Coping with a Breakup

A breakup can be painful because it’s not just the loss of the other person in your life. It’s a loss for you – for what you wanted from the relationship and what you’d hoped the future would hold.

The relationship represented your belief that the other person was right for you. A breakup signifies the crash and burn of something that was once good. As a result, you can go through feelings of grief, anxiety and more.

You’re suddenly thrown into a different way of life. What you do from the moment of the breakup on is different. You won’t be doing the same things you once did. Shifts are happening everywhere - from where you live if you shared a place - to who you hang out with if you shared a circle of friends with your ex.

What was once a given for you has now become a question mark. You may wonder where you go now, what you’ll do, who’ll you’ll love and who’ll love you in return. Even if the breakup was something that was initiated by you, that doesn’t mean that it was easy for you.

Regardless of whether the ex is someone who’s been in your life for many years or someone new, going through a breakup can affect you in a myriad of ways. You might feel physically sick.

You might experience crying jags, depression, numbness and more. There is no way to determine how you’ll be affected by a breakup or how long it’ll last. But there is a way you can cope with a breakup.

You can use self care strategies, which are ways to deal with what happened to you in a positive, healing manner. Recognize that you’re going to experience different emotions and that they can hit at any time.

Understand that they may ebb and flow depending on the day and sometimes the hour. This is a stripping away of what was once your life. You might feel the stages of grief - most people do.

You may also wonder about where you go from here and how you’ll find your way back to yourself. All of this is a natural part of the process. Coping with a breakup means you need to look out for yourself.

Self care is especially important during emotional upheaval because your emotions affect you physically. There are numerous ways you can practice self care during this time.

Get your emotions out so that you can deal with them. You can do this by talking to a friend, a counselor or through journaling. Don’t try to stuff your emotions down. This only delays the inevitable.

Stick to your health care routine. Make sure that you eat right and exercise. Don’t eat (or not eat) your emotions. Some people binge eat after a breakup and some people skip eating altogether. Both are unhealthy ways to deal with the emotions.

Focus your attention on everything that’s positive about you. Build yourself up mentally. Use affirmations. Be kind to yourself. Dwell on the good in your life - not what’s upsetting or negative. Get involved in something that makes you feel happy - even if it’s something as simple as going for a walk with your pet.

Coping with Loneliness

Loneliness can happen to anyone at any time. It can be acerbated by special events or holidays. While many people experience it, most don’t acknowledge the feeling, so they don’t truly deal with it.

But there are ways that you can cope with loneliness in a nurturing way that’s based on self care. Try to determine what’s causing your loneliness, because sometimes you can be surrounded by people, but still lonely.

Knowing this can help you figure out what to do about it. Understand that just because you may feel lonely, it doesn’t mean that you’re alone. Recognize that loneliness can make you entertain thoughts that are false.

Sometimes the heaviness of the emotion can trick you into thinking that you’re alone in life or alone in whatever you’re going through. Loneliness can fool you into thinking that no cares about you or that you’re somehow defective, which is why you feel all alone.

It can make you feel like pulling away from other people. Feeling lonely can cause you to create scenarios in your mind that aren’t true - such as someone wasn’t able to spend time with you because they don’t like you or someone didn’t return a phone call or email because they don’t think you’re important.

This is imagining the worst, and it’s a side effect of your emotions as they’re processed. Pay attention when you have thoughts that are negative and make you feel like withdrawing, then take action.

What you have to do is refute the negative and reaffirm the positive - that you’re not alone and that you’re not defective. Have a self care plan in place so that when loneliness does strike, you can handle it.

Make yourself get out and go to activities and meet new people. Look for groups or classes that you can join where you have a common interest such as photography, scrapbooking, an exercise or art class, gardening, etc.

You’ll forge new relationships. Spend some time volunteering. When you’re helping people, it helps you. Doing something for others makes you feel better and it alleviates loneliness.

If it’s not possible for you to get out and about, then look for people or groups online that you can connect with. Another way to practice self care to help cope with loneliness is to adopt a pet.

Caring for a pet is known to alleviate loneliness. Many people report that caring for a pet makes them feel loved. Plus, having a pet offers many other benefits such as allowing you to meet and befriend other pet owners.

Coping with a Divorce

Divorce is a redefining of your normal. It shakes you out of your routine. The act splits two into one and some who’ve gone through it refer to divorce as a type of death. In a way, it is.

What once was no longer exists. Your routines are all up in the air and your once certain future now seems to balance precariously on an emotional cliff. The hardest part about a divorce is the emotions that swarm you.

Just like dealing with death, you’ll go through the five stages of grief. At first, you’ll want to deny what’s happening. You might put off dealing with legal paperwork or avoid discussing issues with your soon to be or former spouse.

This happens because people think by not dealing with it, the pain won’t be as bad. Anger is one of the stages of grief and a common emotion when coping with a divorce. You may be angry at your former spouse, with your new circumstances, and that you got “cheated” out of the life you imagined.

You may even feel angry with yourself. Bargaining is next and you might find yourself trying to make deals with yourself, your ex, the universe, God or whatever. You may think “if only” this could happen, then I would do better, be better, etc.

After bargaining, a deep sadness in the form of depression can set in. This is situational depression and once you go through the grieving process, and heal, you will feel better emotionally.

You just can’t see it now because the temporary situation and emotions feels permanent. Finally, acceptance comes. This is your new life. There’s nothing you can do to change it so you’re going to make the best of it.

There’s no set time for getting through the stages of grief. You might think you’re fine, then all of a sudden you burst into tears because something or someone reminded you of happier times.

There are several things you need to do to practice self care while you’re coping with a divorce. You need to let go of guilt or blame. “If only” and “could have been” are thoughts that serve no positive purpose. They’ll only drag you down into negativity and sadness.

Talking to supportive friends is another step in self care. It can help to talk to someone who’s been there, done that. They’ve walked the path and are living proof that you can survive a divorce and be whole again.

Be wary of people who ask you prying questions – set boundaries with them. Unless the person is a good friend or family member, it’s likely the person asking doesn’t have your best interest in mind.

Because your emotions can range from high to low when you’re coping with a divorce, practice self care in how you speak to yourself as well as how you speak to your ex. Stay off your former spouse’s, his or her friends and their family’s social media.

It won’t do you any good to see your former spouse’s new life. Make sure you spend ample time just being still and not trying to think so hard about everything going on. Just relax and rest so that you have the energy to get through it all.

What’s your biggest issue? How do you handle it – or can you think of any additional tips you can share with others if you don’t have an issue with this in your life?
Share them with us in our Comments – or share this blog post on Twitter or Facebook or wherever you feel it could help someone you know.

Cheers, Helene Malmsio

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