As cuffing season comes to a close, breakups loom.
If you’ve recently been dumped and are feeling sh*t, you’re in the right place.
Not just because we relate, but because we have an expert-backed path to help you move through this difficult time.
When a relationship ends, it’s easy to sink into a pit of distress and despair, feeling like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.
But follow these five steps and you’ll be back on track to a healed heart.
Let yourself feel
Whether you and your partner ended on amicable terms or things ended in a big blowout, you’re probably feeling pretty upset. That’s okay – let yourself be.
It can be tempting to avoid the sadness that a breakup invokes by burying yourself in work, going out drinking, distracting yourself with a new boo or even straight-up denying to yourself the extent of how hurt you really are. But avoiding these emotions can be counterproductive to your healing journey.
Sex and relationship coach Ness Cooper says emotions we attempt to avoid usually come out in different ways that can affect us negatively.
‘We’re not taught a lot about how to deal with our emotions, so when we do experience something big such as a breakup they can all come flooding in and it can be overwhelming,’ Ness tells Metro.co.uk.
‘It’s very normal to feel like we can’t cope with them, but it’s very healthy to have these emotions come through.
‘It’s how we deal with them that’s the important thing. And taking a moment to go through them can help us work through what’s happening and deal with the situation better.’
As the sadness, anger, and sorrow come, sit with these emotions. The feelings will come and go in waves, but that’s completely natural, and, believe it or not, can help you move forward.
Take care of yourself
Okay, so the last thing you want to do right now is take a shower or tidy your room, and we don’t expect you to do a big spring clean.
But try to put some effort into self-care, whether that’s maintaining a decent hygiene routine or having a clearout.
Staying in an ordered environment will help reduce stress levels and the physical act of tidying up is a healthy distraction from any emotional sorrow you may be feeling.
Showering might feel like an impossible task right now but do try, the smell of BO and the sensation of itchy underwear won’t contribute to your overall wellness, either.
A study found that immersion baths, over showers, display high scores in lowering stress, tension-anxiety, anger-hostility, and depression-dejection.
Take your time incorporating tidying up and showering into your routine again, but do keep these things in mind.
Reach out for help
You may be consumed with feelings of guilt and shame which will make you want to retreat into yourself and soldier through this time alone.
Ness says it’s normal to experience these emotions, but we shouldn’t let them ‘dominate’ us.
‘Generally, people’s guilt and shame come from the expectations that they put on themselves that they think other people have placed upon them,’ she explains.
‘Other people’s opinions don’t matter in what’s happened, it’s how you feel and how you move on from that.’
Now that we’ve dealt with the feelings of guilt and shame, we are going to let our family, friends, pets and therapists support us during this difficult time.
Whether it’s a chat, them bringing you some food or even helping you tidy your space, let your loved ones love on you right now.
From a scientific perspective, laughter and hugs can help the body produce ‘happy hormones’ such as endorphins and dopamine, which your body could do with.
Talking with your loved ones can help you validate your feelings and put things in perspective, which is important. And if you feel like you want support from a mental health practitioner, don’t hesitate to do so – the more support the better.
Love on yourself
Who says flowers and dinner dates are strictly reserved for dating? Yes, initially the concept of ‘dating yourself’ (or ‘masturdating’, if you prefer) is cheesy but this practice can be fulfilling.
The acts of taking yourself out to eat, going to that art gallery alone, going to watch a movie or even taking a trip solo, can help you to take your mind off things.
Ness insists it’s important we remember that things don’t need to have a romantic meaning ‘for us to enjoy them.’
Also, part of accepting a breakup is learning to live life without the person you usually did things with.
Enjoying the music or food you usually enjoyed with your former partner but by yourself (when you’re ready), can slowly but surely help you move on.
Don’t give up hope
Ness says a big part of hope should be having an awareness that something else ‘better’ is out there.
‘It will be positive in different ways and help you grow in different ways and meet different needs,’ she tells us. ‘It won’t be the same as before but it will still be good.’
Dating apps are being used like never before and with the world opening back up again, the chances of you meeting someone new is sky-high.
If you apply the lessons you learnt from this relationship and the new things you’ve learnt about yourself, you’re likely to find a better partnership this time around.
As horrible as breakups are, they are a part of our life story we should embrace.
Ness adds: ‘It’s very positive for individuals to be able to look back at relationships even if they did end badly, but look at the good things, and use that to positively impact your wellbeing in the future.’
It doesn’t feel like it right now but your sadness will slowly fade and you will be joyful again.
In the meantime, take it one day at a time and take care.
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