Relationships

10 Ways to Help Yourself Heal After a Break-Up

Eileen Bailey Oct 23rd, 2012 (updated Jan 8th, 2014)
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Time heals all wounds. However, when you have a broken heart, you sometimes aren’t sure if you are going to make it through the day. Here are 10 ways you can help to heal your broken heart.

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Cry
Cry

Science shows that crying does help. HealthCentral's Jerry Kennard states, “The physical effects of crying do indeed show that once crying stops, the body moves from a state of high arousal to one more associated with relaxation. Breathing and heart rate slows, sweating decreases and the period of the relaxed state tends to last longer than the time spent crying.”  So, take the time to cry and grieve for your relationship.

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Take one small step toward healing each day
Take one small step toward healing each day

You probably don’t feel like getting off the couch or even climbing out of bed, but you must. Commit to one positive action each day and sooner or later these actions will start to become normal again. Exercise for 15 minutes, take a walk, cook yourself a spectacular meal, get a new haircut, or take yourself out to eat.

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Create distance between you and your ex
Create distance between you and your ex

You feel alone and you desperately want some type of connection to your ex, or you are ready for separation and your ex won’t leave you alone—he calls, sends emails or stops by. Every time you talk with your ex, you postpone your healing. Let your ex know that you need distance in order to heal and then stick to going without talking, no matter how hard it is in the beginning. Remember, it will get easier each day.

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Keep yourself busy
Keep yourself busy

Make a list of activities - no matter how small - that you can use to keep yourself busy. Your list might include taking a walk, shopping, cleaning the hallway closet, seeing a movie, reading a book, or getting together with friends. What the activity is isn’t as important as simply giving yourself something to do other than sitting around feeling sorry for yourself or sliding into depression.

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Talk to friends
Talk to friends

If you were in a serious, committed relationship, you probably talked to your ex every day. If you lived together or were married, you have become accustomed to having someone there all the time. Now that your ex isn’t around, life seems lonely. Contact friends and let them know what is going on – ask if you can call just to talk for a few minutes. Hearing a friendly voice can do a lot to help improve your outlook.

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Clear the clutter
Clear the clutter

Most long-term relationships include clutter. It might be text messages in your phone, items left at your house or being "friends" on social networks. Get rid of the clutter from the relationship so you aren’t faced with constant reminders of what you lost.

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Remind yourself what is good about yourself
Remind yourself what is good about yourself

Break-ups tend to wreak havoc on your self-esteem, especially if your partner is the one who left. After all, a break-up is a rejection. If the break-up was messy, your partner may have brought up everything wrong with you. Instead of focusing on what he or she found wrong, write a list of your good qualities and traits. Keep it posted where you can see it every day.

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Take care of yourself
Take care of yourself

During the days and weeks after a breakup, it is easy to skip meals because you aren’t hungry or overeat to mask the pain. Your thoughts may keep you up at night. This is a time when it’s very easy to ignore your personal needs. Avoid the temptation to do that. This is when you really need to take care of yourself. 

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Accept that you need time to heal
Accept that you need time to heal

There is no right or wrong amount of time to heal from a broken heart. If it has been a few weeks and you are still feeling down, it is okay. Remind yourself that each day will be just a little easier. Keep moving forward and you will begin to notice that you think about the relationship a little less each day.

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Find a new hobby
Find a new hobby

In long-term relationships, most of your activities probably involved your ex and when you do them now, the grief starts all over. Think about what you would like to do or learn, such as taking a class at a local college or learning how to paint. You might have a hobby that you have ignored during the relationship. Now is a good time to rekindle your interests.