When the pain is so fresh from a breakup, it is normal to be reaching for anything that can help us to feel better. However, we often tend to reach for something that causes us to feel more pain- whether that be stalking an ex on social media because we miss them, turning to unhealthy foods or substances to numb out, and/or completely isolating ourselves in order to cope with hard feelings. If you have done (or are) doing these things, this is common and it makes sense. We do what we feel we know how to do in order to cope with hard feelings that we are forced to confront after such a big loss in our lives. If you are coping in ways similar to the examples above, I want to provide you with three quick, helpful steps that can point you in the direction of starting to move forward after a breakup.
1.Delete social media for 60 days
Social media can be extremely toxic after a relationship. It can be a place where we spend large quantities of time on trying to see what our ex is doing, who they are hanging out with and trying to get any clue into how they might be feeling. Almost always we do not find what we are hoping to find. People often do not show their authentic self on social media- so we do not get to truly see their inner thoughts, their day-to-day or how they are coping with certain emotions. Spending time on social media can bring up more negative thoughts and actually contributes to spending more time consumed by your ex and the past instead of focusing inward in order to feel better. A sixty-day hiatus from all social media platforms has been shown to be effective in allowing more time to reflect and do things for you, instead of spending energy focused outward and consumed by negative thoughts and feelings about your breakup.
2.Commit to a new self-care habit for one month
Studies show that implementing a new habit takes some time to do. Whenever we are trying to heal or move forward from any hard feelings, it is so important to get in touch with certain activities that make us feel better. This could be things such as a workout, tea at night before bed, walking outside more often, creating a playlist you like and listening when you are sad, etc. Big or small, it is important to start to understand what kinds of things help us to feel more grounded and then begin to do them more regularly. Pick one thing that does this for you and commit to doing it for a month. Not only will it allow you to be intentional about moving forward, but if you can do it consistently for a month it may become a habit that you continue even once you start to feel better. If we want to feel better, we need to change the things that we do daily in order to start that process.
3.Call a therapist
There is a reason that therapy is becoming more normalized and less stigmatized in the recent years. It can be really difficult and feel scary to take that first step and find a therapist if you have never done it before, but it can be a powerful and profound space that is just for you. It is a place where you can talk about whatever feels present with someone who has the education, knowledge and experience to guide you through tough feelings and help you navigate the heaviness of a breakup. We cannot do things alone and it is okay to reach out for help when we are struggling. Finding a therapist that is a good fit can be a great step towards feeling both supported and connected during a tough time in life.