Self-Care Journal

Top tips on how to get through a breakup

Breakups suck, there’s no sugar-coating it

Before I (Nathalie) started Self Cared, I went through a very difficult breakup myself (you can read more about that here).
I learned that the journey is not linear, it’s ups and downs and everything in between. But with time and compassion, things will get better, ever so slowly, step by step.

In this post, I’m sharing my personal top tips on how to get through a breakup.


Set boundaries

Be clear about what you need and communicate your boundaries with your former partner, family and mutual friends. This might include asking people to refrain from giving you updates on what your ex is or isn’t doing, or limiting contact / minimising interactions for a little while, so you can focus on yourself.


Give yourself time and space

Take as much time and space as you need. You are grieving a loss and you’re feeling vulnerable, it takes a while to get through that.

Be gentle, rest, sleep, get a massage, eat comfort food, watch your favourite movies on repeat. This is your time to process and heal, no one can tell you what’s right or wrong - it’s all about what you need right now.


Allow yourself to feel and process your emotions

Leaning into your emotions can be overwhelming and even scary, but don’t forget: the feeling will pass.

Whether you’re feeling sadness, anger, anxiety, panic or all of the above, try not to suppress or deny these feelings, as they can (and most likely will) resurface later on. Instead, make yourself comfortable and tune into what you’re feeling.

You could lie down and listen to a meditation or write in your journal.
Once you identify what you’re experiencing, think about what you need. Sometimes it’s a big cry or a chat with a friend, other times it’s a boxing class to punch it all out.

If you’re struggling to cope, call a friend, your therapist or Lifeline.
Remember: You will be ok. There’s no right or wrong way of getting through this.


Stay put and don’t make any big decisions

Your world’s been shaken up, your instincts are to return to safety and stability. It’s normal for your brain to try and take back control, but try to resist the urge of making big decisions right now.

Stay put, observe your thoughts and feelings but don’t act on them right away. Maybe write down all the ideas you have to change your life, but wait until the storm has passed before you action anything.


Get moving

I know it’s hard, but try to move your body at least once a day.

You can change it up depending on how you feel: A gentle stretch or Yin Yoga class on Youtube, a run, a HIIT class or a slow walk around the block*.
It doesn’t have to be much, it’s not about burning calories or breaking a sweat. It’s about moving and getting out of your mind and into your body.

*My personal top tip for a slow walk around the block: Throw a blazer on top of your PJs and you’re dressed - doesn’t have to be more complicated than that!


Allow others to support you

You might feel numb or your mind might be racing with thoughts and questions. Perhaps it’s a mix of both!

Talking with a supportive friend, family and/or a therapist can be a great way to sort your thoughts and process your emotions. Sharing with people you trust can serve as a reminder that you're not alone and that even though you’re experiencing a great loss, you have people in your life who care and love you.

Let people in and tell them what you need. Ditch the idea that you might be a burden and allow your friends and family to be there for you.


Rediscover yourself and rebuild your confidence

Your confidence might be shattered after a breakup, especially if it involved hurt or betrayal. Try to be kind to yourself. A breakup doesn’t mean that something is wrong with you, it just means that this relationship wasn’t right for you (anymore).

Your confidence will return with time but here are some ideas to start the process:

    Allow yourself to grieve

    Grief comes in stages: Denial, anger, bargaining, sadness and acceptance are all a part of the process.
    Sometimes you find yourself going from acceptance back to anger or sadness - and that’s ok. Grief isn’t linear, it’s a personal journey.
    Go with the motions and feel every part of it. It might take some time but you will come out the other side.


    Get comfortable with being by yourself and discover the new You

    You’re used to sharing your life with someone else. Maybe you miss coming home from work and talking with someone, or sharing a meal or bed.
    Life after a breakup is a huge adjustment.

    When you’re ready, you can try one of the following activities to ease yourself into this new chapter of your life:

    • Refresh your space by redecorating or buying new sheets or towels.
    • Arrange a solo date night at home by cooking something nice and having a glass of wine.
    • Sit in the park and read a book.
    • Change up your routine.
    • Discover new suburbs, bars and restaurants.
    • Take a different route to work, or try a different form or transport.
    • Get a haircut.
    • Buy/swap/sell to refresh your wardrobe.

    Be kind and gentle with yourself, it’ll take some getting used to.


    Acknowledge what you’ve lost, and appreciate what you gained

    After a breakup, it's natural to focus on what you've lost.
    However, once you’ve had some time to process and heal, it can be beneficial to acknowledge what you've gained.

    Perhaps you gained a better understanding of what you want and need in a relationship, or you discovered new passions and hobbies.

    By appreciating the positive changes that have come about since the breakup, you can shift your focus towards personal growth and future opportunities. Recognising both the losses and gains can help you move forward with a greater sense of self-awareness and a more positive outlook on the future.


    I hope these tips will be of value to you. If you feel like it, take a look at our breakup collection.

    Whatever you’re going through, remember that you can contact Lifeline Australia on 13 11 44 for 24-hour support. You’re never alone.


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