If you’ve clicked through to this piece, chances are you’re desperate to learn of some magical pill that will instantly evaporate all feelings associated with heartbreak. Unfortunately, there is no such thing (though some might suggest you’ll find it in a bottle of gin), but these tips – compiled by those of us who’ve found ourself wailing, stereotypically, into a tub of Ben n Jerry’s Cookie Dough on more than one occasion – ought to help. Food for thought, if nothing else.
1. Allow yourself to feel like hell. For a while.
The worst thing you can do is try to pretend like everything is peachy. Accept that you’re going to fee like you’ve been dragged along the M50 by an articulated truck and that feeling like you again will take time. Know that this is totally normal. Expecting yourself to bounce back instantly will serve only to prolong your misery in the long-run.
2. Call your friends, that’s what they’re there for.
You might feel that your friends are sick to death of hearing you ramble on about your break-up, but if they’re any sort of a pal, that’s exactly what they’re there for. Right now, things might seem perfect in their life, but there will be times when they need the favour returned.
3. Cry, cry and cry some more.
Sob into a pillow ’til it’s saturated. Watch re-runs of the last episode of Sex And The City ’til you can quote it word for word. Gorge on Youtube videos where soldiers are reunited with their pets and/or babies after returning home from war. Crying is cathartic, and at some point, you’ll have no tears left. Research has shown that 85% of women and 73% of men felt less sad and angry after crying. Get it out of your system.
4. When you’re done crying, indulge in some comedy.
The first thing you’ll be super surprised to learn in those first few days, post break-up, is that despite all of the heartache, you have not lost the ability to laugh. Just as crying is therapeutic, so too is laughing. Various studies have shown the health benefits associated with laughter. In fact it can be as beneficial to your body and those feel-good hormones induced by exercise. We change physiologically when we laugh, so whether it’s your favourite sitcom on TV or that friend who helps you make light of any situation, be sure to get your giggle on.
5. Replace time spent upset with ex/arguing with ex while together with something healthier.
When you’ve gotten through that initial period of wallowing, it’s important to get busy (well, not that kind of ‘busy’). While some of us head straight out for a night on the tiles, for others this can often end in disaster. When fragile, alcohol can serve only to exacerbate your emotions; where you can, keep them on an even keel. Instead, try adding a new exercise regimen to your week, or get creative in the kitchen. Write down a list of things you’ve always wanted to try and get to it.
6. Get selfish.
It’s likely that you’ve invested enough time already into trying to make it work with your ex. Now, it’s all about you. Every day when you wake up, ask yourself ‘what would I like to do today?’ ‘what would make me feel good today?’. Whether you pour yourself an indulgent bubble bath or you overdose on your favourite trash TV, do something nice for yourself.
7. Try to realise that heartbreak is proof that you are alive
It would be so easy to avoid heartache so that you’d never have to go through it, but that would mean avoiding life. To go through this confirms that you are not hiding away in a cocoon; you’re taking life for all its ups and downs. What’s so important to understand is that for everyone, life will always pan out in a series of struggles and lulls. You might be going through a tough time right now, but a lull awaits. As quoted in one of our favourite books, The Rules of Life, ‘only dead fish swim with the stream.’ You are alive. Just keep swimming.
8. Your relationship was only one part of your life, it didn’t define you, and neither does your break-up.
Though it might consume you at first, you’ll soon realise that life always goes on. You’ll still enjoy all of the things that you enjoyed before, maybe even more so.
9. Write down the silver linings.
On the plus side, you no longer have to save a fortune twice a year to take care of their birthday and Christmas presents. You can still save that small fortune, if you like, and simply spend it on yourself.
10. Beware of rose tinted glasses.
It’s incredibly common to emerge from a break-up feeling nothing but love and affection for your ex. It’s incredibly confusing too. Know that this is your mind playing tricks on you. It doesn’t mean that you or your ex did something wrong or that either of you are bad people; it’s possible that two great people are just not right for each other. When you feel yourself overcome with nostalgia, always remember, you broke up for a reason.
11. Cut ties.
As hard as it may seem initially, nothing good has ever come from keeping in touch with your ex to the same extent you would have when still together. Agree that you’re not going to get in touch with each other, so that you can give yourself the breathing space to restore your equilibrium. What’s more, ban yourself from stalking their social media profiles. This will drive you insane and has never contributed towards someone’s break-up recovery.
12. Know that a world of possibility awaits.
Like it or not, the end of a relationship that wasn’t working paves the way for one that will. For now, you might prefer a time-out, but one day, you can bet your bottom dollar that somebody will walk into your life and only then will you realise why all of the others didn’t work out. Not only will you open yourself up to the possibility of the kind of love that serves you well, you also open yourself up to opportunities you may have shied away from before. Time to travel? Time to try living in another city? The world is your oyster.