How to Work Through a Breakup

Breaking up is a difficult time in anyone’s life, especially if you’re the one being left behind. This is a time where you may feel shaken. You’re losing your routine, your security, and maybe even the person you felt was closest to you. It is easy to feel lost and confused about who you are and what you have.

Break ups happen to all of us. Even celebrities can’t escape it, and they don’t always offer the best examples of coping either. A recent example is the Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moor break up. After this very public relationship ended, the media has shown the actress’s attempts to move on. She has spent her time being treated for stress, battling what she calls a “love-hate relationship” with her body, even out partying hard with her daughter in Hollywood.

When going through a tough split, it is important to give yourself a lot of self-care. Getting out and trying new things can be exciting and a way to cope with the loss short term, but it is important that you stay grounded and focus on your emotional needs. Instead of engaging in activities that are against your nature, here are a few constructive ways to work through a break up without losing yourself:

1. Take time to grieve: The end of a relationship, especially one that existed for a long time, is difficult. It can feel like you have lost a part of yourself, and marks the end of certain routines and interactions. Take the time that you need to deal with this end and all of the feelings that come along with it. Experience your anger, fear, or sadness and work through them. Don’t push your feelings away. Everyone’s response will be different, but eventually you will be ready to move on.

2. Re-focus your energy: You probably have a lot of time on your hands now that it is all your own. Don’t let this time go to waste! Instead of curling up on your sofa and lingering on thoughts of the past, take this time to put your energy to good use. Focus on cleaning your house, organizing your bills, going through your closet, or any other task that needs to get done. Clearing out clutter will do double duty-your environment will feel refreshed, and you can even take the opportunity to clear the emotional items from your area. You don’t need to bump into constant reminders.

3. Get active: Even if hitting the gym isn’t your usual afternoon indulgence, this is a good time to start. Aerobic exercise has great emotional benefits. It can truly lift your mood, and if you exercise at a moderate intensity five times a week-it can be as effective as an antidepressant. ( ) Since you’re reeling from a change to your daily norm, this is a great time to begin new routines.

4. Spend time with your friends: Now is the time to take advantage of the support group in your life. Friends and family want you to feel good, and to get back on your feet. Let them help you! Whether you need a shoulder to cry on, a sounding board to talk to, or someone to take you out on the town, the people closest to you will help you get there. Now is not the time to stay at home all the time and dwell on the break up.

5. Spend time with yourself: Even though you shouldn’t spend all of your time alone, you will need some time to regroup and reflect on the changes. Take this time to create a space for yourself, work through any new feelings, and focus on your needs.

6. Eat healthy: Post-break-up is almost synonymous with emotional eating, but this is not the time for a gallon of ice cream or a bag of Doritos. Others respond to this sad time by turning away from food altogether. Neither route is a good option for your mental or physical health. Good nutrition will contribute to your mood and your ability to stay positive in the long term. Food rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help improve your mood while green leafy vegetables provide beneficial nutrients to help fight off depression. Not even your favorite flavor of Ben & Jerry’s can boast that!

7. Maintain structure where you can: It might feel like it’s OK to let a few responsibilities or chores slide post-break-up, but it’s really important that you stay focused on your life right now. Keep at least some of your routine on track. Fill the disrupted area with activities and interests that make you happy. It’s a great way to meet new people and move on.

8. Remember that you are not defined by your relationship: At the end of a relationship, it can be easy to lose yourself. You might feel like you don’t know who you are without your partner, or that you aren’t worthy as an individual. Instead of letting these feelings take root, focus on what you have, who you are, and what you can do. You might want to write down your good qualities, or make a list of things in your life that you are grateful for. It can help you remember that you can and will move on when you’re ready.