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Breakups are hard. No matter how often they happen, or how long you’ve been together, the grief can be incredibly painful and can knock you off your feet. Here are 7 tips you may find helpful to help you heal faster and become a new version of yourself. 

Feel Your Feelings

This is a big one folks. Most times when dealing with hardship, we “avoid feeling it”. This manifests differently for everyone — some avoid speaking about it to others, some make themselves busy every hour of the day, some pretend the situation doesn’t exist – all to avoid feeling the bad feelings (at all costs). That’s normal – our brains seek out the familiar and do not enjoy being in “uncomfortable” situations. I will say, however, that a person can only bottle up so much emotion before it eventually comes out. Instead, allow yourself to feel your feelings, and find a healthy balance between processing bad feelings and wallowing in them. 

Do Anything Small That Will Make You Happy. 

For me, it was drinking an abnormally large amount of Starbucks coffee a week, but it gave me something to look forward to every day. Think about small things you enjoy doing in your day-to-day life—even some things you consider a treat—and do them more often. This could be taking baths with new scented bath salts, going for a walk with your dog, watching cheesy feel-good movies or drinking your morning cup of coffee with your mom.

Reach Out, Find Support, You Need Your Friends. 

This is a BIG one. Your friends may not be able to hop in their car and go for ice cream with you — especially during lockdown — but that doesn’t mean they can’t support you. Organize group Skype calls, offer to drive to their house for a socially-distanced hangout, vent to them or ask them for advice. You are not alone, and your friends can help offer up tips for what helped them, can help shift your perspective, and most importantly, they are a great source of love and comfort.  

Set Small Goals For Yourself, And Small Rewards Too.

Breakups, like any big change, can disrupt your daily rhythm. You may find it harder to get out of bed and focus on school or work, but setting small, tangible goals and working towards them can help push you forward. Give yourself small things to look forward to, like a call with your friends, watching a few episodes of that new TV show you’re loving, or planning an exciting outing (like a socially distanced Starbucks date with friends). Push yourself to experience joy (even in small doses) and remind yourself it still exists, even when it doesn’t feel like it. 

Write a List of All the Reasons It Had to End.

After a breakup, no matter who did the deed, you may find yourself idealizing your partner and even wanting them back. Sometimes this regret reveals that you’ve made a mistake and should try again. Other times, this idealization gets in the way of realizing that they aren’t what’s best for you and moving on. I suggest combatting this habit by keeping a list in your phone of all the reasons why it had to end. This exercise helps you stand strong in your decision to move on, allows you to learn what to look for in the future, and can be referred to when you need it.

Develop Routines Of Self Love. 

Post-breakup grief is complex. The loss is compounded by the fact that you’ve lost not only a person, but a series of routines with them. Instead of focusing on the person, try loving yourself in a way your partner used to love you. Make new routines that center around things YOU love. You have been a “we” for a while, it’s time to get back to being a “me” and rediscovering what you love. Try incorporating your love language in these new routines for ultimate self-satisfaction.

Ask For Help If You Need It. 

I am going to close off with something I want you to remember most: asking for help after a breakup does not make you weak. In fact, asking for help at any point in your life shows strength. Being able to observe how you feel, know you might need a little leg up, and get past the stigma of asking for help is the bravest step you could take. Help can be going on a trip away from work or school or asking your mom to sit in bed with you and give you a long hug. But help can also look like starting to see a therapist more consistently or asking your doctor for advice. Help comes in many forms and sizes, and most people actually do enjoy helping others. Sometimes the only thing standing in your way is you. Ask for help if you need it.  

Alisha Nagi

McMaster '23

Alisha is a second year Human Behaviour student. She loves to read and learn about things she's passionate about, especially the human spirit, mind, and body. Her connection with other people will always be what is more important to her. She has no idea where she will end up after university, but believes there is power in doing her best and seeing where life takes her.
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