What to do after a breakup: It’s a question every person who has ever ended a relationship has wondered about. Whether you were the one who ended things, it was a mutual decision, or you were broken up with, breakups are painful. No matter what, there’s a grieving process involved.
It’s normal to feel angry, guilty, devastated, or even relieved. It’s also normal to worry about what’s going to happen to your mutual friends (will they take sides?) and wonder if you’ll ever get back together. Regardless of exactly what you’re feeling, one thing’s for sure: Self-care has never been more important.
If you’re going through a breakup, these tips will help you take care of yourself — and hopefully help you feel stronger than ever.
Feel your negative feelings
After a breakup, you might be tempted to avoid your feelings. And that makes sense: Ending a romantic partnership is a lot to process, and it’s painful. But rather than trying to move on to the next relationship as fast as possible or going out with friends every single night, let yourself wallow a little. Feel your feelings. Cry. Mourn the relationship. Breaking up is a big deal! And if you don’t feel your negative feelings now, trust us — they’ll come to find you when you least expect it, and at that point they may be even more painful to deal with.
That being said, a little healthy distraction never hurt anyone
While you should absolutely feel your feelings, getting lost in a healthy distraction can feel really good when you’re going through a breakup. Try picking up a new hobby, learning something new (like a new language or skill), or pursuing new friendships.
Set boundaries around social media
In the old days, when we broke up with someone we really had no way of knowing anything about their lives unless someone told us. That’s not the case in 2022.
Now, with a quick scroll and a few taps, you can find out exactly what your ex-partner is up to: Where they’re hanging out, if they’re traveling, if they seem happy, or if they’re dating someone new. Remember, social media never tells the whole story. Your former partner might be struggling with the breakup quite a bit, but doing everything they can to seem happy on Instagram or TikTok. Hey, maybe you’re doing the same thing!
So set some boundaries around social media. This might mean taking a social media break, unfollowing or unfriending, or muting or hiding them from your feed.
Talk to a mental health expert
After a breakup, seeking out support is crucial. While it’s great if you can surround yourself with friends and family members who lift you up, a mental health expert like a therapist can help provide you with a different level of neutral, unbiased support. They can also help you process and articulate thoughts and feelings in a way your support system (and even your journal!) can’t.
On that note, if you don’t yet have a journaling practice, there’s never been a better time to start. A journal can help you organize your thoughts, and if you’re struggling with depression and anxiety — both very common side effects of a breakup — research has long shown that journaling provides people with tremendous mental health benefits.
Do something you’ve always wanted to do
Take a solo trip. Make a career change. Train for a marathon. If there’s something that’s always been in the back of your mind — something you’ve always said you were going to do — now is the perfect time to do it. Your life is a bit of a blank slate right now, and you only have to factor yourself into your decisions. That’s pretty freeing, if you ask us.
Take mental health days
You might be tempted to power through life right now, but remember: A breakup is no small thing. See if you can carve out time for mental health days, whether that means taking a few sick days or spending a few weekend days prioritizing your mental health. Then, be sure to fill those days with things that make you feel really good: Naps, bubble baths, meditation, the list goes on.
While meditation isn’t always the easiest practice, it’s one of the absolute best things you can do for your mental health. And after a breakup, it can help keep you in the present and stop you from dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.
Move your body
Sure, if you want to train for a marathon you can. But if that’s not for you, don’t sweat it (no pun intended)— simply find a way to move your body that makes you happy. That can mean taking a walk around the block every day, taking a dance cardio class, or moving through a few yoga poses with the help of YouTube. Exercise in any form is amazing for the body and brain, so make this a priority right now.Feeling anxious? Here are 50 things to do to help you feel better right now.