8 Ways to Feel Better After a Breakup

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We've all been there at one point in our lives—those awful days following the demise of a relationship when all you want to do is climb in bed and pull the overs over your head. After all, breakups are never easy regardless of whether you got dumped or you did the dumping.

And, if you're like most people you probably don't deal with breakups in the healthiest of ways. Maybe you resort to drowning your sorrows with food or drinks. Or, maybe you can't stop blaming yourself for everything that went wrong. Whatever you're current coping mechanisms, you're probably wondering if there is a better way to get through this heartache.

To help you put the past behind you and move on, we have compiled a list of eight things you can do right now to feel better and help mend your broken heart. So, don't waste another second wallowing in the past and take steps to feel better right now.

Acknowledge Your Feelings

While it's only natural to want to feel better, you don't want to stuff your feelings or deny they even exist. Part of the healing process is acknowledging how you feel and allowing yourself to grieve. This process is especially important if you were in the relationship for any length of time. Even if the relationship was fraught with issues, it can still feel like a part of you is missing.

It's also important to allow yourself the time and the space to cry. Believe it or not, crying provides a release that actually will improve your mood and help you feel better in the long run. The key is getting stuck in this stage of the healing process. As a result, you need to allow yourself a few days or maybe even a week to process what happened, but after that it's time to gather yourself and focus on moving on.

This is not to say that a pang of sadness will not surprise you here and there, but crying for days and days can be counterproductive to the healing process. If you find that you can't stop crying or that you are crying for no apparent reason, you should talk to your doctor or a counselor. Sometimes a traumatic breakup can trigger depression in some people or reignite a mental health issue.

Remove Reminders of Your Ex

When getting over a breakup, one of the first things you need to do is purge your house or apartment of all reminders of your ex. After all, it is kind of difficult to move on and heal from a breakup if you still have your ex's picture on the nightstand or if you sleep in their old sweatshirt. As a result, take the time to remove all reminders of them from your home.

Of course, this doesn't mean you have to burn their belongings, throw their stuff into the street, or sell everything they gave you, but you should at least box these items up. Return anything that belongs to them if you want, or donate it to charity. The choice is yours.

But recognize that having reminders of your ex that are easily accessible is going to impede your progress. So, do yourself a favor and at the very least put it in storage. While you're at it, you also should remove your ex from your social media accounts.

Even though you may be curious about what they're up to, receiving constant reminders through photos and posts will keep you stuck in the past. It also can be painful too if you see your ex with a new partner. So, as hard as it may be to do, unfriend and unfollow your ex as soon as possible. You may even want to block them from seeing your posts and updates. The fewer connections you have to one another the easier it will be to move on.

Find Closure

Sometimes cutting off all contact is not enough to help you move on. Sometimes, you need what people often refer to as closure. They key is that you find closure for the relationship in a healthy way. In other words, having coffee together to talk or getting together as friends even under the guise of finding closure, is not healthy. In fact, it just keeps you tethered to your ex, but in a really unhealthy way.

Instead, you need to find other ways to bring about closure. One possible solution is to write a letter to your ex saying all the things you didn't get a chance to say. Just don't mail it or send it to them. It is the process of pouring out your feelings onto paper that helps you bring closure to the relationship—not sending it to them and hoping they will read it and feel a certain way.

Plus, if you end up sending an emotional letter, you may end up regretting it later. There also is the chance that you will spend too much time wondering if they read the letter, what they thought about the letter, and if they are going to respond. Instead, write the letter more for yourself. And, if you feel like you need to share it with someone consider allowing a trusted friend read it or your counselor.

Make a List of Your Ex's Faults

Too many times after a breakup, people dwell on all the things they will miss about their ex. Instead of remembering them as they truly were, they see only the good qualities—the things that they are really going to miss. But doing this can be counterproductive to your healing. After all, if you want to move on, you need to remind yourself why the two of you are not a good fit.

For this reason, take some time and write down all the things that bother you about your ex. Include big things and little things. For instance, if your ex struggled with infidelity, or wasn't interested in talking about the future, remind yourself of those things and why it would have never worked any way.

You also can include little pet peeves as well like having bad table manners or being a slob. This exercise will help you keep things in perspective as well as serve as a reminder as to why it's better that you're not together.

Take Care of Yourself

The key to feeling better after a breakup is rooted in caring for yourself. In other words, make sure you're eating right, exercising regularly, showering consistently, and getting plenty of sleep. It also may help to pamper yourself a little bit too. Consider getting a massage, a facial, or a manicure especially if you think it will boost your spirits.

Just hold off on making any drastic changes to your appearance like dying your hair a funky color or getting it all cut off. What might seem like a good idea today may end up being something you regret when you're not feeling as emotional. Instead, focus on things that will make you feel better without doing anything that is irreversible or permanent.

You also can try other ways of caring for yourself too like taking a yoga class, journaling, or experimenting with mindfulness. Even indulging yourself a little can be a real mood booster, like losing yourself in a good book and ordering takeout from your favorite restaurant. You could even treat yourself to a new outfit, a new pair of shoes, or the latest gadget. Think about things that bring you joy and try to incorporate them into your life.

Connect With Other People

While it may be tempting to hole up in your bedroom and wallow in self-pity, this is not a healthy response to a breakup. Instead, make a goal to connect with other people. Take the time to call family and friends. Even reach out to spend time together. Never underestimate the power of laughing and doing something fun with people who love and support you. Not only is it a great way to heal, but it also helps keep your mind off your ex.

You also should develop an emergency contact list of people you can contact during your moments of weakness. In other words, on those nights when you're tempted to call your ex and ask about getting back together, reach out to someone on your emergency list instead. Ideally, they will be there to help talk you down from any crazy ideas you get at 2 a.m.

Likewise, talking to supportive people about the breakup can be somewhat cathartic. So, ideally you have a friend or family member you can talk to. If you don't, then consider talking to a counselor instead. The idea is that talking about your feelings with regard to the breakup will help you process your feelings and come to terms with what happened.

Just be sensitive to the fact that friends and family members may become fatigued if that's all you talk about. So try to be a good friend in the midst of your crisis.

Plan a Solo Adventure

After spending time as a couple, it can be hard learning to be single again. And while the thought of doing something solo may seem a little daunting at first, it also can be extremely liberating too. Of course, you don't have to plan an entire experience, but you should plan to get used to the idea of spending time alone again.

Whether that means spending a relaxing evening alone, going on a hike in the mountains, or planning a short getaway, the key is that you get used to being alone with yourself. If you're having trouble coming up with ideas consider choosing something that your ex would never do that you really wanted to do.

You will finally get the experience you wanted and it can feel cathartic to do something they would never agree to doing. It's the perfect opportunity to make up for lost time. Plus, it might serve as a helpful reminder as to why you're not a good match for one another.

Accept That It's Over

While it's tempting to hold onto the hope that you will reunite with your ex, in the most cases, the likelihood of that happening is slim. As a result, you need to begin to accept that the relationship is over and that it's time to move on. If you don't accept that things are over, you will be stuck in limbo waiting and hoping your ex will realize the error of their ways and ask to get back together. Most of the time, that does not happen.

Likewise, don't spend a lot of time over-analyzing what you did wrong or how you could change to keep your ex around. While it's a good idea to learn from your mistakes, constantly thinking about what you could have done or should have done will likely keep you going in circles. Instead, learn what you can from the relationship, but keep moving forward. Each step that you take forward, the closer you are to healing and moving on.

Recognize that your mission now is to accept that the relationship is over. Be patient with yourself, though. Healing after a breakup is not a quick fix. It takes some time for your heart to catch up with the reality of the situation. But you will get there as long as you keep working at it.

A Word From Verywell

Whether you initiated the breakup or you were completely blindsided, it's important that you put the past behind you and move on. How exactly you go about doing that is entirely up to you. The key is that you make a concerted effort to move on.

This doesn't mean that you will handle every day perfectly, but as long as you are making conscious decisions to choose healthy options in your life, you will soon be feeling much better and your broken heart will have mended.

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  1. Gračanin A, Bylsma LM, Vingerhoets AJ. Is crying a self-soothing behavior?. Front Psychol. 2014;5:502. Published 2014 May 28. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00502

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