Let’s talk about breakups. They’re hard. They’re painful. They make you look like you’ve been drug behind the heartbreak bus through a wasteland of cacti and emotional exhaustion. Fortunately there are all kinds ways to show yourself some love when you need it most.
1. Indulge your emotions, but don’t live in them. If you need to cry, let ‘er rip. If you need to vent, meet your friends for dinner and many, many drinks. Engage with your feelings, frustrations and doubts. There is so much healing power in being vulnerable and letting others be there for you. Just don’t move into that place of sadness and never leave. Inhabiting heartbreak is not how you move on.
2. Listen to your body. If your anxiety is high, try going for a run, even if you’ve never exercised before (believe me, I hadn’t). The heart wants what it wants and the mind may wander, but our bodies are systems we can tinker with, and often affecting change on the physical level will benefit you emotionally and mentally too. Endorphins will dull the edge, and pounding some pavement to an angry playlist is a good way to burn calories and negative emotions. You could use a little catharsis.
3. Feed yourself. Eat your feelings, if that’s what you’re into. The beginning stages of getting over a breakup are not the time to worry about nutrition labels so don’t hesitate to grab your favorites. If your heart is a fussy, confused little child, would you try to calm it down asparagus? No. It wants cookies and it wants them now. Yield to that. When the initial waves of emotion pass, you’ll be ready to put down the Oreos and get back to eating well-balanced, normal people meals.
4. Splurge — retail therapy is the real deal. Maybe it’s a pair of shoes or a bag you’ve been eyeing for months, but treat yourself to something you want that makes you happy every time you put it on. Yes, $8 is a little much to ask for a bottle of nail polish, but if it makes you feel confident and put together throughout the day, it’s worth it to paint on the positive vibes.
5. Be your own bastion. Take small steps to safeguard your emotional wellbeing; no one can protect it but you. Unfollow the ex on all social media. You’re going to stalk his Facebook anyway, but at least you can scroll through your newsfeed safely, without being ambushed by his posts. (This is especially important if he takes a trip to Europe just days after you two end things. You don’t need to see that shit.) Transfer phone pictures to your computer into a deeply buried file so you’re not confronted by them daily. This isn’t removing him from your life or an attempt to forget; this is you taking care of yourself.
6. Create a stash of funny stuff. You know all those awesome Internet things you normally link to your friends? Take an extra second to private message yourself your favorite memes and Vines right when you find them. When you need a laugh later, you’ll thank past you for creating a savings account of funny material.
7. Pull out the “to do later” list. Everyone has one of these — it’s that mental list of all the things you want to do, make or cook but have never gotten around to doing, making, or cooking. It’s all the places you want to go but have never been. Treat yourself to one or all of them. It will keep you busy, give you something to look forward to and get you away from it all.
8. Ignore advice that doesn’t work for you. Before following anyone else’s directions (“You have to go out!” “Find someone new!” “Cut all your hair off and start over!”), really check in with yourself and ask, “What do I want?” If you’d rather stay in and lounge, take it easy. Everyone will tell you to forget trying to be friends with your former love, but only you two can make that decision. Listen for wisdom but remember that you have your own. Rule of thumb: if it’s well with your soul, do it with or without anyone else’s permission. Which brings us to…
9. Understand that you are your own caretaker. Do what you need, no matter what it is. Feel the quiet pull inside you and follow it wherever it wants to go.