Going through a breakup can be heartbreaking and devastating, especially if it's not something you wanted, or you didn't see it coming. A breakup does not define you, it's something that happened to you. It's not who you are.
It's important to take all the time you need to heal and this is different for everyone. At some point you'll be ready to let go of the past and to start moving on with your life. It can be an opportunity to reassess your life and create a new future, one where you're even happier than before. So much growth can come from the challenges and adversities we face in life if we're willing to reflect and learn from them.
So here are 10 tips to help you reclaim your happiness and thrive after your breakup:
1.Take the time to heal
Divorce or the breakup of a long term relationship is the second most stressful event you can go through in your lifetime, second only to the death of a loved one, so it’s important to take the time to process your emotions and heal properly so that you can move on. It may feel uncomfortable but try to sit with your emotions when they come up. Don’t use distraction techniques such as working long hours, partying hard or self-medicating with drugs or alcohol or your emotions will just come back to bite you in the long run.
2.Surround yourself with people who light you up and make you feel good about yourself
Studies in Positive Psychology have shown that emotions are contagious. We’re wired to mimic the facial expressions and moods of the people we’re with. When you’re going through your breakup surround yourself with people who light you up and make you feel good about yourself. Their positivity will rub off on you. Limit your time spent with people who just want to hear the ins and outs of what’s going on in your life – that just reconnects you with all the negative emotions.
3.Practice gratitude daily
Gratitude directly increases your happiness levels and is a great way to improve your mood. It calms the mind and reduces all the negative emotions you may be feeling. It’s a powerful way of getting your brain to focus on more positive things. Keep a list of 3 things you are grateful for every day for at least 3 weeks, and you’ll start to notice a difference in how you feel.
4.Focus on your health.
This is crucial when you’re going through a breakup and you’re under a lot of stress and emotional turmoil. Try and exercise every day, even if it’s just getting outside for a 10-minute walk. Nourish your body with good quality food and make sure you get enough sleep. If you’re struggling with sleep, then try and get into a good bedtime routine. Make sure you’re giving yourself enough time to rest and restore so that your body can recover from all the stress. If this doesn’t come naturally to you then plan the time in your diary.
5.Brainstorm what makes you happy.
We can lose sight of what brings us joy and happiness when we’re going through a breakup, especially if we’ve been in a difficult relationship. Take the time to reconnect with the following: What do you love doing? What makes you laugh? Who do you love to be with? What have you always wanted to do? What couldn’t you do when you were in your relationship? Start to actively plan some of these activities into your day and week and notice how your happiness starts to increase.
This is especially important when we’re going through a traumatic time in our lives such as a breakup. In times like this it’s easy to start criticising ourselves and being negative – telling ourselves we’re a failure and not good enough etc. What we actually need, is forgiveness, gentleness and compassion. Self-compassion means showing ourselves the same level of compassion that we would to someone else and that we look after ourselves. Ask yourself: ‘How do I feel right now and what do I need?’
7.Look at the learnings and the silver linings
There are always silver linings in any situation and a breakup is no different, even though you may not be able to imagine what they might be. This exercise helps you to change your outlook on a negative situation and looking for the bright side which will help you to develop a healthier and more balanced perspective. What good has come out of your divorce? No matter how small, there will be something. What have you learnt from the situation? What strengths have you developed as a result of it? What learnings can you take forward to your future life and relationships?
Of yourself and your ex and the part each of you had to play in your breakup. This doesn’t mean forgetting, condoning or excusing a transgression. Forgiveness is something that you do for yourself, not for the other person. It helps to reduce the levels of psychological distress and release all the negative toxic emotions that you may be carrying. This negative energy can harm your health in the long run whilst the person you need to forgive is carrying on their life regardless. Writing a letter to your ex, that you don’t give to them, can be helpful in processing this and helping you to let go and move on.
9.Create a Breakup Bucket List
One of the most difficult things when you’re going through a breakup is imagining what your future will look like without your ex and this can be overwhelming, especially if it’s not something you wanted. Take some time to visualise what your ideal life would look like and get really specific. This helps you to identify what you really want and then you can start working towards it. Create your Breakup Bucket List of everything you want to do and achieve and make sure there are lots of things on there that bring you joy and happiness.
10.Set yourself goals
Going through a breakup can be overwhelming. Your life’s been turned upside down and the future you thought you had has been ripped away from you. There are also all the practical challenges of going through the breakup itself. Set yourself some goals that you can work towards which will help to give you some focus and a sense of achievement. Don’t worry about focusing too far into the future at this point in time.
These are just some of the tools and techniques I teach in my coaching program Better than Before.
I support you with the practical and emotional challenges of your breakup so that you can Recover, Rebuild and Reclaim a future you're excited to wake up to and where you feel happier and stronger than ever before. If you'd like to know more about how coaching could support you then you can book a free 20 minute clarity call here: https://calendly.com/sarahlwoodward/clarity-call