After A Breakup: 7 Tips To Recover & Bounce Back

By Ellen Rohr, M.Ed., LPC Intern

Breakups can bring pain, sadness, self-doubt and a host of other unpleasant feelings. They can also leave you in a vulnerable state that’s difficult to recover from.

If you’re going through a breakup, these 7 tips can help you bounce back:

1. Find an expressive outlet

Like any traumatizing life event, a breakup or divorce needs to be processed appropriately. While tempting, bottling up your emotions is a recipe for disaster. Find a trustworthy person to talk with, whether they are a therapist or a friend. It is a healthier way to escape your negative headspace.

If discussing your breakup is too painful or intimidating, try writing about it. Journaling, creating art, dancing, playing music, etc. are all creative outlets that can help you create meaning from your pain.

2. Find good company

Because the end of a relationship elicits such strong feelings of pain and sadness, it’s important to surround yourself with positive people. While nobody can replace your former partner, being in good company can help you feel less alone.

It’s also important to avoid toxic people when you’re in a vulnerable state. Positive friends provide positive distractions, while toxic people can be negative influences. They may also encourage you to engage in unhealthy coping mechanisms that will only make the period after a breakup worse.

3. Allow yourself to mourn

Allowing yourself to grieve the loss of your relationship is a difficult yet critical part of healing. Give yourself permission to feel exactly the way you do. Because we are each different and unique, we all process and experience situations differently. Don’t be too hard on yourself on days when you’re struggling.

Avoiding using alcohol and drugs at this difficult time. Numbing the emotional pain you feel with substances will only prolong the grief after a breakup. In fact, it will slow your healing process.

By allowing yourself to mourn your relationship immediately after a breakup, your feelings of grief and sadness are less likely to resurface later.

4. Practice self-care

Self-care is especially important after a breakup. Unfortunately, because of the way you’re feeling, this might be one time you don’t want to engage in self-care. However, something as small as reading a good book or watching your favorite TV show can be an act of self-care. If you’re feeling up to it, leaving the house for a bit for a massage or nail appointment are also good self-care coping mechanisms. Going for a walk and connecting with nature is always a good way to practice good self-care.

Regardless of what you choose to do, it’s important to set aside time to tend to your basic needs. Breaking up with someone is not only a change in your relationship status but a lifestyle change as well. Maintaining normal eating, sleeping, and exercise habits can help you feel more grounded. By sticking to a schedule, feelings of normalcy can stabilize your life.

5. Maintain perspective

If you’ve terminated your long-term relationship, chances are it was for a pretty good reason. It’s crucial to maintain perspective and remember what your relationship actually looked like. Don’t glorify it or place a rose colored lens over your relationship, especially if it was a toxic one.

6. Focus on yourself

When you’re in the midst of a relationship, it can be difficult to find time to focus on yourself. The period following a relationship is the perfect time to get back in touch with who you are.

You may be tempted to fill the emptiness you’re feeling after a breakup with another relationship. Give yourself time to recover from your heartache and loss before moving on to another relationship. Rebound relationships rarely go well.

Many people lose themselves throughout the duration of a relationship. Use this time to rediscover yourself. What do you really like to do? What makes you happy? What are your likes and dislikes? 

7. Keep yourself busy

Once you’ve established what you enjoy, take the time to actually do these things! Find healthy distractions and try something new. Do something that you’ve always wanted to but have never gotten around to. Take this as an opportunity to reconnect with friends or pick up fun new hobbies.