup, and your life has been turned upside down – now what? After something really intense happens in life, many of us find ourselves in a confusing place with no clue how to “get back to normal.” Ending a relationship can leave you feeling confused and even mentally paralyzed. What do I do next? How do I act around my friends? How am I supposed to feel? How long will I feel like this? For most of us, after something serious happens, it’s not easy to just snap out of it despite what parents and friends might be telling you. Time is in fact a healer, and it may take weeks or months until you’re feeling happy and optimistic about love again. In the meanwhile, here are some things to do to help you move through (and out of !) this phase:
1. The Assisted Cry. Part of being able to get over something, is allowing yourself to actually sit with and feel whatever emotions are coming up (sadness, anger, frustration, whatever it is) – sometimes a girl just needs to let the tears flow! – Watch a sad movie – The Notebook gets me going every time! – Listen to some emotional music – play something that is going to let you get it all out, whether it’s sad love songs to make you cry or something harder to let you scream along with the lyrics.
2. Create. We can’t all articulate how we feel all the time, and sometimes it’s easier to get the emotional juices flowing by doing something creative – write a song, bake, make a collage, playlist etc. You may find these activities are enough of a difference from your normal day that it gives you a chance to reflect on your feelings and emotions and express them in a deeper way than you would just by talking.
3. Beware of endless venting. Crying, creating, and talking to people about your feelings are all ways you can release sadness and move beyond it, but doing any of these things in excess can keep you stuck in your sadness. Pay attention to how you feel after to see if you feel better or you’re just stirring up more sadness.
4. Take advice that’s right for you People you know will have different ideas of how you should get over a breakup, and they probably won’t be shy with their advice. Some think it’s a good time to go out and find a new hookup as soon as possible, some turn to alcohol, some think a girls’ weekend with a 90s movie marathon is in order. Some suggestions may be helpful, others can leave you feeling even worse. Pay attention to what feels right for you and what is actually making you feel better.
5. Exercise. It may seem like the last thing you want to do when you feel down, but get up and move for at least 30 minutes a day. Working up a little sweat will help your mood, and allow you some alone time to process what you are thinking and feeling about your recent loss.
6. Eat well. Like exercise, this may be the furthest thing from your mind, but some “comfort” foods (those really high in fats, carbs and sugar) can really affect your mood and sabotage your ability to think clearly as you move beyond your sadness.
7. Focus on fun. Things you are passionate about help you become immersed in an activity and get lost in the moment. It gives your brain some needed downtime and allows you to just be.
8. Talk to someone. If a breakup is bringing you down harder or for longer than you think it should, it might be time to talk to a supportive adult who can help you strategize getting back to normal. Consider talking to a school counselor or a parent if you need a little extra help. Remember getting over something seems like hard work (that’s because it IS – it’s hard, it takes time, and it takes a good amount of bravery) – but it’s completely doable.