The end of a relationship often feels like the end of the world. After all the time and energy you have invested in it, it is very painful when it gets over. Suddenly there is a void that is created, left behind by the person whom you shared so much with. You find yourself in shock, and you don’t know how to deal with it. There is a lot of grief and anger which you don’t know how to process. You begin to doubt your own self-worth and worry that there is something wrong with you. You become convinced that you will remain alone forever, or that you never want to be in a relationship again. Many deal with this by getting into a rebound relationship, substance use and/or immerse themselves deeply in work or activities.
Here are some of the things you can do to reduce the havoc caused by a breakup:
Catharsis refers to the act of releasing emotions. This creates a therapeutic effect, as you express and acknowledge the emotions you are feeling. Crying helps in catharsis; which is why we often feel a sense of relief after crying.
Talk to someone: a friend, parent, co-worker, teacher, anyone who will give you a patient ear. By verbally expressing yourself, you are again indulging in catharsis.
3. Express yourself
If you do not feel comfortable talking, or have difficulty in expressing yourself, write it down. You can keep a thought diary, online journal or a blog. Alternatively, if you are very creative, you can express yourself through art, painting or music. Write a song about your breakup, if it helps you.
4. Give time, time
Give yourself time to heal. Don’t pressure yourself to follow a time table to get better, and that you HAVE to feel better by a particular time. Everyone takes their own time to heal, and do so in different ways; so don’t compare your journey to others.
5. Focus on you
In relationships, it is common to spend a lot of time and energy on the other person’s well-being and interests, resulting in self-neglect. Put the spotlight on you. Whether it’s a new dress, a fitness program or spending money to learn something new, make it all about you.
6. Stay busy
Keep yourself occupied throughout the day, whether it is with work, study or hobbies. Diverting your energy into other things will not only distract you but help you improve your skills in these areas.
7. Keep on moving
You may feel low and uninterested in doing anything at all, and you find yourself literally sitting around; doing nothing. You may also find it difficult to concentrate on any tasks that require your attention. In such situations, get moving. Go for a walk. Workout. Dance. Physical exercise causes the release of ‘happy chemicals’ (endorphins) produced by your own body, which elevate your mood and improve your threshold to pain.
8. Maintain perspective
Relationships are an important part of life, but they are not everything. Make a list of life goals and plan how to achieve them. You will see that there is a lot more to life.
9. Be mindful
The philosophy behind mindfulness, in very simple words, is ‘be here now.’ It means that your entire attention is on the task at present. Mindfulness can be applied to any activity that you do, whether it is cooking, gardening, washing dishes, colouring, etc. Being mindful helps you to live in the present moment, and keeps you focused on what you are doing.
10. Get help if required
If you feel depressed, anxious or overwhelmed, and recognise that you are not able to cope, seek professional help at the earliest. If you feel suicidal, hopeless or worthless, or are concerned that you may harm yourself in any way, consult a psychiatrist immediately.