5 Tips To Get You Through A Breakup

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How To Care For A Broken Heart

BY BRITTANY MCGILL

It won't feel like it now, but your heart WILL heal

It won’t feel like it now, but your heart WILL heal

Relationship breakups are awful.  Regardless of who made the final decision to end things, there’s the awkward separating of belongings, grief over what’s been lost, sadness at what will never be, and anxiety around the big black question mark that now hangs over your future.

The pain of a breakup is unavoidable and there’s no quick fix for a broken heart, but there are things you can do to keep your head above water while you heal.

Here are 5 tips to help you care for your broken heart.

Tip #1: Avoid Contact

One of the worst things about a break up is that the person you usually turn to for support and comfort is the same person causing your distress.  It’s hard to suddenly stop seeing someone who’s been an important part of your day to day life for so long, but having a clear break will help you heal.  It will also help you avoid saying and doing things in the heat of the moment that you may later regret.  If you feel that there are things that need to be said, or issues that need to be resolved before moving on, write your thoughts down.  Give yourself time to process everything and come back to them later.

Tip #2: Be Kind to Yourself

Give yourself permission to be upset. Avoid ‘should-ing’ about how you should be feeling, how long you should be feeling that way, or how you should be coping.  Should-ing is unhelpful and it will only make you feel worse.  It is what it is and it’s ok to need time to heal.  No-one bounces back from a break-up straight away.  Cut yourself some slack.

Tip #3: Do Things You Love

Do the things you love and the things that make you feel good.  Have a bubble bath, stay in with take-away and watch re-runs of your favourite TV show, go to the beach and read, get a facial, learn a language, become a yogi.  Have time for yourself but also make the effort to go out with friends and stick to your usual routines.  If you’re feeling down you won’t feel like going out and seeing people but in those moments ask yourself, if I stay home by myself will I feel better or worse tomorrow?

Tip #4: Get Good Advice

Try not to pay too much attention to well-meaning friends who take sides.  Well-meant comments like “I never liked him/her anyway” or “I didn’t think he/she was right for you” aren’t particularly helpful so tune out.  If you need further advice or support, make an appointment to see a clinical psychologist with experience in helping people struggling with relationship issues.

Tip #5: Learn From It

Once the initial wave of emotion has passed take the opportunity to take a step back and think about things: What were the deal-breakers? What have you learnt about what you don’t want to compromise on in your future relationships? What were the good aspects of your relationship? What sort of partner are you looking for?  Because as painful as this break up is, it will help to prepare you for what’s next.

Brittany McGill is a clinical psychologist registrar who completed her postgraduate clinical training at the University of New South Wales. She is interested in anxiety and mood disorders across the lifespan and uses cognitive-behavioural and other evidence-based strategies to help people achieve positive change in their lives