1. Cry. Cry until you no longer can.
2. Don’t try to contact your ex right after the break up; this will only make things worse for you and your ex. What you both need right now is space, space without each other, in order to reflect on your relationship and yourself.
3. Don’t try to contact your previous ex, your ex before the last, or that person you went on three disastrous dates with. After a break up is when you are likely to act as your least rational self. Suddenly you find yourself alone after being so madly in love, and it’s tempting to fill that vacuum with a familiar body, not a person, but just a body. This is just asking for trouble. You need space to be yourself, on your own — that is what a break up is all about.
4. Don’t deny yourself of feeling. Friends will tell you that your ex was not worth your time and not to waste any more time on that person; they say this because it hurts them to see you hurt. But this person was worth your time, because you built something together and shared your lives with each other. It’s okay to feel this loss. Take this time to mourn the relationship and your ex, and divest yourself of all feelings of hurt and sadness before moving on to a new relationship. Denying these emotions does not mean that they will go away; they will be compartmentalized and resurface in an untimely manner, when you may find yourself in a new relationship, and it will be detrimental to it.
5. Clock out from reality for a day or two. Break ups are emotionally and physically exhausting, and you deserve this. Remember that life isn’t 500 Days of Summer: you are not Joseph Gordon Levitt and you cannot drink yourself into a stupor and sleep for days on end on a pile of Twinkie wrappers and expect that your job will be waiting for you when you return after an eternity. But this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take some time off. Take a break from everything, but don’t let the break consume you.
6. Don’t bad-mouth your ex. It’s distasteful, and you’re better than that.
7. Get some fresh air. Go out for a run, take long walks. It’s the best way to allow yourself clarity.
8. Accept that you are no longer together, but as have all the people in your life, your ex has contributed in shaping you to be the person that you are today. If the relationship was good, your ex may have shown you how to love again, or if it was difficult, your ex may have taught you the need to be strong and to protect yourself through circumstance. Be grateful for this.
9. Go out and have fun with the people you love, not with the intention to get over your ex or in search of a “rebound”, but in order to celebrate yourself, your entirety.
10. It’s true: time does heal all wounds.