Healing after a breakup sometimes seems impossible. But if you use this opportunity to to try new things, reconnect with loved ones, and pursue new goals, you can find healthy ways to move forward.
1. Allow Yourself to Grieve
No one enjoys confronting painful emotions, but suppressing your angst simply isn't healthy. Grieving is a natural part of healing after a divorce or breakup. It’s normal to have lots of ups and downs, so identify and acknowledge these feelings. Ignoring the pain of a breakup will only prolong the grieving process. It can help to journal your feelings as a release.
Expressing your feelings can be healthy and helpful, but it's important not to dwell your grief. Remember that your ultimate goal is to heal and move on.
2. "Date" Your Friends
When a romantic relationship ends, your schedule opens up. Don't use your newfound free time to isolate yourself and wallow in self-pity! Start making plans with your friends.
Fill your time with social activities. Reach out to friends and organize activities and reunions. They will appreciate the fun outing you've organized and you'll keep your spirits up by feeling useful and connected.
3. Revive an Old Hobby or Pick up a New One
Don't waste mental energy dissecting every nuance of your failed relationship. Instead learn something new or improve a skill you already have.
Throw yourself into a hobby. If you've neglected a certain hobby you used to have, start pursuing it again. If you feel ready for something new, sign up for lessons or start reading up activities that interest you.
4. Get Some Sunshine
Spending time outdoors is a natural mood booster. Some physiologists include outdoor activity as part of a treatment plan for depression. You can enjoy the great outdoors with a variety of activities. A few ideas:
- Plan a picnic or barbecue with friends.
- Join an outdoor fitness boot camp or yoga class.
- Go hiking at a local nature preserve.
- Attend an outdoor concert or performance.
- Take your dog to the dog park or for walks around your neighborhood.
Healing after a breakup doesn't need to be all about you! Contributing to a worthy cause will brighten your day. Plus focusing on others will provide you with a welcomed distraction from your broken heart.
When looking for a volunteer opportunity, consider your interests and natural gifts. For example, if you love kids and are a math wiz, volunteer tutoring would be a perfect fit. You can find volunteer opportunities by visiting Volunteer Match. Find a cause you're passionate about and lend a helping hand!
When you engage in a physical activity, your brain receives a surge of feel-good neurochemicals called endorphins. Endorphins give you a natural high that will leave you feeling more positive and refreshed. Exercise can also give your confidence a boost. People that work out regularly tend to have higher levels of self-efficacy and body confidence.
Amp up the natural high of exercise by trying a new workout. Our brains love to engage in new and novel activities. Not to mention trying new things will give you the chance to meet new people. Go ahead and join a running club or sign up for an adult gymnastics class!
7. Eat Feel-good Foods
Did you know nutrition can affect your mood? Skip the post-breakup junk food binge and load your diet with these healthy mood-boosting foods:
- Fatty fish, like salmon
- Green tea
- Dark chocolate (yum!)
8. Set a Goal and Go for It!
Instead of focusing on the past or searching for a new relationship, pursue a goal. Reflect on different areas of your life and find a goal you've been putting off. It could be a fitness goal, a career goal, or a personal development goal like learning a new language. A breakup can be the perfect time to reevaluate different areas of your life and make a pivot toward a new chapter.
9. Be Thankful
You don't have to be grateful for your ex, but there are plenty of things to be thankful for. Academic research has linked gratitude to a plethora of benefits including heart health, better sleep, stronger personal relationships and an improved sense of wellbeing.
If you have a hard time practicing gratitude, journaling can help. Set aside 15 minute a day to write down at least three things you're grateful for. You might be surprised how easy it is to give thanks!