9 Tips to help you cope in the early stages of a breakup
Jan 03, 2021
Monday 4th January 2021 – the Christmas decorations are packed away again for another year, you’re back at work – albeit from home - and the kids are home schooling again. It’s back to earth with a bump amid the tougher lockdown restrictions.
The first Monday in January has traditionally been dubbed Divorce Day. It’s the day when solicitors return to work after the Christmas break and find themselves swamped with enquiries from people wanting to end their marriage.
January can be a struggle for all of us – emotionally and financially. Couples who have previously been unhappy in their relationship often decide to wait until after the Christmas break before they take any action – especially if there are kids involved. Some hope that spending the Christmas period together will help them to reconnect - only to find that it proves to be the final straw for their relationship.
If your relationship has just ended you will be grieving the end of that relationship – even if it was your decision to end it. Divorce is the second most traumatic event that you can go through in your lifetime, second only to the death of a loved one. It’s totally normal to experience a whole rollercoaster of emotions such as upset, anger, shock, denial and overwhelm.
If you’re in the early stages of a breakup, here are 9 Tips to help you cope:
- Find support from a friend or family member – It’s really important that you have someone to turn to when you’re feeling low or struggling – which will happen. Think carefully about who you choose to rely on. Often our closest friends and family are too close and invested in the situation to be objective. They won’t necessarily give you the best advice even though their heart will be in the right place. Ask your person up front if it’s ok to call them when you need to - so that you don’t feel like you’re bothering them at the time when you need them most.
- Get clarity on your finances – A divorce normally means an increase in overall expenses as a result of another property and the associated costs of that. Alongside this the existing assets are shared between the couple which can make finances tight. Take some time to look at the new income and outgoings so that you have clarity over your financial situation. Even if you don’t like the situation, at least if you have the clarity, you can take actions towards changing it. If possible, see a Financial Advisor who will be able to support you and many don’t charge for an initial meeting.
- Engage a solicitor – if you feel this is needed. Make sure you see at least 2-3 initially to find one that you gel with. You’ll be sharing a lot of personal information with them, so you need to feel comfortable with them. Also make sure that you ask about a likely cost to make sure it’s within your budget. Don’t forget that there are other options for divorce that can be less expensive, especially if it's amicable between you.
- Don’t ignore your feelings – as I’ve already said you will be grieving the end of your relationship. Allow yourself to experience your emotions which is necessary as part of the healing process. Yes, it’s awful – but you need to go through this to be able to move on. Don’t try and avoid your emotions by working long hours and losing yourself in work, partying hard or turning to drink or drugs.
- Take off the rose-tinted glasses – It’s only natural that we romanticise our relationship – especially if we didn’t want it to end. But be honest with yourself – what was wrong with it? What frustrated you, upset you or annoyed you about your ex? Write a list of all the things you weren’t happy with and keep it to hand for those moments when you find yourself upset.
- Take a break from social media – and as a minimum at least unfollow your ex. The last thing you need to see is posts from them showing what an amazing time they’re seemingly having. A lot of social media isn’t real - people only post the parts of their life that they want you to see. Take a break altogether if you can. It’s time to focus on yourself and your healing.
- Exercise – This is probably the last thing that you feel like doing at the moment, but it really does make such a difference. It releases all those endorphins which creates the ‘feel good factor’. Exercise was my saviour during my divorce. I would drive to the gym in tears but come out feeling so much better after. Choose an exercise that you love – even if it’s just a walk outside in nature – just get your body moving. Enlist the support of an exercise buddy so that you’ve got someone to motivate you on those days when you really can’t be bothered – which will happen.
- Watch your inner critic – it’s only natural that we can be hard on ourselves after a breakup – especially if it wasn’t our decision. We can end up asking ourselves questions such as ‘what’s wrong with me?’ or ‘Why aren’t I good enough?’ Our brain is programmed to come up with an answer when we ask a question so, try and stop yourself asking negative questions like these. Instead come up with some positive affirmations that you can say to yourself throughout the day or stick up around the house to remind you.
- Practice self-care – This is more important than ever and doesn’t necessarily mean a pampering session. What does self-care mean to you? It could be having a cuppa whilst reading your book, going for a run or a yoga class or taking a bath surrounded by candles. Listen to your body and what it needs. Remember that self-care is not selfish. We need to look after ourselves before we can look after anyone else, especially at times like these.
If you’ve just come out of a relationship, things will still be extremely raw for you and you’ll be experiencing a whole range of emotions. It’s a really difficult and traumatic time and sometimes we just need to ask for help to get through it – especially in the early stages. If you’re struggling to cope after your breakup, there are a range of options available to you such as talking to your doctor, counselling or divorce coaching as well as support in free Facebook groups online.
It may not seem like it at the moment – but you will get through this and there are better times to come.
If you’d like to join my free Facebook group – The Breakup and Divorce Lounge you can do so here: https://bit.ly/thebreakupanddivorcelounge
It’s a group of women all in the same situation who are there to support and encourage each other during this difficult stage of their lives. It’s a place to find hope, healing and happiness after your breakup.