There are many ways a breakup can go bad, and only a few ways it can go well for both parties. You might still have lingering feelings for your partner, you might have ended the relationship unexpectedly, or you might have broken up due to something emotionally traumatizing, like catching your partner cheating on you.
In any case, you’re suffering from heartbreak, and it’s hard to think about a future in which you’re in a happy relationship, or even just happy. You owe it to yourself to take action, now, to restore your emotional wellbeing and set yourself up for a happier, more enriching future.
What to Do Now
These are steps you can take, right now, to make yourself feel better and lend to the healing process:
- Write down your feelings. Journaling is one of the best things you can do for your mental health. It forces you to be introspective and confront your innermost thoughts and feelings. It also allows you to articulate and express things you might otherwise keep locked away. Spend some time writing down exactly how you feel, even if it seems self-evident, and even if you’re embarrassed to do it. You can always destroy or delete it later, but make sure to write it down now.
- Go somewhere you feel comfortable. If you’re living in the space you once shared with your ex, you’ll be susceptible to more negative feelings. Instead, go somewhere you feel more comfortable. That might mean heading to a friend’s house, a café down the street, a movie theater, or your old hometown. It doesn’t matter, as long as you feel happy there.
- Make a dating profile. There are a lot of good dating and hookup apps available these days, so you might as well take advantage of them. You don’t have to jump into a new relationship right away (and in many cases, shouldn’t), but making a dating profile can help you feel better about yourself, and possibly introduce you to people who can make the healing process easier down the line.
- Engage in a hobby. You have at least one hobby, so engage with it, even if you don’t feel like it. You might feel reluctant to start, but once you’re immersed in the activity, you’ll probably end up enjoying it more than you thought.
- Exercise. Physical exercise is one of the best ways to relieve stress, and if you do it frequently enough, it has the added benefit of keeping you in good shape (which might be useful if you’re recently single). If you’re feeling low, it can be difficult to get moving, but once you do, you’ll almost immediately feel better. Go for a jog or a bike ride outside, or do some calisthenics in the comfort of your home.
- Eliminate painful reminders. Wherever you are, there are likely countless painful reminders of your last relationship or how it ended, like pictures, gifts, or furniture you bought together. To the best of your ability, get rid of these reminders, either by throwing them away or selling them, or by relegating them to a room you don’t frequently use. Keeping them out of your immediate sight should help you develop more emotional stability as you recover.
- Make some new goals. Setting goals for yourself can make you feel happier the moment you set them, and give you direction for some new set of achievements. It doesn’t matter what area of your life these goals apply to; you could resolve to eat healthier, aim for a promotion at work, or try to run a 6-minute mile. The point is to challenge yourself to achieve something, and lay out a blueprint for that achievement.
- Reach out to your friends. Your friends and family members are here to support you during this difficult time. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them and tell them how you’re feeling. It can be difficult to be vulnerable and ask for help, but you’ll be glad you did.
You may also be tempted to turn toward unhealthy quick fixes, like overindulging in junk food or drinking alcohol, but these are only going to hurt you in the long run. Your goal is to feel better, not to feel neutral for a moment and even worse later.
Healing from a relationship takes time, and no immediate fix can resolve your leftover feelings. You’ll need to commit yourself to several weeks, if not months, of doing things that support your emotional recovery. That means going out, trying new things, being kinder to yourself, spending time with your friends and family, and finding new ways to be happy. Be patient as you guide yourself through this process.