Breakups can be overwhelming. You tend to get angry at yourself or your ex, have negative thoughts, feel lonely, and might resort to things that give you instant gratification. You also feel as though the whole world is against you and begin to have trust issues. And if you are the one who got dumped, you could enter the cycle of self-pity and self-blame.
Getting over a breakup can take weeks or months, depending on how long you were in the relationship or how close you were with the other person. The pain that you go through after a breakup can drain you emotionally and physically, dent your confidence, and even make you question your worth.
That said, the good news is that a breakup is not a failure and not the end of the world but could be an opportunity to have a fresh look at your life. Read on as we tell you a few ways to get over a breakup.
What Happens When We Go Through A Breakup?
A study published in the Journal of Neurophysiology states that the area in the brain that is activated after a breakup is the same part that is associated with cocaine craving (1). Another study conducted by Kross Ethan, et al. has shown that social rejection (including breakups) and physical pain affect common areas of the brain. In short, a breakup not only hurts but also could lead to various ‘physical pain disorders’ (2).
These studies prove that a breakup can be tough to manage and control and can affect both your mental and physical health. Therefore, you should make conscious efforts to come out of it at the earliest.
30 Ways To Get Over A Breakup
1. Accept your feelings.
The worst thing that you could do after a breakup is to suppress your feelings. Remember that it is normal for you to experience rejection, anger, sadness, regret, fear, frustration, or shame after a breakup. Process your feelings and give them free rein. In other words, cry your heart out, wallow in self-pity, or yell at the wall.
2. Cut off all ties with your ex.
This is one of the first steps to healing after a breakup. No matter how strong the temptation, distance yourself completely from your ex, both physically and digitally. You could start by unfollowing them on social media, deleting their number on your phone, and avoiding places that they frequent.
3. Take it slow.
Healing takes time and patience, and there is no set time frame for how long it will take you to get over a breakup. Different people process feelings differently and at their own pace. Do not put pressure on yourself to heal faster. Instead, give yourself a break and let things take their own course.
4. Revamp your space.
Spend a day or two tidying up your room. You could rearrange furniture, bring in some fresh plants or flowers, paint your room in a different color, etc. And most importantly, declutter your ex’s stuff, such as clothes and toothbrushes, anything that is likely to remind you of them.
5. Talk to a friend.
Talk to a friend who had gone through a similar experience. Listening to their story could give you a new perspective and help you manage your breakup better. Also, pouring your heart out to a supportive friend can be therapeutic.
6. Dial your grandma or favorite aunt.
Call your grandma or aunt. They can give you the most sensible advice on how to get over your breakup. After all, they have been there and gone through it all when it comes to relationships and breakups. Better still, go and spend your weekends at their place and enjoy being pampered.
7. Write down your thoughts.
Make a list of the things that the relationship has taught you, the compromises that you had to make, and the things that didn’t work for you. Spend time in self-reflection and be honest while writing down your feelings. You could also write an honest letter to your ex—do not post it, though.
8. Listen to sad songs.
This may sound absurd, but a study conducted on 772 participants states that “listening to sad music can lead to beneficial emotional effects such as regulation of negative emotion and mood as well as a consolation (3).” So, go ahead and create your breakup playlist.
9. Stay off social media.
Stay off social media for a while after a breakup. This could prevent you from venting your grievances on the public platform, which can be embarrassing in the long run. And more importantly, seeing your ex’s post or pictures of happy couples can only aggravate your pain.
10. Keep yourself busy at home.
Spend some alone time doing things you love. Grab that book wanted to read, try a new recipe, meditate, get a pet, or plant some vegetables in your backyard. Do things that you love and were not able to do when you were with your ex.
11. Socialize with like-minded people.
The “me time” in the initial days after a breakup can do wonders for you. However, overdoing it can have repercussions. Make dinner plans, go shopping, or attend a stand-up comedy show with friends. And, yes, remember to stick to friends who don’t judge you and who you are comfortable with.
12. Find a new hobby.
Redirect your focus and negative energy into a new hobby. Try out something exciting, such as learning a new language, joining a yoga or Zumba class, or learning to play a musical instrument. You could also take up physical activities, such as jogging/running and boxing, to crush those negative feelings.
13. Maintain a routine.
Follow a new routine and organize your day focusing on self-care. Also, try to establish a routine that doesn’t remind you of them. For instance, you could start waking up early if you were used to waking up late when you were together. Small adjustments such as this could go a long way.
14. Spend time outdoors.
Spend a couple of hours outdoors every day. Besides the several health benefits that it offers, it could also improve your mood (4) and help you reduce stress. Go for a walk, go cycling, or just grab your camera and capture the world around you.
15. Engage in community service.
Get involved in volunteering and channel your time and energy into helping others. You could volunteer at a nursing home, an animal shelter, a school, a library, or playschool. This could help you overcome your feelings of loneliness, stress, anger, depression, etc., and make you feel more socially connected.
16. Do not start dating again just yet.
You could be tempted to fill that void left by your ex. But, before you start dating again, make sure that you are not doing it for the sake of it. Start meeting new people after you know you have gotten over your ex and are emotionally ready. Give it at least a couple of months, especially if you are the one who was dumped.
17. Revenge is not the answer.
After a breakup, the tendency to seek revenge is strong, and you want to prove a point and feel good. But don’t do it. Seeking revenge will only make you feel more bitter and slow your healing process. Take revenge by becoming a happier person and a better version of yourself.
18. Do not bad-mouth your ex.
Do not speak ill of your ex after a breakup. It could reflect poorly on you and not them, and you could be seen as someone immature. It could even push your friends away from you because no one likes being around a negative person. But if you can’t resist the urge, you have your diary.
19. Do not give in to addictive substances.
Avoid using alcohol and other addictive substances as a coping mechanism after a breakup. These can only help alleviate pain momentarily. But they will compound the negative feelings, interfere with your ability to make sensible decisions, and affect your sleep.
20. Be kind to yourself.
Do not be too hard on yourself over a breakup. Stop blaming yourself over what could have been because it can only aggravate the negative feelings and make you feel miserable. Be kind to yourself and try talking to yourself like you would talk to a friend who is in a similar situation.
21. Practice meditation and yoga.
Meditation and yoga offer a plethora of benefits. But, most importantly, they help you reduce stress and develop self-awareness, which are the cornerstones of healing after a breakup. You could consider joining some classes or just download an app.
22. Give yourself a makeover.
Once you are done with the wallowing, go out and get a bold look. You could get a new haircut, dye your hair, stock up on clothes and accessories, get a piercing—the options are endless. However, just keep that getting-a-tattoo idea for later, that is, until you are completely healed.
23. Explore the city or countryside.
Visit a new museum, library, or park every day. You could also explore the street food in your city, review the coolest cafes and restaurants, or book yourself a deluxe hotel room for the weekend. And if the busy city life doesn’t appeal to you, then take a car ride to the countryside with a couple of friends.
24. Get enough sleep.
Breakups are stressful, and stress could lead to sleep disorders. Ensure you get your regular hours of sleep every night. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, and cut down on alcohol, caffeine, and screen time. You could also try meditation before going to sleep.
25. Eat healthy.
The stress after a breakup is known to decrease your appetite in the short term, increase your appetite in the long term, and affect your food choices, leading you to take foods high in sugar and fat (5). Try to maintain a regular eating schedule and include a lot of heart-healthy foods in your diet.
26. Get a pet
Pets make loyal companions. They can help you cope with stress and anxiety and make you feel less lonely. Owning a pet is also known to decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and feelings of loneliness and increase opportunities for outdoor activities and socialization (6).
“Laughter is the tonic, the relief, the surcease for pain.” —Charlie Chaplin
Laughter can be one of the best antidotes to a broken heart. Studies have proven that laughter can decrease anxiety and reduce stress levels (7) (8). You could watch some comedy movies, join a comedy club in your city, or spend time with friends who make you laugh.
28. Focus on your career.
After you have passed that phase of anger, guilt, stress, sadness, etc., try to focus all your energy into a project that you wanted to try or learn a new skill at work. Besides distracting you from the breakup, this could also improve your self-esteem and make you believe in your worth.
29. Try therapy.
If, despite all your efforts, you still feel miserable, you could consider seeking therapy. A therapist or counselor could provide you a safe space to process your thoughts and feelings. They could also give you a perspective different from those offered by your friends and loved ones.
Practice forgiveness. Forgive the other person, and, more importantly, yourself. It doesn’t mean you need to reconcile with your ex. Just let go of your anger and negative feelings, accept that everything happens for a good cause, learn from the experience, and look forward to a new beginning.
Getting over a breakup takes time, and the time it takes to heal depends on the type of the relationship, the reason for the breakup, and the person’s coping strategies. We hope these practical tips help you heal faster and find true love.
2. Ethan Kross, et al.; Social rejection shares somatosensory representations with physical pain; National Academy of Sciences (2010).
3. Liila Taruffi and Stefan Koelsch; The Paradox of Music-Evoked Sadness: An Online Survey; PLOS ONE (2014).
4. A prescription for better health: go alfresco; Harvard Health Publishing – Harvard Medical School
5. Why stress causes people to overeat; Harvard Health Publishing – Harvard Medical School
6. About Pets & People – Healthy Pets, Healthy People; CDC
7. Melike Demir Doğan; The Effect of Laughter Therapy on Anxiety: A Meta-analysis; Holistic Nursing Practice (2016).
8. JongEun Yim; Therapeutic Benefits of Laughter in Mental Health: A Theoretical Review; The Tohoku journal of experimental medicine (2016).