Q + A // getting over a break up

Ways to deal with heartache

Going through a break up is one of the worst things to cope with.  Dealing with the pain, the broken trust, the expectations that were disappointed, and the loss of someone you love is never easy, regardless of how good or bad the relationship was.  You feel like you've lost the last few years of your life, you feel like you've lost your best friend, you feel like you've lost the future you'd imagined with that person.  It's ... rough.  If you guys have been around the blog for a while (like a long while), you'll remember one of my posts about getting over the hardest break up I've had.  It took me nearly a year after the break up happened to be able to write that post.  In a lot of ways people expect emotional pain to be easier to "get over" than physical pain.  When I went through that break up, I felt like I had been in an emotional car accident that had left me in the hospital in traction.  It was almost debilitatingly painful.  It's important to realize that, like being in a bad car accident where you'll need physical therapy in order to regain your ability to walk, emotional pain similarly needs time to heal and return your heart to where it was before the break up.  

You can't expect to get over it and move on immediately, but in many ways dealing with the pain and heartbreak post-break-up can be a wonderful time of healing as well as a time to get to know yourself and really work on you.  It's unlikely you'll be ready to jump right in to a new relationship, and oftentimes that's an unhealthy move to make, hence the stigma surrounding the "rebound" relationship.  In many ways a rebound is about avoiding dealing with the pain of a breakup, and merely puts a bandaid on a broken bone.  This isn't always the case, but it's a safe rule of thumb to avoid the rebound.

 Give yourself space.  It's hard to jump right back into your social life, especially if people constantly are asking about what happened and making you relive the pain.  If you need space, give yourself that.  Maybe hang out with a couple really good friends who will aid in the healing process, but you're especially vulnerable, so avoid spending time with people who won't respect what you're going through. 

 Focus on healing your heart.  They call it a broken heart for a reason.  In many ways your heart truly is broken.  It doesn't know how to trust anymore and has a very difficult time opening up to people for fear of being hurt again.  It's a slow process and learning to trust again doesn't happen overnight.  

 Cry.  Let yourself cry.  Ugly cry.  Scream.  Mourn.  When I went through my break up I told myself I wasn't going to cry, and I didn't for about 3 or 4 months.  And then something snapped and I cried almost every night for I don't even know how long.  It was almost as if holding it in had made the dam breaking even more powerful.  Let yourself cry.  Dealing with the loss of a relationship is worth tears.  If you have to wear sunglasses to class, do it.  I was the weird kid in the back of my chemistry lectures wearing sunglasses inside at 9 am, but it hid my puffy cry-eyes and in many ways it felt like a form of armor or protection, even though they were just sunglasses.  

 Do yoga.  It forces you to look inward and confront your pain and acknowledge what is happening in your heart.  Plus, it's a great work out and an excuse to get out of the house.


 Let yourself binge on ice cream.  I don't understand it, but ice cream has a healing power.  Rebound with Ben & Jerry, they understand.  

 Exercise.  Moving your body and getting your blood pumping can give you a little boost of endorphins that will help you feel better.  Wallowing in bed can feel great, and pillows are great for soaking up tears, but you'd be surprised how much better your heart will feel when it's had blood vigorously pumping through it.  Also, it'll get rid of all those ice cream calories.

 Surround yourself with people who genuinely love you.  Family, good friends.  Make sure you're around people who you can trust and who will support you through your recovery.

 Journal.  Get all of your thoughts and emotions out on paper.  Word vomit.  It's cathartic and healing.  

 Spend time away from your Ex.  Perhaps this is not geographically possible as you might work together, live in the same town, have the same friends, etc.  Do your best to get as much space as possible.  Don't try to be "just friends" immediately following the break up.  If you guys want to be friends still, you can definitely do that, but doing so immediately following the break up will oftentimes make it much harder to deal with the emotional fall out of the break up.  Give yourself space to heal and have clarity.

 Do something nice for yourself.  Buy yourself flowers, get a massage, 

After my big breakup I moved home to Alaska to be close to family (thankfully this was possible as I'd just graduated college), got jobs as a graphic designer and a fashion merchandiser, went to NYFW twice, dyed my hair red, bought my Brave, quit my job, and drove around the country.  The time after a break up can actually be a great time for you because you can wholly focus on yourself.  You're no longer focusing on compromising for your significant other, you can do what you want to do.  Go on the adventures you've always wanted to go on, chase the dreams you want to chase.  No one is holding you back.  For a long time I wanted to wait until I was with someone who wanted to go on my Winne trip with me, but I decided to stop waiting and just do it on my own and it was the best thing I could've done.  I'd love to do it again now that Dan and I are married, but that time in the Brave, on the road, solo, was one of the most healing times of my life.  

Do you guys have anything that helps you deal with heartache?