Many people seek advice on what to do or not do after a breakup to help them “get back out there” or simply “move on.” As most know from first-hand experience, the reality is that it’s significantly more complicated. What you decide to do immediately after a breakup is crucial and can affect your self-worth, health and even your existing friendships and relationships. There is no secret formula to help you heal, as each breakup is unique, but there are a few universal tips that can set you up for a happier future.

What Not To Do

First off, here’s what you should avoid doing. Try not to avoid plans with your friends or family. They love you and often know how to cheer you up. This isn’t the best time to wallow and be alone. Being with people you trust can help immensely when you are missing the ex.

No Communication!

If there’s ever a proper time for ghosting, that’s now, and you’ll thank yourself later for doing it. Assuming you don’t share dogs or children, do yourself a favor and cut off all forms of contact with your ex. At this point in time, you may be extremely vulnerable, and the chances of backsliding are highest in the first few months of a split. If you decide that you are done, then be done. And, yes, this includes social media lurking. Do not check their Instagram, Facebook or even their Spotify — any other kind of feed to see who they might be commenting on or what posts they are liking. It seems harmless, but this will keep you stuck in the past, reminding you of the picture-perfect couple that probably only existed on Instagram. As hard as this may be now, it will help you move on so much faster in the long run.

Healthy Distractions and Self Care

Let’s talk about self-care. Working out or going on a trip to go visit family may sound like some of the last things you want to do right after a breakup; however, healthy distractions like these may actually be the best thing you can do for yourself in this time. The countless hours, and energy, you spent on your ex can now be put toward bettering yourself. Have you ever spent an entire day cleaning your house, checking things off your to-do lists, and then proceed to have the best night of sleep knowing that you took care of every obligation? Truly focusing on yourself and taking care of what you need can have the same effect. Try something new or do something you love — it doesn’t matter so much what it is, but if you are focusing on yourself, then you are taking care of yourself.

Self-reflection and Alone Time

This one might be the hardest of all. Spending time with friends, going to the gym more often and even unfollowing your ex are all very tangible actions, but letting yourself feel (and letting go) is an entirely unique part of the process. In the first few days and weeks of a breakup, you might be going through a combination of emotions – from angry to sad to relieved or confused. Acknowledge your feelings, feel them and then let them pass. Do not judge yourself, but do try to understand yourself. Try to remember why you broke up in the first place, and use that to help keep you grounded in times of loneliness. You will be reminded of your ex and adjustments like sleeping alone at night might make you feel like you need them. This exact feeling is often what drives people to go back to their exes or seek out other partners soon after a breakup, because “missing” someone is often mistaken for the feeling of missing a companion, rather than that individual in particular. However, think long and hard before rushing into another relationship for those reasons. It’s super important to grieve and be angry. Do whatever you need to do to allow yourself heal. It’s essential to be comfortable with being on your own for at least a short while. The more you can keep it real within, the better off you will be for your next relationship.

At this point in time how you are feeling has nothing to do with them and everything to do with you. Even though may be struggling and aren’t sure how things could ever go up from here, remind yourself that you do have control to turn things around. Bring your confidence and independence back; this is how you will become happy again by yourself and eventually, be ready to be with someone who is right for you. There’s nothing wrong with a little “fake it ‘til you make it.” Making small adjustments to your mindset and your actions will get you one step closer to healing, moving on and preparing yourself for a more healthy relationship in the future. 

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