Relationships are complicated. You never know how long they’ll last. And sometimes, the end is so abrupt, neither one of you could have seen it coming. Even if ending the relationship is the right thing to do, at least one person ends up devastated. This is understandable, as the emotional turmoil that comes with a breakup is hard to cope with. And figuring out your next steps after a breakup even harder.
It also has a hard-hitting impact on the physical and mental well-being of a person. The range of emotions one usually experiences in this situation is diverse – from self-pity and grief to relief and even confusion; you never know what’s coming next. You could feel all of these at once, or you could feel them one after the other, in no particular order.
Even if the breakup happens mutually, the difficult feelings linger on for a while and can be hard to deal with. These uncomfortable emotions will disrupt your sleep, and eating habits, and may even result in depression. But just as going through the stages of grief after a breakup is inevitable, so is healing after a breakup.
To help speed the process, we’ve put together a list of 19 dos and don’ts after a breakup that will help you get rid of the negative emotions and get through this tough time in consultation with psychologist Nandita Rambhia, who specializes in CBT, REBT, and couple’s counseling. Here’s everything you need to know on how to feel better after a breakup.
19 Dos And Don’ts After A Breakup
Going through a breakup can take a toll on your mental health. And the free time you have on your hand after a relationship ends can leave you mulling over past mistakes, contemplating “what-ifs” and “if only”. This can plunge you further down the rabbit hole of wallowing and pining.
Not being able to figure out what to do after a breakup can impede your healing process. And if you don’t learn how to heal after a breakup, your next relationship will suffer on account of all that emotional baggage and trauma. It is common to feel stuck when you’ve just gone through a breakup, but, like in every situation, there is a light at the end of this tunnel too.
And that light is what we’re here to help you walk toward. If you’re going through a breakup and don’t know what to do next, this list of dos and don’ts after a breakup will serve as a guide to get you out of this bad phase of life.
What To Do After A Breakup
Feeling empty after a breakup is inevitable. But we recommend allowing yourself time to properly go through the stages of grief after a breakup. Healing after a breakup is possible. So is dating after a breakup. But, to prepare yourself for it, you need to keep a few things in mind. Don’t worry, we’re listing them down!
1. Make a clean break
The first, and foremost, thing to do after a breakup, is to make a clean break. Avoid your ex-partner for as long as you need to. Do not try to stalk your ex on social media, block them if you need to. If you have the same friends and seeing them triggers you and brings up painful emotions, avoid them as well. And don’t try to remain friends after a breakup, not immediately anyway.
You might feel that it is possible to remain friends after a breakup, but in most cases, it blows up spectacularly. Healing from a breakup starts when you make a clean break, instead of slipping back into old, painful situations and patterns. Keep in mind that the relationship ended for a reason, there is nothing left to be salvaged. It is better to walk away with your dignity intact.
2. Acknowledge your emotions
When you’re going through a breakup, it’s only natural to feel sad, angry, and let down. It is important to acknowledge those feelings instead of trying to brush them away. After making the clean break, the second most important step is to acknowledge all the hurt and the negative feelings that the breakup brings up.
Nandita says, “Allowing yourself some time to grieve and acknowledging the feelings is the most important aspect of the healing process.” Give yourself time and space to cry and scream — such practices help release negative emotions. Journal them out if you need to, writing things down is also a good way to cope.
Related Reading: 9 Expert Tips On How To Control Your Emotions In A Relationship
3. Learn to be happy by yourself
Chances are you feel like you lost a part of yourself during the breakup. Now is the time to find it. Take some time off, spend it with yourself, and get used to your own company. Do all those things you loved doing but your ex-partner never wanted to do. Find yourself! Go on solo dates and pamper yourself. Being in a relationship usually blurs lines and boundaries.
Now that you’re out of it, take some time to focus on yourself and figure out what makes you happy. You’ll understand how important time alone is and you’ll learn how to set some boundaries in your future relationships. Ideally, you should learn to be happy in your own company before you can even think about dating after a breakup. This will come in handy and ensure you’re well-prepared for all your future relationships.
4. Reach out to your friends and family
If you talk to a psychologist, they’ll tell you that it’s crucial to have a support system when going through such a difficult time. And that’s exactly what Nandita suggests. “Surround yourself with people who are empathetic, who understand you, and who help you feel better after a breakup,” she says. Take help from family and friends who can help distract you and keep your mind off your ex.
Reach out to any trusted family member or friend and talk to them about your feelings or ask for advice about what they did during similar situations. Make sure you have someone to share your feelings of frustration, anger, and sadness with, and that this person won’t judge you. This is vital since it is inevitable that you will keep slumping into phases of longing and pain for some time and will need someone to confide in. You could also get an accountability partner, who can help you stay on track during this difficult time.
5. Redecorate your space
Your immediate surroundings can have a serious impact on your mood. Changing and redesigning your living space will help you do a mental reset. If you and your ex lived together, move out as soon as you can. If you live alone, redecorate your room. It could be as simple as changing your bed sheets or even making the space more colorful. And if you have reminders of your ex lying around, getting rid of them will help to nudge along the healing process.
6. Take some time out for self-care
Taking some time out for self-care can work wonders for your mental health. Read a book, watch movies, cook your comfort food, or order in. Keep yourself moving with a new workout. Make a spa booking, really, anything that gives you happiness is welcome. Make a list of the best movies to watch after a breakup and set a day aside to binge-watch them all at once! Oh, and don’t forget to stock the freezer with ice cream!
Related Reading: 30 Self-Care And Wellbeing Gift Ideas – Because You Deserve The Best
7. Use your newfound free time judiciously
With a breakup comes a lot of free time. This free time has the potential to make you lose your mind. Instead of spending time indulging in self-pity, use it to make some positive changes to your life. Learn a new language, learn a new skill, reinvent yourself – all these changes help you grow and you will love this new and evolved version of yourself.
8. Explore and live a mindful life
It’s easy to lose yourself in grief and anxiety after a breakup. And living a mindful life is the best antidote for it. Being mindful helps us calm down and stay still for a while. Incorporate a few minutes of meditation and yoga into your daily routine or learn a few mindfulness exercises to get rid of any unnecessary thoughts and feelings. And when you’re ready to have some fun again, call the gang together and have some fun. Go dancing, shopping, bar-hopping, or even just out for a simple lunch.
9. Go to therapy
All the tips we’ve mentioned are a good starting point. But the thing that will help the most is therapy. Even if you start reluctantly, you’ll get some insights into what you need and how to move forward from here. Not only will it help you manage your pain in a healthier manner but also offer insights into your behavior patterns, which can be immensely helpful in navigating future relationships.
Seeking help becomes all the more imperative if you’re struggling with issues like anxiety or depression after a breakup. If you’re looking for help, skilled and experienced counselors on Bonbology’s panel are here for you.
10. Give yourself some time
Perhaps the most important thing to do in this difficult situation is to remember that time is a great healer. Nandita advises, “Give yourself a lot of time and a lot of TLC – tender, loving care – to bring yourself out of this situation.” Do not be harsh on yourself and remember, things will settle with time. Just remember to be kind to yourself and understand that you need to go through all the stages of grief before things start to feel normal again. The anxiety after a breakup calms down, things get better, and you will move forward and start to look toward the future. Hang in there!
What Not To Do After A Breakup
Breakups might not be easy but undoing those pesky post-breakup mistakes can make moving on that much harder. Identify the things you don’t need to do after a breakup so that you don’t end up being an emotional wreck. And what exactly are those behaviors that you must avoid like the plague? Here is a list of all the don’ts to keep in mind as you navigate the post-breakup phase:
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1. Do not get into the what-if mode
Fantasizing about what could have been is right on top of our what not to do after a breakup list. As Nandita says, “The minute you decide the breakup is done and dusted, make a conscious effort to entertain any ‘what-if’ questions/scenarios in your mind.” These questions and pointless ruminations do more harm than good and let’s be honest here, there is nothing to be gained from them.
Asking yourself these questions only keeps the pain at the forefront of your mind, and stops the healing process dead in its tracks. The best thing you could do for yourself and your future relationships is to not ruminate on such matters excessively and stop trying to figure out what went wrong between you both and what would have happened if all that could have been stopped from happening in the first place.
2. Do not get into rebound relationships
In the process of moving on, one sometimes falls into the trap of making the worst possible decisions. Chances you’ll try to get into a rebound relationship to forget your ex. But, let us tell you, it is a poor decision. Do not immediately jump into a rebound relationship just because you’re trying to fill a void in your life for the moment. Tread carefully into another relationship, or you’ll just carry the hate and grief into a new relationship, souring it. This will keep you stuck in the cycle of breakups and bad relationships.
3. Don’t badmouth your partner
You might be sorely tempted to lash out at your ex, they hurt you after all! But, don’t. Don’t do that, and don’t get into the negative circle of badmouthing your ex. This is especially important if you happen to have the same friends. It can leave behind a bad impression of you and it will just keep you feeling miserable since the hate will always remain at the forefront of your mind which will mean that you still think about your ex. Don’t speak harshly about your ex-partner to anyone, no matter what.
4. Avoid making any drastic changes
Going through a breakup can make you want to make some drastic changes – to yourselves and your personality. Wait for a while before you get those breakup bangs, or color your hair purple because you wanted a change. The same advice applies to that tattoo you have to have right now or quitting your job, or any major life decisions.
As we already mentioned above, you don’t make major decisions when you’re reeling from a loss. Your emotions are probably in overdrive and you will come to regret these impulsive decisions. So, avoid making any changes to your personality or your appearance – you’ll thank yourself for it later. Don’t give in to the urge of transforming yourself overnight to get over a breakup.
5. Don’t go to places that remind you of your ex
Are there any places that you and your ex-partner loved to visit together? Perhaps you have fond memories associated with the mall or that cute little coffee place down the road where you two met? Well, for the time being, avoid these places. These places can trigger your emotions and set you back in your healing journey quite a bit. Plus, there is always a risk of running into your ex in these places, which can plunge you into spells of grief and longing all over again.
So, it is better to decide right off the bat that you won’t visit these places anymore. Any place you visited with your ex, or you know your ex loves, needs to be demarcated as off-limits. Trust us, you will save yourself from a world of pain.
Related Reading: The 7 Stages Of A Breakup That Everyone Goes Through
6. Avoid wallowing in self-pity
Don’t make the post-breakup blues a permanent way of life. Your ex is not the only important person in your life, don’t give him/her the power to occupy such a huge chunk of your thoughts and life. The aftermath of a breakup is a tough time and can make you feel stuck. But just because you need to acknowledge your feelings, doesn’t mean you need to sit around feeling sorry for yourself.
Nandita suggests, “Accept you will go through a low phase but at the same time, don’t let it overwhelm you. Don’t remain in that phase for a long time and don’t wallow in self-pity.” The minute you understand you’ve had a breakup, acknowledge the feelings, mourn as much as you want to, but then, move forward. Don’t listen to sad songs endlessly and start the healing process as soon as you can. You will thank yourself for it!
7. Don’t fall into the trap of substance abuse
Several studies prove that sadness can trigger reward-seeking behavior. Be careful of such cravings. Don’t let yourself reach for that bottle of whiskey you so desperately want because you think it will help you deal with the pain of heartbreak but instead it’ll only numb the pain. It won’t, it will surely end up creating new problems instead. Stay as far away from alcohol or any other addictive substances during this tough time. Addiction is no joke, and it can ruin your life. So, it’s better you stay in control of yourself and don’t get into substance use or abuse.
8. Don’t rush the healing process
A breakup can feel like the end of the world. In such a case, it is important to take some time off. You need to allow yourself some space and time to grieve. No matter how the relationship ended, your feelings are valid. And processing those feelings is a journey in itself. Breaking up means losing a big part of your life. Just because they’re suddenly your ex, doesn’t mean you no longer love them! Falling out of love takes time and this is the time you need to give. Mourning the end of a relationship is important. Grieve the end of your relationship like you would grieve the death of a loved one. Feel free to go through the whole spectrum of emotions – grief is valid, no matter what triggered it.
9. Don’t disrupt your whole life
Don’t change everything about your life just because you’re mourning the end of a relationship. Try to maintain a routine, whether simple or complex. Continue doing all the things you were doing before the breakup. It helps to have some continuity and steadiness in life and makes it easier to get over a breakup healthily.
If your ex was a big part of your routine, make a new one. It will work wonders for your mental health and help in healing anxiety after a breakup. Make time for some physical activity – running, hiking, or working out at the gym. This helps you feel better about yourself and also helps you feel more energetic. But most importantly, it will keep you busy and stop you from spiraling into thoughts about your ex and the failed relationship.
- It can be difficult to figure out what to do after a breakup. But don’t try to rush the healing process as it can do more harm than good
- Feeling lonely after a breakup is normal. Don’t feel like you’re alone in this, and don’t lose hope
- Dealing with negative emotions can be difficult. Take a moment and breathe. Take some time to heal and create new memories
- Don’t stay stuck in the past. Keep moving forward and do all the things that excite you
There are five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. And losing an important person triggers them all. No matter where you are in this cycle, just know that it is possible to heal after a breakup. And no matter how painful the breakup was, healing and moving on is possible.
Try to cope in healthy ways and forgetting about your ex and the painful feelings of a failed relationship will eventually become easier. And then who knows, like most difficult phases in life, this too will help you metamorphose into a better, stronger, and wiser version of yourself.
Give yourself time to process your emotions and go through the stages of grief after a breakup. Don’t try to rush the healing process and accept that feeling lonely after a breakup is normal, and is needed to feel better. Make a list of things that hurt, and the things that make you feel better, and try to stick to these dos and don’ts after a breakup.
Healing comes after acceptance. Accept the fact that it is over and it will hurt for a while before it gets better. Make a list of things to do after a breakup that help facilitate the healing process and try to follow through. Prioritize yourself and treat yourself kindly. Learning to love yourself can be one of the hardest things to do after a breakup, but is also one of the most important ones. Learn to take care of yourself and put yourself first.
So your ex broke up with you… what next? Be patient with yourself. Work through the confusion and clear the post-breakup haze before trying to jump into a new relationship. Try to identify the silver linings that come with the breakup and remove all reminders of your ex from your life. The best advice here? Time is a great healer. Give yourself plenty of it, and you’ll be just fine.
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