Monday, February 8, 2010
How to Cope with a Break-Up: Breaking Up Gracefully, Part 2
When you break up, what you really need is tips on how to cope with your break-up. You may feel like you've been shot straight to hell in a hand basket, and we need to redirect that flight. Below, I describe several tips you can follow to ease the pain and break up as gracefully as possible. This is not a comprehensive list, but these are some useful universal principles. I have watched countless clients of mine heal by using some of these very principles.
Stop all contact with your ex. Not necessarily forever, but at least for a while until you accept that the relationship really is over. We have all ended relationships where we turn to our ex to heal the pain of the loss, but what it does is prolong the pain. One of the things I find myself saying to my clients constantly is "sit with it." It is much easier to act out on negative feelings, but sitting with them and accepting that we are upset is what we need to do the most.
Change something in your daily routine when you are ready to do so. When you break up, there are reminders everywhere of the love you had that is now gone. This is a great time to start going to a new place for coffee, change gyms, or reconnect with an old friend. I believe that changing things in your 'physical scenery' helps to change what I call your 'emotional scenery,' or how you feel.
Write! Write! Write! Even for those of you who would rather chew nails than keep a journal, now is the time to do it. Trying new things is one of the best ways to get you out of your existing mindset. When you are sad, angry, or feel empty, just write it down. It is really helpful to put it on paper because it helps to organize your thoughts and feelings in your mind.
Treat yourself well with positive, self-care rituals. Get a massage, take warm baths, rock yourself to sleep, and say soothing things to yourself out loud. This may sound silly, but I would be shocked if you didn't feel at least a TINY bit better after doing it.
Flock to those you love and trust. Ask yourself who are your main social supports- the people you go to in time of need. Ask them if you can have a 'date' once per week where you get together and do something fun. You need something to look forward to, and spending time with a friend or relative is one of the best ways to soothe yourself during this terribly difficult time.
The next two essays in this series will help you further along the road to healing and recovery from a broken heart. I know it's hard, but things usually do get better.