Actual Practical Things That Are Helping Me Get Through My Breakup

The pain of a breakup is impossible to describe to someone who has never experienced it before. It’s less sobbing over a tub of ice cream while wearing sweatpants and more feeling like every day is clouded over in grey and staring at the ceiling in crippling loneliness (with occasional sobbing). For the first time in a long time, you are tackling life alone. You have lost the person you used to call when you got good news and the person who comforted you in your worst times. This difficult period in your life can be made even more difficult by people who don’t understand.

You know who I’m referring to—the people who say: “Time will heal everything!” and “You can focus on yourself now!” Although these statements may be true and well-intentioned, they don’t give me anything I can actually do. Reminding myself that time will heal everything isn’t actually helping me survive that aforementioned time.

If you’re sick of hearing the same vague advice about time and self-improvement, here are some practical things you can actually do to get through your breakup.

Heat

In the brutal cold of Canadian winter, it’s hard being single and not having someone to cuddle with and warm me up. One thing has been an absolute lifesaver for me: my heated blanket. I heat it up a few minutes before I go to bed and then crawl in; it’s like getting a toasty hug all night long. Of course, it’s not quite the same as being in a relationship, but it’s a lot better than lying in a big, cold bed all by myself. There are other ways to fill your need for warmth too, like heated stuffed animals.

Essential oils

One of my roommates put together a little basket of goodies for me after my breakup, including this roller-ball of peppermint oil. While it’s meant for headache relief, I’ve been using it when I’m feeling stressed or anxious, and a little on my muscles after going to the gym. This small act of self-care continuously reminds me that I am okay on my own. When the feeling of relief sets in it allows me to escape for a moment into bliss.

Go for a walk or a drive with music

Going for a drive and listening to music really helps me get away from anything that might be triggering my sadness while sitting at home. It also teaches me to enjoy my own company and gives me time to collect my thoughts. Plus, the right playlist can really help the pain of a breakup. For some people, powerful breakup anthems leave them feeling positive and for others, sad breakup music is therapeutic (I’m looking at you, All Too Well by Taylor Swift).

Watch a romantic movie (seriously)

I went to see Isn’t It Romantic last weekend with a friend. At first we were both concerned that I would start crying in the theatre, but instead, I found myself laughing and enjoying myself. Pretending that love doesn’t exist just because I’m not in love isn’t practical or healthy. This movie was a great way to remind myself that healthy fulfilling love is out there and (spoiler-alert) it’s self-love. Seeing Rebel Wilson’s moment of recognition that she isn’t in love with herself reminded me that I am worthy of love and that I should be giving it to myself every chance I have, instead of treating myself the way that she does

Talk to your friends and family

Talking about my breakup has truly allowed me to move past my relationship and move past the break up. Talking about how I felt and what had happened to a variety of people allowed me to understand myself better. As I talked more about how I felt, I realized what was truly affecting me about it. Further, being able to talk about it openly without empty advice like “just eat some ice cream,” allowed me to see where I was in my feelings. Listening to how I felt about things allowed me to make peace and move on far faster than eating ice cream every day would’ve, and allowed me to be happy about my progress. FaceTiming your friends and family can also ease the loneliness. After a 30 minute call with your best friend, I promise you won’t feel as low as you did before.

Get back into an old pastime

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a book that I received as a Christmas gift this year and had been putting off reading. At the beginning of my breakup I picked it up and started reading—and then I couldn’t stop reading. I am an avid reader, always have been, and picking up a book that I now love prompted me to remember that I have many amazing things about myself, and those things are not dependent on being in a relationship. The things I loved before my relationship are still there and are beacons of light that I was, and now am, content on my own. Other hobbies like sports or playing an instrument can also be an incredible outlet and distraction from breakup pain.

Change up your environment

If sitting on your couch reminds you of movie nights with your ex, it’s time to change up your surroundings. It’s not that you have to avoid every location where you spent time with your S.O., but trying out new study spots and restaurants by yourself or with friends can take your mind off the sadness and create new memories. Sometimes, if I’m feeling lonely, I force myself to go to a coffee shop and do homework or write for a few hours. Getting out of the house and being around other people dulls the loneliness and also makes me feel productive.

Forge a new nighttime routine

When I was in a relationship, I never went to bed alone. If I wasn’t falling asleep in my boyfriend’s arms, I was calling or texting him about my day before saying goodnight, always leaving me with a warm and fuzzy feeling just before falling asleep. Now, bedtime seems colder. A solid bedtime routine has helped with this. My bedtime routine includes dimming my lights, lighting a candle or diffusing essential oils, and doing a face mask. Then I turn on my heated blanket and crawl into bed. Just before shutting my eyes, I grab my journal from my nightstand and jot down notes about my day and how I’m feeling. The quick notes in my journal are similar to what I used to tell or text my boyfriend before bed, and I’ve found that writing out my thoughts can help when you don’t have a person to tell them to.

If you or one of your friends is currently going through a breakup, some of these practical things might bring comfort in an otherwise miserable time. Until “time” works its magic and heals your heart, we hope you can find small amounts of joy and comfort in your day to day life.

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