Break Up Recovery: A Brief Guide To Taking Care of Yourself


If you’ve ever been through a tough break up before, then you’re in luck, as whilst you feel like your whole world is going to end  – you know better. In fact, you know that even though, right now, you feel like you can’t handle it… you’ve handled it before, and the fact you’re in a position where you’re going through a second break-up, means that the feeling you had last time when you felt there was nobody else that could ever make you feel the same – you’ve found that, actually, you could love again.


Whilst this might sound like a somewhat ‘tough love’ approach to those suffering from a broken heart, it’s important to get clear about one thing – what you’re going through is a tough, heart shattering experience, that’s likely to be so upsetting it even makes you sick – yet, there’s something in psychology known as the ‘psychology of the situation’ meaning sometimes the way we are feeling is more of a circumstantial trigger rather than true love breaking our heart.


Think of it this way, we’re all programmed to want what we can’t have – and therefore, if we are suddenly deprived access to something we want, we become even more hungry for it.  Now, that doesn’t mean the person’s value suddenly increases, or that we love them more than before – it’s the psychology the situation. Someone says you can’t see them anymore, you feel rejected, and all you want is to see them because you can no longer have them – it’s like an insatiable itch that you’re desperate to scratch, but it’s also a scratch you feel you aren’t in control of, meaning you can’t satiate the itch.


Therein lies one of the most challenging things about breaking up.  The psychology of the situation is bound to make you a little crazy, as there’s going to be so many feelings from anger and hurt to loss and sadness – and the place you might usually go for comfort, is no longer available to you.  It’s hard.


That said, just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you can’t cope.  You might not feel like you can cope, but as with most things in hindsight you will be looking back at this situation and remembering the time you thought you weren’t going to be able cope or survive the loss of this person.


It might not feel like it, right now, of course, but time is a great healer.  It’s one of those things everyone says though, isn’t it – “oh, you just need some time” and when people say this you feel like “you just don’t get it”… but, actually, they do – they’re just not in the same state of crisis and panic that you are.


So, let’s take a look at some of the best ways you can move through this phase of panic and loss.  It’s not about “getting over someone”, as that takes time, and is perhaps a little ambitious if you’re going through the early stages of a break up.  


This article is to help you survive the emotional storm that you’re in, because that’s what a breakup is – it’s a storm that can knock you off kilter, and it’s okay to get knocked down by it.  What’s not okay, however, is for you to stay down and let this cripple you to the point your whole life comes crashing down.


It’s important to appreciate that just because you’re going through a bad patch does not mean you have an “unhappy life”, it just means that you’re unhappy at the moment – and this will pass.


In many ways, it comes down to the notion of regaining a sense of control.  Now, that’s not to suggest control of the situation or the other person, because, those are variables out of your control – but there are some things that remain in your control and nobody else has any control over.  So, let’s start there…



There’s an idea in popular psychology that “where attention goes energy grows” meaning what you focus on expands.  


The challenge is that when you’re focusing on a break-up, or your ex-partner, you lose attention on things that are perhaps a little more productive; for instance, work, school or keeping fit.  Instead, you go into a version of ‘survival mode’ that is a bit like putting your computer on standby – it’s not really able to achieve very much.


Instead, you go into a process of rumination where you overthink things, and the same thoughts are churned over and over in the windmills of your mind.  You therefore need to shift your focus onto things that are in your control and are more positive.



Now is the time where you need to start to look after yourself.  We’ve all seen people go through breakups where you find them holed up in their house, a few half eaten takeaway containers on the floor, it’s clear they haven’t showered for days, and their external world becomes a representation of their internal world.


The challenge, therefore, is to break out of this pit is self despair and start looking after yourself.  Going to the gym might be the last thing you could even think about facing, right now, and similarly solvable challenges like “why do I have dry or dehydrated skin on my face, feel so meaningless in the context of a breakup, yet, they’re both aspects you can take care of to nourish yourself.


It doesn’t have to be pamper parties, massages and your greatest ever workout – it just has to be baby steps of taking care of yourself, even simple things like showering, and making sure you get out the house each day and going for a walk to get some fresh air.



Many people talk about taking up a hobby in order to cope with the loss you feel, and this can feel like very bland advice – yet, there’s a good chance a huge part of your life has been taken away from you, meaning there’s a gap, a space, where something once filled your time and energy… there’s now just a vacant space – and this can leave you feeling empty.


You therefore want to consider doing something to occupy your time, as if you have spare time at the moment, it’s probably not that healthy.  Yes, take some time to recover and be gentle with yourself, but at the same time, you don’t want to wallow in self pity and exist in somewhat of a vacuum.  This is why, for many people, they decide to take a trip in order to change their scenery and stimulate their senses in a healthy way.

Dirty and Thirty

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