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Breakups are one of the hardest things anyone will endure in a lifetime. This is the unfortunate side of being in relationships. If it doesn’t work out, we have to go through a breakup phase that forces us to reset our lives and start over.
The most painful part of a breakup is knowing that your love life is officially over. The second is feeling lost and lonely without a plan to get out of this heartbreak.
“What should I do immediately after a breakup?”
I get asked this question a lot from our readers. And I’ve been in that position many times struggling to react positively right after a breakup. The fact is that a breakup leaves us broken with no strength to carry on with our lives.
If this is your first breakup, it’s going to hurt a lot. You’re going to feel the pain coming at you from all sides, emotionally and physically. Even if you’ve split a few times, you know it never gets easier.
In fact, the vicious breakup grief cycle just resets and throws down the hammer to break you and make you feel hopeless.
You are vulnerable. And it’s okay to feel this way.
I’ve been through too many breakups that I’ve lost count. Trust me, the experience doesn’t make sad news any easier. The beginning of a breakup is always the toughest. It’s when you feel the impact, and your mind is distressed by the new reality that’s in front of you.
Ready or not, you don’t have a choice but to move on.
I’ve always had a hard time finding my way and knowing what to do after a breakup. My emotions always get the best of me, and I find myself lost in the moment.
I’ve learned from my early days that I would need to keep a checklist of things to do immediately after a breakup to help me process the situation better.
When it’s hard to think straight, I would pull out my checklist and just follow the steps on it to help me deal with my emotional wreck. No need to think about what to do, but just follow the outline that I’ve created to guide me through this turbulence.
There are five items on this list. The list is intentionally short so that it is easy to follow through. The goal is to quickly set up a support system so that you can get back on your feet and reclaim yourself.
So here are the five things you should do immediately after a breakup.
RELATED: Breakup Guide: How To Get Over A Breakup The Smart Way
1. Embrace Your Feelings. They’re Real
Go ahead, bawl your eyes out. Let all your sadness, anger, confusion, betrayal, and loss come out. Everyone processes their feelings a little differently, but letting out your emotions is the best way to deal with them.
Its self-soothing and releases feel-good chemicals in our body to ease physical and emotional pain.
You have a legitimate reason to sob. No matter how ugly and weak it looks, it’s a very effective way to help us move through our emotions and get them from the inside to the outside.
When you’re dealing with a breakup, you’re lost for words to describe what just happened.
Your mind is racing through thousands of questions and trying to match possible answers. When you’re spinning like this, the best way to deal with your thoughts is just to cry it out and let your tears help you relieve your stress.
The last thing you want to do is keep your emotions bottled up inside. You want to face your feelings early on so that you can move past it as quickly as possible.
If you don’t feel like crying, that’s okay too. Going to the gym and taking it out on a punching bag is another great option. But just keep in mind that you have every reason to cry it out and scream at the top of your lungs.
There’s nothing like a good cry to make you feel better.
2. Call Your BFF Immediately
I used to deal with breakups on my own. They were my problems that were too personal, and I never wanted to bother someone with it. To be honest, I also didn’t want to reveal my vulnerability and ashamed to fail a relationship again.
But I was wrong to think that having someone to talk to immediately after a breakup is one of the best things to overcome a broken heart.
It’s like if the paparazzi are blackmailing a celebrity over some unflattering photos of them. Sometimes, the best counterattack is to get in front of the news and publicly reveal it yourself to remove the leverage. Plus, you get to set how the story goes.
So, get in front of the breakup by calling your best friend. Before the feelings keep eating you up inside, invite your friend over to talk about it.
Even if you don’t want to talk, it’s great to have a friend over for company.
You don’t have to deal with your breakup on your own and alone.
I know it might be hard to find someone willing to come over and patiently listen to your sob story. But now is the time to call in a favor and ask for their help. You want to surround yourself with people who love you as quickly as possible, so they can quickly help you process your feelings and keep you distracted.
Don’t be afraid to reach out when you are weak.
If a friend doesn’t want to fill that support role for you, then you can just take that person off your Christmas list (just joking). But what are friends for, right? We’re there to support each other through thick and thin.
Just go ahead and call your best friend for a pity party. Prepare some ice-cream, wine, or comfort food to make it a night. Bash your ex and declare single life forever. Even if your friend doesn’t know what to say to heal your heartbreak, the simple fact that she’s present makes all the difference.
If you want more of your friend’s help, let her know how they can help out.
3. Love Yourself, Accept Who You Are
Breaking up is one of those times in my life where I find myself hating myself. I keep asking myself why this keeps happening to me, and whether I’m cursed from enjoying a long-term relationship.
A lot of negativity start to crawl in my head. Doubts that I’m not good enough, I’ll never find true love, and thoughts that make me question my own self-worth. It becomes overwhelming when you are sitting alone at an emotional rock bottom.
Are you a failure just because you failed in one relationship? Of course not!
But you may have had the same thought as I did. You might think you don’t deserve a great guy like your ex.
Stop right there.
You do deserve a great guy like your ex and it’s not because of you that your broken relationship ended.
In my coaching guide, Breakup Is Over, I talk about how relationships can end without being anyone’s fault. So don’t put the blame all on yourself just yet and carry the failure on your shoulders.
You are still beautiful and awesome. Maybe you’ve lost a bit of mojo but it’s only because you were stuck in a stale relationship for too long.
Before you think so low of yourself, take a look at the mirror if you need a reminder of what a great person you are.
- Yes, you’ve made mistakes, but you’ve learned from it.
- You discovered new flaws about yourself but we all do.
- You learned to love, care, and sacrificed for someone else.
- You put your ex first. Many times.
- You showed him the world.
To me, these are characteristics of a great, lovable person.
You did the very best you could. And it’s only unfortunate that your ex didn’t see things the same way. It’s his loss.
The truth is that relationships come and go. There’s nothing to be ashamed, and embarrassed about your breakup. It’s only a big deal and a big mess if you make it one.
I know it’s hard. After all, you just lost someone you’ve loved, trusted, and shared your life with for a long time. It’s hard to move past that. But was the relationship going in the direction you’ve wanted?
So think of this breakup as an opportunity to reflect on yourself. Instead of self-loathe and feeling ashamed of your breakup, learn to love yourself, and see how you can pivot to a better future.
A future that you can put yourself first.
The healing starts once you can be indifferent to your past relationship and take away the important lessons to move on with your life.
Chances are your past relationship was wearing you down, and you need this moment to help you regroup and take care of your mind, body, and soul.
4. Do Something For Yourself
In addition to loving yourself, it’s time to do something just for you.
That’s right, let’s celebrate YOU.
It’s time to spoil yourself and indulge in things you love. What better way to overcome your sadness than to give yourself a little pampering?
Buy some new shoes, or go on a spa day. Disappear with your friends and hit the nearest beach. Invite your close friend over and max out on all your guilty pleasures.
Make an excuse because this is all part of your healing process!
When we’re in a relationship, we make sacrifices and give up on things we like. We miss it, but we made a choice to make room for dating activities and our partner.
Now that you’re single, take out your bucket list and start working through each ambition.
You might have forgotten those days when your life was all about you. You were the center of attention and could get whatever you desired. The last time you probably felt that way was your first date with your ex when he showed you the world.
Now that he’s out of the picture, it’s time to put your focus back on yourself and prioritize the things you love to do.
Indian food, ballet sessions, going on long walks by the pier.
Even if you don’t have a boyfriend to do these things, it’s perfectly normal to go alone. You just date yourself. Every effort you make to get out of the house is every distraction you need to move on.
You never know, the next guy might be around the corner.
RELATED: How To Get Over A Breakup The Smart And Sassy Way
5. Stay Off Social Media
I think you’ve come across this idea before, and it’s one of the most effective ways to create a recovery bubble for yourself when you’re dealing with a breakup.
During this period, you need to revoke your access to social media. Avoid it at all cost! Here are three compelling reasons why it’s important to give yourself a digital detox.
1. Seeing Photos Of Your Ex Will Drive You Insane
It takes only one photo of your ex having a great time to throw you off your recovery.
One photo of him with his crew, plus a new girl in the mix to get your worked up wondering who she’s with. That’s all it takes to turn you into a social media stalker.
You need to be brave here girl, or brace yourself for daily emotional stress from just seeing your ex’s Facebook feed.
For you to start your recovery process, you need to forget about your ex.
There’s no way around it. You don’t need any reminders of how your picture-perfect relationship could’ve gone. You don’t need any affirmations that your ex is doing fine by himself.
The only thing you need right now is to stay away from his presence. This means unfriending your ex, and then deleting him on all your social media accounts.
By doubling down, you are reassuring yourself that you are ready to move on and focus on your life.
2. Posting Photos Of You Faking Happiness Isn’t Real
While it may sound great that you are trying to fake your happiness until you’ve truly moved on, the time and effort to keep up with your online “happiness” isn’t worth it. In fact, it’s counter-productive.
You’re spending so much time creating this online presence that not only are short-lived but may come across as a desperate attempt to show the world that you’re coping with the breakup.
You might subconsciously post photos of you enjoying your single life, hoping it catches your ex’s attention or shared with him by one of your mutual friends.
You might get your ex-boyfriend’s attention, but it doesn’t mean that he will take the bait. It’s more likely that he will sniff out your desperation when you’re trying too hard.
But what’s the point of keeping up with your online presence when your real life is in shambles? There’s no need to tell the world what you’re going through and pretending everything is okay girl.
You don’t need to keep everyone updated about your status and share your life like you used to.
In fact, the best thing for you to right now after a breakup is to go on a digital detox and shut off social media. What happens in the real world matters more than your online profiles.
You need to take a break from social media and focus on yourself. Go in private mode and use this “break” time to boost your self-esteem and reset your goals. Don’t waste your time creating Instagram-worthy photos Don’t waste your time creating Instagram-worthy photos.
What matters is that you are genuinely happy.
3. Your Friends’ Photos Aren’t Helping
While the two reasons above are obvious for you to stay off social media, most people aren’t aware that their friends’ updates can make them even more depressed.
Think about it. Your friends are posting photos of their fun and achievements:
- A summer trip to Paris
- Celebrating an anniversary with their partner
- Just had a birthday and thanking everyone for their wishes
- Received their MBA
- Reached a career goal you know they’ve wanted
Do these posts make you feel sad and unaccomplished? While your friends are succeeding and living a great life, you’re hitting a low point in yours.
It’s somewhat depressing to see your friends problem-free living it up.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not your friends’ fault, and you shouldn’t delete and unfriend people that are making you jealous. In fact, you should be happy for them and wishing them the best.
But these photos aren’t helping you at the moment. They might even make you feel more miserable and alone, driving your self-esteem lower than it already is.
Why waste all your precious freedom scrolling through your Instagram, checking out other people’s lives? Now that you are single, you have the opportunity to rewrite your destiny and life goals.
So do yourself a favor and stay off social media for a while. Your friends will understand and they can always reach you by phone or through IM apps.
Give Yourself Time Immediately After A Breakup
Ultimately, you should give yourself time and space to recoup and reflect after a heartbreak. It is important that you process your feelings (aka cry it out) in the first week to release your emotions and feel better.
The points above are my checklist that I use when I’m going through a breakup. There’s a lot of emotional stress when a breakup happens, so a list comes in handy to put a support system in place as quickly as possible.
Here’s a quick recap:
- Cry it out and release and emotional stress
- Call your BFF for ultimate support
- Love yourself because it’s not all your fault
- Do something for yourself that makes you happy
- Stay off social media and reclaim your real life
The only thing that matters now is getting over the breakup. The goal is to get you to process your feelings and start moving on by doing things you love. The idea of having a friend to support you early on, and doing something for yourself are distractions to remind you of what an awesome life you have.
The only distraction you don’t need is social media. Stay off it!
Give this checklist a try. It’s only as effective if you implement the ideas.
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