How To Feel Better After a Breakup: 10 Realistic Ways

About six months after the split, you've gotten back to being yourself and have even started dating again. But now you're grieving over him at three in the morning. People who have gone through a breakup frequently endure brief episodes of melancholy, demonstrating how overpowering it may get. The aftermath of a breakup can leave either party feeling unhappy, lonely, and bewildered, regardless of who caused the split.

If you have been moping around for a while, you may start to wonder how to feel better after a breakup. It may seem that there's no way out, and the feelings of loss and grief may often get overwhelming. There are, however, solutions that might help you recover and move on.

Why Are Some Breakups So Hard?

Dr. Jessica Stern, psychologist, and mental health researcher at the University of Virginia, explains that humans are wired to form strong bonds with other people — what researchers call attachment. Stern elaborates on John Bowlby’s comments: “The price we pay for love is grief when that love is lost,” saying that, in other words, “we grieve because we love.” 

As such, Stern notes, it is expected that when we break up with someone to whom we’re attached, the dissolution of that attachment bond is painful. The pain of separation and loss is deeply rooted in our evolution as human beings; it’s nothing to be ashamed of. The depth of our grief often reveals the depth of our capacity to care for other people. But it can also bring up insecurities and negative beliefs about oneself; in fact, research shows that attachment insecurity and depressive symptoms tend to spike following a breakup. 

Why Are There Feelings of Loss After a Breakup?

Breakups, according to Stern, are a type of loss: we lose a relationship as it once was. As a result, grieving the loss of a relationship is expected, as are the numerous emotions that come with it: rage, disbelief, numbness, melancholy, and, in some situations, relief or a sense of independence. These feelings can come and go in waves, and their evolution is not linear; each person going through a break-up reacts differently, on their own timeline, based on their individual relationship experiences. 

Relationships in which you have invested feel more like a more significant loss, with a more extended mourning period. In addition, Lisa Lawless, a psychotherapist specializing in clinical psychology, sexual health, and nutrition, notes that there are often other factors that can exacerbate the emotional upheaval of a breakup. For example, the social stigma around being single or the fear of being alone can add to the stress already present. If the relationship ended on bad terms, it could be challenging to process intense emotions such as rejection, betrayal, or anger.

10 Best Tips for Moving on After a Breakup

Wondering how to feel better after a breakup? While moving on may seem impossible, especially after a tough breakup, you can still do some things to make the process easier. The most important thing to do in such moments is to cut yourself a lot of slack. Don't let others define how your grief and progress should look like. Take the time you need to grieve before you can finally move on. That said, here are 10 ways to feel better after a breakup:

1. Embrace Your Emotions and Healing Process

As was mentioned before, it's normal to feel a wide range of emotions after a breakup. It's crucial to admit that you're feeling this way and to permit yourself to immerse yourself in the emotion totally. Avoiding or stuffing your feelings might make the healing process more difficult or perhaps cause further damage. Don't suppress your feelings; allow yourself to feel and deal with them when they arise.

2. Get Help From Loved Ones

There's a natural tendency to retreat from friends and family after a split. Nonetheless, this may worsen your symptoms in the long run. You should instead seek comfort from those close to you. Hang out with those that lift your spirits and provide you with support when you need to vent your frustrations. Share your feelings with others to get perspective, decrease feelings of isolation, and start the healing process.

You may also like: Going Through a Relationship Breakup? : 7 Positive Things To Do

3. Avoid Unhealthy Habits

You could be inclined to develop harmful habits as a coping method. Since you are typically too exhausted to do anything else, that is usually the easiest course to follow. However, you should avoid drinking and other hazardous behaviors. In the short run, it could seem like a way to get away, but you won't look back and be grateful. Instead, look for methods to rediscover yourself and pursue your passions.

4. Focus On Self-care and Self-compassion

Avoid lingering on negative thoughts and instead focus on what you have learned from the relationship and how you can utilize that knowledge to grow and build a better future for yourself. Additionally, consider obtaining professional counseling if you're battling with despair or anxiety in the aftermath of a breakup. Sleep well, eat healthily, and exercise frequently. It is also possible to reduce tension and increase relaxation through self-care activities like having a bubble bath, receiving a massage, or engaging in yoga.

5. Do Things That Bring You Joy and Make You Feel Alive

According to Stern, “In the wake of a breakup, it’s common to feel like a part of the self has been stripped away, or to believe that you are incomplete without your partner.” But the reality is you are complete and worthy as you are, and you are not alone with your pain. Seek out friends, places, and pleasures that rekindle your sense of wholeness; invest in interests, activities, goals, and passions you might’ve pursued before (and perhaps neglected during) the relationship.' 

Stern says this could mean inviting a friend to play basketball, cooking dinner with extended family, making art, or playing music. Through pleasure, play, and connection with friends and family who can offer support, you have the power to move on after a breakup. 

Portrait of a cheerful woman eating ice cream in cone while visiting famous Navona square near fountain in Rome. Concept of happy summer vacations, traveling famous italian landmarks
Image Credit: Shutterstock

6. Take Social Media Break

After ending a romantic relationship, staying off social media as much as possible is in your best interest. It may be difficult to move on from a past relationship when confronted with reminders of it, such as photos or status updates posted by an ex or their friends. Instead, you might think about taking a break from social media entirely or unfollowing or blocking your ex and their friends and families on the platform.

7. Accept Change

Investing time and effort in bettering yourself after a breakup is healthy. You might decide to participate in a personal development course, read some self-help books, or find a meaningful volunteer opportunity that enables you to learn more and serve others as a way to get help on this route. Most importantly, you will advance on your journey toward personal development if you are resilient to and accepting of the change.

8. Practice Gratitude and Mindfulness

Even amid a painful breakup, there are still things to be grateful for. Take time each day to reflect on what you're thankful for – whether it's your health, your job, or the support of loved ones. Practicing gratitude can boost your mood, reduce anxiety, and even improve your physical fitness according to a Harvard study. Aim to approach everything with an open, accepting, and discerning mind. Relish the little things in life.

9. Forgive

Recognize that you were never meant to be with them. Do not waste your time harboring resentment over whatever it is that they may have done to you. They were acting in accordance with their own motivations. Whether you accept these justifications or not, it doesn't change anything. You should move on.

10. Work on Your Self-esteem

It's typical to start analyzing your appearance and character features, wondering what could possibly be wrong with you so that your spouse would initiate the breakup. Invert your thinking, to put it another way. Instead of dwelling on the negative ones, think about the positive characteristics you do have and what you brought to the relationship.

How Can I Maintain a Positive Relationship With My Ex After a Breakup?

Stern's advice is to give and take space. She explains that even if you want to maintain a relationship with your ex, you first need time to process the loss of the old relationship and be intentional about what you want in a new chapter with this person. What are the boundaries that will best safeguard your own and your ex’s well-being? How frequently do you want to see one another, and in what contexts? How much do you want to know (or not) about potential new partners? You and your ex may have different needs and expectations; it can be helpful to have an honest conversation about what you both want as you transition from romance to friendship. 

You may also like: How To Stop Cheating On Your Partner: 10 Ways That Work

If you two work together, do what it takes to keep things professional. If you and your ex parted ways amicably and just grew apart, remaining friendly after the breakup may be possible. But if there's still a lot of bad blood between you two, it’s best not to stay in touch. Do not underestimate the power of silence after a breakup. Sometimes the healthiest option is to cut ties with romantic partners.

How Long Does It Take To Get Over a Breakup?

According to Lawless, seven main factors impact how one will move on from a relationship.

  • Your recovery will be based on
  • The depth of your emotional attachment to your ex
  • The length of time you were together
  • If you had closure
  • The level of your resilience to stress and adversity
  • Support systems, like friends and family
  • Your emotional intelligence
  • The degree of willingness to accept the end of the relationship

Stern adds that getting over a breakup varies from person to person. If the relationship was short, casual, or lacked emotional intimacy, it may take only a month or two to get over a breakup. If the relationship is long-lasting, meaningful, or incredibly intimate, it may take much longer. Be patient with yourself.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Amaka Chukwuma is a freelance content writer with a BA in linguistics. As a result of her insatiable curiosity, she writes in various B2C and B2B niches. Her favorite subject matter, however, is in the financial, health, and technological niches. She has contributed to publications like Buttonwood Tree and FinanceBuzz in the past and currently writes for Wealth of Geeks.