7 Habits That Can Help You Get Over A Breakup Faster, According To Experts
Breakups are just one of those things that are universally terrible: they can be messy, painful, and of course, heartbreaking. Unfortunately, because every relationship, and thus every breakup, is unique, there's no one individual piece of advice that can help you get over a breakup instantly — and it's particularly hard to move on if you were blindsided by the breakup or if you had a whole future planned with your now-ex partner.
"I believe it’s the loss of the dream that you built around the relationship that makes breakups so hard to get over," Lindy Lewis, a Banking from Breakup Coach & Expert who helps women become more powerful, confident, and happier versions of themselves following their breakup, tells Bustle. "Therefore, when the relationship ends, the dream dies and you mourn the loss of the dream. We invest so much emotion into the dream that it’s so hard to let go."
Breakups are difficult and painful, and it's totally OK to take some time to just wallow and mourn the relationship. But at some point, you have to begin the healing process — which, naturally, can seem like a daunting task. Instead of letting yourself get overwhelmed by the thought of all the progress you have yet to make, though, you can start incorporating small changes into your daily routine that, over time, will make a huge difference.
"When you fail to create new routines and daily habits you remain tied to your past," Lewis says. "You become weighted down by your breakup. It consumes you. It keeps you stuck and frustrated. Some of the daily habits I embraced [after my breakup] were meditation, keeping a gratitude journal, doing breathing exercises, diffusing essential oils, reading, affirmations, visualizations, setting daily goals, and brain-training exercises."
Here are seven other little things you can do each day post-breakup to help kickstart the healing process so you feel ready to open your heart to an even bigger and better (and hopefully lasting) love someday.
1. Practice Self-Care
If you're heartbroken, even the simplest tasks — like showering or changing clothes — can feel like a serious obstacle, but the truth is that practicing self-care after a breakup is crucial.
"When your hair is dirty and you’ve been wearing the same pajamas for three days, you’re not going to feel very positive," Amica Graber, relationship expert for TruthFinder, tells Bustle. "Showering or bathing is also an act of self-care. Take the time to wash your hair, light a candle, and give yourself a break. Go and splurge on a new bubble bath or shower gel. Drink a glass of wine and have a bubble bath. It might sound like a basic way to cope with heartbreak, but self-care is sacred."
2. Spend Time On A New Hobby
When you're in a relationship, you get used to spending a lot of your free time with your partner, so when that's suddenly no longer an option, it can be jarring — which is why it's important to take up a new hobby that you can use as a de facto way to fill your time.
"A relationship is a habit, and like any other habit, when you lose it you have to replace it with something else," Graber says. "Take the energy you spent on your ex and put it back into yourself... Find a new hobby. Whatever you do it, make it fulfilling and make it about you."
3. Hang Out With Or Talk To Loved Ones Every Day
It can be tempting to push people away when you're in a bad emotional state, but having daily interaction with at least one person who loves and supports you post-breakup can be a great reminder that you're not alone.
"Spend time with your loved ones," Graber says. "Go out with your friends, spend more time with your family. Try to focus on being present with your loved ones and try not to spend the entire event rehashing the last six months of your late relationship. It's natural to discuss it and vent out your feelings, but talking in circles won't help you heal. Practice gratitude for the love that’s still abundant in your life."
4. Prime Yourself To Think Positive Thoughts
One of the hardest things to do after a breakup is break out of the cycle of negative thoughts you might be having. Try making an active effort to do so, whether that's by repeating a positive mantra to yourself in the mirror each morning or watching motivational videos that put you in a good frame of mind each day.
"When do we usually start thinking about 'that' person? In the morning," says Dan Elias, founder of Motivate, a mental health app that curates motivational videos, tells Bustle. "If the heartbreak is intense, your thoughts may flow there within minutes of opening your eyes. These thoughts will carry over into your day, night, and then the loop repeats again for another day. However, priming your mind with motivational videos about your specific issue can help you gain perspective, every morning."
5. Track Your Thoughts Of Your Ex
It might sound counter-intuitive, but keeping track of how often you think of your ex right after a breakup can actually be helpful (and empowering, too): you'll be able to see, on paper, that you're thinking of them less and less as time goes on.
"Every time you think about that person mark it down," Elias says. "Begin the process of becoming an observer, rather than a participant in your thoughts, thus breaking the habit loop. Over the course of just two weeks, you will notice a dramatic decrease of nagging thoughts about the person. Best of all, you will actually be able to see your progress."
6. Get Moving
"Hit the gym" might be the most cliche piece of breakup advice, but that doesn't mean it doesn't work. It's a healthy way to both distract and empower yourself, plus all the feel-good chemicals released by exercise can make you happier than you might otherwise have been if you stayed on the couch watching TV (although there's nothing wrong with doing a little of that, too).
"[After a breakup], I would recommend exercise, even if it's just light walking, since exercise releases endorphins and can have other positive effects on mood," Julie Williamson, a licensed professional counselor who specializes in helping singles establish healthy dating relationships, tells Bustle.
7. Actively Stamp Out Feelings Of Guilt
When your relationship has recently ended, you're naturally going to spend time reflecting on what went wrong. However, if you notice yourself having overwhelming feelings of guilt, work to reframe those thoughts in a healthy way — like by focusing on how you can apply what you learned from your past relationships to your future ones.
"It’s helpful to reflect on what may have gone wrong in the relationship and ways you can behave differently in future relationships. but allowing yourself to become consumed by feelings of guilt won’t get you anywhere," Caleb Backe, health and wellness expert at Maple Holistics, tells Bustle. "We all make mistakes in life and the best we can do is to learn from our mistakes so that things will be better the next time around."
Will it take time to truly get over a breakup? Of course — but the good news is that, with a little effort, you have the power to speed up the healing process and get back to a happy, healthy place sooner than you might have thought possible.