How to get over a bad break up
There's no way around it. If you care about someone and you break up, it's going to hurt. The pain you are feeling is a normal part of the healing process and it will pass - if you let it - even if it feels like it's going to stay with you forever. Just like when you're trying to get over an illness, there are things you can do to help yourself get better sooner. Here are some of the things that have worked for me in the past. Contents at a Glance Avoid locking yourself away completely Give yourself time to heal Shift your focus Write through it Take care of your body Treat yourself More Avoid locking yourself away completely
After a bad break up, some people like to hide away and not see anyone and others are completely the opposite and like to surround themselves with friends and do anything they can to avoid being alone. You probably know which method works better for you and there's nothing wrong with either of them, unless you take it to the extreme.
If you are generally a social person but distance yourself from your friends and family when down, you may end up feeling a bit alienated and spend too much time wallowing in your unhappiness. Making time to get out of the house and see people every once in a while, even if all you can manage is a coffee somewhere quiet with one or two good friends.
Look for people who have a calming influence on you or, alternatively, if you are feeling listless and gloomy, ones who can jerk you out of a bad mood. Some people are so afraid of their own thoughts and feelings after a break up, that they become complete social butterflies, never giving themselves the time and space to deal with their own emotions.
If this is you, slow down and make some alone time for yourself so you can get your head and heart back in order. Give yourself time to heal Usually, your friends and family will recover from your bad break up much faster than you and will start encouraging (read: pressuring) you to date again. Sure, they mean well, but only you can tell when the time is right for you to start dating new people. All those totally random calculations about how long it takes to get over a relationship (I think they say it's a month per year?) are just that: random calculations.
Don't worry about not being "on schedule" for recovery. There isn't a schedule. In general, yes, it does take longer to get over long-term relationship than it does to get over flings, but a short, intense relationship could easily take months to get over. Time is not really an issue here. Emotional involvement is. If you were really into someone, you're going to hurt for longer. Period.
Take your time, do what you can to deal with your feelings and don't feel obliged to get into any new relationships until you are good and ready. Shift your focus Some people are lucky enough to be able to easily shift their focus to other areas of their lives after a break up and others are not so lucky. With a bit of determination, you can eventually teach yourself to see the bigger picture. Think of things you like about your life: your job, a hobby, etc. and try to concentrate on those for a while.
If you can't think of anything you like about your life right now, then you can use this opportunity to start fixing those areas. Start a new hobby, take a class, work on ways of improving your living and working situation - anything that can get you thinking about things other than bad relationships. Write through it OK, so I'm a writer and may be a bit biased about this, but writing is one of the best forms of therapy.
I find that writing with a pen in a notebook works better for me than typing, but that might not be the case for you. The most common method of doing this involves writing about 3 pages every morning when you wake up. They call it "Western meditation", because the idea is to start writing anything that comes into your head without stopping or correcting anything, until your 3 pages are up.
This may sound easy, but once you start, you may find yourself drifting off and having to keep coming back to the paper to write. This is one of the reasons why I prefer pen and paper to, say, Microsoft Word: the paper is much more forgiving when it comes to spelling mistakes.
The idea is to never show this writing to anyone, so you can write anything you want, no matter how personal. You can destroy it later, if you want so that nobody can ever find it. It helps focus your mind, puts your fears and emotions onto paper so you can see the clearly and it's incredibly liberatingIf at any point in the day or night you feel overwhelmed by your feelings, you can start writing again. As a bonus, if you use writing in your work (even if it's college essays), you'll find that your usual writing will flow better after about a week of doing this every day.
Take care of your body (and the rest will follow) Treating your body well will go a long way to making you feel generally better. It's tempting to drink a lot after a break up, eat a lot of unhealthy things or, alternatively, not eat at all (sometimes bad break ups make you lose your appetite).
However, all these things come with a nasty cost to pay afterwards. Treating your body well, on the other hand, will generally pay off and help you feel better about yourself. Make sure you eat regular, healthy meals with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and don't overdo the chocolates (although some are nice every once in a while!). This is one of those times when it pays to get (healthy!) takeaway food or eat out if the alternative is sitting at home, being too depressed to cook. Exercise is a good way of making yourself feel better.
The body produces feel-good chemicals (endorphins) after a work out and those are much better for you than alcohol. Always take care to not overdo it, though. It's easy to over-tense your muscles when you're angry or upset, which could end up causing an injury. Light-moderate exercise is probably best, as well as those types of physical activity that calm your mind as well such as yoga, tai chi and other forms of martial arts, etc. I am a great fan of alternative medicine and have had a lot of success with things like aromatherapy, homeopathic remedies and Bach flower remedies. Getting an aromatherapy massage (or any other form of massage) can be a really nice thing to do and some essential oils are particularly good for sadness. If you live in a big city that has massage schools, you can even sometimes go to the student clinic and get a really cheap or free massage. Treat yourself (if you can, you should!) Speaking of massage, there's never a more important time to treat yourself to something special than after a bad break up. Depending on your budget you could take a holiday, go shopping, get a haircut or a makeover, take bubble baths, etc.
Whatever it is you like doing, now is the time to do it. Be kind to your emotions (and they'll be kind to you) Sad love songs are all very well and good, but beyond a certain point, they can lock you away in a bad mood. Pay tribute to your feelings by allowing yourself to grieve, but try not to lock yourself into a bad mood. Listen to more uplifting tunes, watch some sitcoms to make yourself laugh or go out and see your facourite band. Any of those things can help get you in a better mood.
Get help if you need it If things get too much, you can always seek professional help. Either locally or even on the phone or online. Talking things out with an objective, trained counsellor whose job is to listen and help you could be just the thing you need to help get you back on your feet. Things to make you feel better (Work in progress) Apart from flower remedies (listed below) the things that work best for me when I'm down are those that make me feel good about myself and,especially, my body. When you feel good about who you are, you know you have everything you need to find someone better. Working on your happiness from both the inside out (talking it out, writing, therapy) and the outside in (retail therapy, eating well, glamming up) is the best combination for getting your life back on track. The following list of links are a bit of both