Updated: Feb 15
Breakups are hard. Whether it’s the termination of a relationship, situationship, or an instance of unrequited love, it is never easy to say goodbye to someone you love or deeply care about. Those of us who are rejection sensitive have an especially difficult time coping with breakups and heartbreak. Fortunately, coping with heartbreak gets easier over time and with experience. The heartbreak itself isn’t easy; rather, you learn how to manage it. Over the years, I have discovered five things that help me to cope with heartbreak:
1) Let yourself grieve the relationship. This one is hard because it is tempting to want to block our feelings out with other activities, such as work, extracurricular activities, or maybe even eating or shopping. However, a crucial part of healing after heartbreak is actually feeling your feelings. No matter how messy they are, your feelings are valid. It may be difficult to come to terms with the fact that the relationship is over, but once you do, you may feel sad, angry, or maybe even depressed. Try to process your emotions through journaling or talking to a friend or therapist. Allowing yourself to grieve will help you heal from heartbreak much faster than you would if you ignored your feelings.
2) Block them on social media. When you miss someone, you will inevitably find yourself checking their social media (sometimes several times a day). While you may think this will help bring you closure, it will likely only make you feel worse. You will probably find yourself wondering who that person is that “loved” their picture on Facebook or commented on their Instagram post. These are not productive thoughts, and will not help you move on from the relationship. If you think blocking them is a bit harsh, you can mute their posts or stories. Either way, you should consider minimizing your interactions with them on social media.
3) Make a breakup playlist. This is one of my favorite things to do when going through a breakup! I have a running breakup playlist on Spotify that I add to occasionally. My playlist includes everything from upbeat songs like Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You’ve Been Gone” to melancholy ones like Alicia Keys’ “Sleeping With A Broken Heart.” These songs serve a few important functions: (1) they remind you that nearly everyone has experienced heartbreak at some point in their lives and that no matter how much you may be struggling now, you will get through this; (2) they are empowering and they remind you that you are awesome and deserving of a beautiful, fulfilling love, and (3) they are really fun to sing along to, especially in the car (haha).
4) Do things that spark joy. Whatever it is that makes you happy, do that. Maybe you enjoy dancing around your living room, doing yoga, watching reality television, or reading romance novels (or is it just me who enjoys these things? LOL). If it brings you joy, do it! While I don’t recommend doing these things as a way to block out your feelings, if there are activities that you know help boost your mood, I encourage you to take time to do those things. You deserve happiness.
5) Lean on your support system(s). Hopefully, you have friends, family members, or a therapist that you can lean on during times of emotional distress. Reach out to your support system. Perhaps you need to vent or need some advice. Let the people who care about you know how they can support you during this time. I realize that not everyone reading this will find the above tips helpful, but I hope that you will try at least a couple of them when you are trying to heal from heartbreak. If you do, I’d love to know how it goes. Feel free to drop a comment or send me an email at email@example.com to let me know! Happy healing! :)
Jennifer is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and a hopeless romantic. She enjoys doing yoga, reading romance novels, and hanging out with her bunny, Oreo.
(Cover photo provided courtesy of Unsplash. GIF provided courtesy of GIPHY.)
Even after experiencing heartbreak, you can still thrive. Special thanks to Jennifer Turner, Ph.D. for writing this guest blog post.