The first 24-hours following a break up can be hard. It can feel like the seam of your soul is being torn apart. The days and months ahead seem to stretch out ahead like a long, empty road appearing to go nowhere. Emotions run high only to fall back to earth with a crash while questions circle in your mind like a flock of confused seagulls. But why? But how? What if?
In the immediate aftermath of a breakup, it can feel like that chance of moving on without this person in your life is an impossible task. You want to call them, text them, get them to change their mind, or get them to change yours. Anything but endure the torture of the next few minutes, hours, days, weeks and months. Yet you know you can’t. You must somehow endure the unendurable.
While nothing is going to remove the pain of loss completely, here are 24 ways you can take care of yourself during those first seemingly impossible 24 hours following a break up:
1. Drink more water
Chances are there are going to be tears, so you want to make sure there are enough fluids in the tank. Plus, most of us don’t drink enough water as it is. Throw a stressful situation like a break-up into the mix, and it puts unnecessary pressure on our already overworked bodies. So, grab a water bottle and keep yourself hydrated.
2. Curl up in bed
The world isn’t going to end if you extract yourself from it for a few hours or even days. Call in sick to work if you have to. Close the curtains, get warm, wrap yourself up in the comfort of your bed and allow yourself to drift off to sleep. Don’t feel like you have to make yourself busy and be out meeting new people. The time for that will come. For now, simply let yourself rest.
3. Cry it out
As I said, there are going to be tears. Let them come, even if you don’t feel they are warranted, or the other person doesn’t deserve your tears. It’s your right to feel whatever your feeling so if there are tears, let them come.
4. Drink warm tea
Drinking a cup of warm tea is calming and nurturing for the body. At a time when it feels like your body is in emotional overdrive, it’s good to do things that help to soothe and nourish it. So, if you’re hurting, put this article down and go and pop the kettle on.
5. Call a friend
We all need support during difficult times, but we need it from those who aren’t going to make the pain worse. Reach out to that special someone who you know isn’t going to pass judgment or offer unsolicited advice. Call a friend who you know will just listen and validate what you’re experiencing without having to fix it.
6. Clean your room
Break ups can be messy and sometimes that messiness has a way of extending leaking into our immediate environment. This is unlikely to help our already emotional state. Cleaning up your room or home can have a relaxing and calming effect on our mind and bodies.
7. Feeeeeeel it
It’s likely you’re going to be feeling a whole range of emotions, and it’s possible to jettison from one emotion to its complete opposite within a blink of an eye. Whether it’s anger to rage, to sadness to yearning, to guilt to shame and back to anger, give yourself permission to feel it all. Just make sure all phone and other technological devices are well and truly out of reach.
8. Write it out
You don’t have to be a writer to reap the benefits from writing out what’s on your mind. Forget the rules of grammar or spelling mistakes, just grab a pen and some paper and start scribbling. Write everything and anything because no one is going to read it. You don’t even have to read it again, and it’s probably best you don’t. Just get it out and onto the page.
9. Cuddle a pet
Love and connection are universal human needs and if there’s ever a time we need it most it’s right after a break-up. Grab yourself a furry animal and hold it close to your heart. If you don’t have one, find someone who does. If you can’t find a live animal, then grab a stuffed one and cuddle that.
10. Hit a pillow
When you allow yourself to feel your emotions, it’s likely not all of them are going to feel very good. Rather than holding these toxic emotions, engaging in some physical activity can help shift the energy. Grab a pillow, clench your fist and let it have it. Punch out the hurt, the anger, the sadness. Keep punching until you’re exhausted.
11. Watch a movie
An excellent way to get out of our own story is to watch someone else’s. Movies are a wonderful form of escape, and there’s nothing wrong with escaping from the world for a few hours. Curl up under a blanket with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s and allow yourself slip into another world for a while.
12. Give to charity
Being heartbroken can make it feel as though we have lost everything and nothing left to give. While it might feel this way, it’s not the truth. Humans have an immense capacity to give. Giving something to another when it seems like our world is crashing down around us can be a quiet yet powerful reminder of our true and inherent nature.
13. Change the sheets
Depending on the length of the relationship, you might want to even buy some new ones. Either way, rip the sheets you shared with your ex off the bed and either throw them out or put them in the washing machine until the memories have been soaked and rinsed out of them.
14. Remove the reminders
If you’re not ready to delete your ex from your life entirely, at least remove all reminders. Store text messages and photos in a folder or a box and put it somewhere where you can forget about it, and ultimately, forget about them.
15. Sage your space
It’s good to clear any unwanted energy from your living space on a regular basis, but you especially want to do this after a break up with an ex. Light a stick of sage and cleanse any old and unwanted energies while asking for it to be replaced with new, light and loving energy.
16. Get a massage
There’s no quick fix for getting over a break-up, but there are certainly things you can do to ease the tension. Having a professional massage out the aches and pains in those tight and contracted muscles is surely one of them.
17. Get grounded
In stressful situations, it’s easy to get caught up in the endless cycle of thinking. A way of getting out of your head and back into your body is to ground yourself. Take your shoes off and walk around in bare feet for a while. Get grounded and feel Mother Earth supporting you.
18. Eat some delicious, hearty food
Once you’re done with the ice-cream and comfort food, it might be time to give your body a break from the sugar. Dine out on some chicken soup and start replenishing your system with the healthy, nourishing foods that are going to help you through the healing process.
19. Have a hot bath
If you don’t have a bath, then place yourself under a hot shower and let the warmth of the water cleanse not only your body but your heart and soul. Feel the water washing away all the hurt and sadness, renewing your spirit with fresh hope for the future.
20. Dance it out
Dancing might be the last thing you feel like doing, but movement can just be what the body is craving during a time of emotional upheaval. Put on some upbeat music and shake out whatever it is you’re feeling. Shake, shake, shake it out.
21. Climb a tree
Remember when you were a kid and used to climb trees? Find a tree that looks like fun to climb and connect with your inner kid again. Trees are strong and stable and dependable as well as comforting which is just the kind of energy you need right now. Plus, it’s hard to be sad when you’re sitting on top of the world.
Or another approach is to take some deep, conscious breaths. Meditating, or breathing consciously, can be a useful circuit breaker when your mind feels like it’s on a backwards loop. Try closing your eyes and focusing on the inhale and exhale of your breath. Even if you can only do it for a minute, that’s one minute you weren’t focused on them.
23. Get crafty
Break ups are the toughest on our inner child because they tug and any abandonment or unworthiness wounds we might be lugging around. Give your inner child a break by giving it something else to focus on. Pull out your paints and crayons and let yourself go wild. Bring some colour and playfulness back into your world.
24. Delete their number
Break ups are hard enough without rubbing salt into the wound by keeping the lines of communication with your ex open. You can always reconnect with the person down the track if you feel like it, although you will have moved on by then. The time will come when these first 24-hours will be a distance memory, but until then delete, delete, delete.