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Sex + Relationships

Healthy Ways to Heal After a Breakup

That initial feeling of shock after a breakup will subside into an overall sense of disbelief and honestly, pain. Your heart’s going to physically hurt and your mind is going to be racing for days. While all of that may go on for a while, there are healthy and unhealthy ways to work through the heartache. If you turn away from the world and try to permanently wallow in your bed or try to pretend like everything is fine, you’ll never fully heal. Breakups can make you feel like a shell of your usual self, but use this time to rediscover who you are, what you want and what you stand for. You’ll get through your worst days and remember how truly amazing you are. 


1. Feel your feelings

Via Pexels 

Seriously it’s okay to cry, it means you’re human and it means you care. As much as you want them to stop, it’s a part of healing because holding them in only causes further inner turmoil. You may have the urge to cry in the dining hall, in the library, in the middle of the night and that’s OK. There’s no rule saying how much to cry or when it’s acceptable to have feelings. Honestly, you may be riding an emotional roller coaster from being okay one minute to feeling sad or hating your ex’s guts the next. One thing that is hard to accept is that you can’t always control your emotions. While it isn’t healthy to let your emotions completely guide your decision making or actions it is healthy to acknowledge how you’re feeling and what steps you can take to work through them. Another thing you can’t do is shove them down or try to numb them. While it may be tempting to drink until you forget why you were sad in the first place, this will just cause more pain in the long run. Until you work through all your emotions, the good, the bad and the ugly, you can’t start to heal.

2. Remember to sleep & eat

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There are going to be nights when you’re up until 4am and days where you barely feel like eating and it’s going to feel never ending. Nights can be the worst because you’re left alone to your thoughts to over analyze but you need to realize those thoughts aren’t rational ones. Replaying every scenario, everything that happened or everything you wish had happened won’t change things. Even when your thoughts & your body is against you try to sleep. Listen to your favorite songs, take some melatonin, drink some tea, try lying still because only with sleep can you be restored and have a clear happy mind for the next day. If you really can’t sleep, try to do something other than be lost to your thoughts. Write down your feelings in order to process them, watch a funny movie or show {I highly recommend “Shameless”}, talk to your “night owl” friends, go for a walk, anything that won’t add further toxicity to your mind. It’s also important to make sure you’re getting the nutrition you need to keep all your other organs happy and healthy. While it’s fine to binge eat some ice cream and indulge in your favorite junk foods, it’s also vital to drink water and eat some fruits and veggies. Make sure to take care of both the mind and the body during this time to avoid delving into a deeper slump.

3. Don’t play the blame game

It may provide some temporary relief to trash everything about your ex but at the end of the day this is anything but productive. Unless it was a completely toxic relationship chances are the problems were two sided. That said don’t focus the fault too closely on yourself either. It can be easy to get caught up in the “what’s wrong with me” feeling and hate yourself but if you go down this road it doesn’t allow for any actual growth. All self hatred will do is cause a sense of chaos within oneself. Rather than focusing on assigning blame, focus on what went wrong on both ends. If you take responsibility for what went wrong on your end you could actually use this a learning experience to grow as a person. Maybe you learned that you’re not the best at communication and that could turn into something to work on that could actually improve your life. Conversely, don’t look at what went wrong on his end with resentment. Try to replace whatever resentment you may have with a sense of gratitude. Gratitude for learning what you do and do not want out of future relationships.It could be something as simple as realizing you don’t want somebody who likes to go out more than you or as deep as realizing what long term traits you can and can’t live with. Chances are there will also be a lot of great aspects that you will value and want to apply to future relationships such as a sense of friendship. It may not be fun or easy to take the self reflection route but is the route that will end up shaping how you feel further down the line.

4. Take a mental health day

No one can walk away from a serious relationship and be completely fine the next day it’s just not plausible. It is completely understandable if you need a day to be alone. Take this time to get a break from the world and everything that is causing you stress. Go to the gym, take a hot shower, go to the sauna, go hiking, see a movie, do whatever makes you feel good. If you want to stay in bed all day then stay in bed all day. This day is about whatever you need it to be. I highly recommend blasting some of your favorite songs and singing it out until your floormates complain about your tone deafness. All your problems won’t go away at the end of the day but you’ll remember what it’s like to laugh with ease & remember that you can still be happy all on your own.    

                                                                 Related: 6 Ways to Get Through Heartbreak

5. Go to your classes

Via Tenor

It’s okay to miss a few classes if you need to take a mental health day. Other than that, go to your classes. This isn’t just your education, it’s your future. There is no person worth sacrificing your education over. In the words of Michelle Obama, “There is no boy that is cute enough or interesting enough to stop you from getting your education”. As hard as it is to force yourself to go to class or focus on an assignment and when it feels like everything’s falling apart, it needs to be done. It’s easy to think It won’t matter if you miss a few classes, and that you’d rather stay in bed, but it’s easy to start to fall behind. You’ve got to force yourself beyond the right now and look at the bigger picture of when you’re better than okay, thriving even, and excelling in all your classes. At the end of the day the only person going to be affected by your actions and whether or not you go to your classes is you.

6. Surround yourself with friends and remember you are loved

Via The Odyssey

You know the kind of people you need to be around. The friends that genuinely have your best interest at heart. The kind that randomly ask you how you’re doing and make sure to make plans so you’re too busy to remember you’re sad. These are the kinds of friends you hold onto, that are there for you when you’re crying in the middle of the night, when you really just need a hug and when you need to talk through it all. They’re the kind you can trust to be judgement-free and support you by reminding you how awesome you are. Go to the gym, get mani pedis, have a girls night or just hang and do homework, but make sure you’re hanging with your girls. There will be a million guys but true friends are rare so make sure to appreciate them and all they do for you. Also call your mom or someone in your family you’re close to that knows you better than you know yourself. They’ll be the ones that are the most comforting and that can provide the most words of wisdom.

7. Find something to focus on that you really care about

Remember how you always wanted to take boxing classes? Do it. It doesn’t even have to be trying something new but try to find something you really care about and focus on it. If you decided you want to make straight A’s then put your energy into your work and reaching that goal. Find some aspect of your life whether it be a skill, hobby, or goal and turn your energy towards furthering it.  

Remember that there’s no timeline for “moving on”

Via Giphy

You don’t need to follow the college atmosphere of jumping on Tinder or Bumble the week after your relationship ends (unless you think that’s what’s best for you). It’s absolutely okay to not be interested in jumping into a fling or trying to immediately find a new relationship. Take this time just for you to date yourself and realize what you want out of your life and what you would want out a relationship further down the line. If you think you’re okay after a month to go on a date with someone then great, do that. Others will be ready in a few weeks or take a few months because every relationship, every breakup and every person is different. Listen to the little voice in your head to trust your instincts. At the end of the day, you know what’s best for you.  

                                                              Related: How to Get Out of Your Tiring Situationship

8. Decide if you can be friends

Via PowerOfPositivity

The feelings of love and the amount you care about someone doesn’t just dissipate overnight. These feelings can be transitioned into a friendship-capacity depending on the circumstances. The reasons the relationship ended will play an important factor in whether or not you’d feel comfortable in maintaining a friendship with your ex. Both of you have to want to transition into having a friendship and have to realize there’s a difference between dating and being friends. Being friends requires different boundaries. Being friends could also require time and space. Take some time to clear your head and figure out what it is that you want. If you come to the conclusion that you don’t want to be friends or never even want to see them again that’s okay too. Your only obligation is to yourself and to do what’s best for you moving forward.

9. Be kind to yourself

Via Giphy

As cheesy as it is, you need to be your own best friend. Remind yourself that you’re stronger than you realize and that the only one that can keep you on your feet and get you back to thriving is yourself. As much support as friends provide, it’s ultimately your choice whether or not to work through all the emotions and focus on yourself and moving forward. Compliment yourself. Not just that you look fantastic in those leggings, but remind yourself of all your substantive qualities. Remind yourself that you’re a good friend, a good daughter, that you’re intelligent, that you’re kind and that you have so much to offer the world. Give yourself a compliment a day and go from there. Self-love is one of the most powerful tools at our disposal because if you believe in yourself and realize how great you are than you are unstoppably fierce.  

There will be days where you will feel as though the ground is crumbling beneath your feet and you’re struggling just to stay up. There will also be days where you feel strong and capable of amazing things. Eventually, the good days will outweigh the bad so just remember to keep your head up and wear your invisible crown.


Jennifer Muchnikoff

George Mason University '20

Currently a Senior at George Mason University, I am a Communications Major with double concentrations in Public Relations and Journalism. When I'm not focusing on being a Staff Writer and Social Media Editor for HerCampus, I am an active member of Zeta Tau Alpha or interning at ABC7 News!
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