Taking care after a break up

FULL ARTICLE

Marina Afzal-Khan, Online Wellbeing Editor

The end of a relationship can seem like the end of your world. Emotions are heightened and everything can feel a little bit intense. This can have negative consequences to one's mental health.

The fact is, the loss of any form of close attachment can result in the daunting feeling that is, I am alone. It can also lead to irrational thoughts such as, 'how will I be happy without him/her?' The reality is that - as cliché as it sounds - it gets less painful with time.
The end of any kind of relationship, regardless of title, length or time you have spent together can compare to any kind of withdrawal. This can result in a loss in self-worth, self-confidence and self-esteem. Of course, these are key signs of a decrease in wellbeing. The truth is however, you were a functioning person before you were with them and you will be a functioning person after them.

Tips on how to get through it:

Allow yourself to 'go through it' and hurt

It is easy to turn to drugs or alcohol amongst other crutches instead of allowing yourself to hurt. But it is clear that in the long term, you're just going to feel the pain for longer. In the short term, it might be a great help, but sometimes being intoxicated won't even make you feel better. Feeling the loss and accepting the change helps you tackle it head on. Talking to someone, a friend or family member, especially when you're feeling low, can help make sure you don't close off, as this is a key time where you may need them to keep you on the right track. If you feel unable to talk to anyone close to you, of course, there are services in place; there will always be someone to listen.

Take time to reflect

This is the worst part. Having to actually think about what went wrong and what could have been handled better is not the nicest of tasks. Being in denial over what has happened is just going to bite you later on. This doesn't mean just thinking about what THEY did wrong, which can be a positive thing to do at the beginning, but eventually you have a look at yourself, it's all part of growing up. Sometimes relationships just come to their natural end, they're all experiences that you learn from and can help you develop into a better version of yourself.

Distract yourself

When you're having a dark moment, the key is to be in control of it and not feel powerless, especially when the emotions are overwhelming. This can take place in many forms. When you start to miss them, or want to send that risky text, just do something else. Anything else. This could be calling up a friend, watching something, studying, cooking, playing some music and talking to someone. What has worked for me in such situations is writing my thoughts down in my notes or journal. This helps you vent but also protects you from setting yourself back into a vicious cycle of hurt. Once you're doing that instead, the urge might lessen, and you'll feel a bit better. It's the baby steps that matter. But taking the first steps will help you stay away from dark thoughts.

Allow yourself to have hiccups and make mistakes

This is one of the most important points I wanted to address. Healing after a break-up is not a smooth road, there will be bumps. They are inevitable. Of course some people are able to go through it hiccup free but if you do mess up, send that text, make that 'bad' decision, there is nothing to be ashamed off. It is a process and eventually it will get easier. You've gone through a massive change and it is fair to expect you to go backwards every so often.

Think about the future and make positive changes

It can be a weird feeling when you've made plans with someone who no longer fits in your plans. However, this can be a good thing for your personal growth and self-development.

Positive changes can include lessening or cutting off ties altogether with your ex. It might feel like you're shutting off your past but in reality, you're just allowing yourself a fresh path and cutting off things that you can react to, at least until you heal and get over them. Having their social media pop up every day can make you feel as if they're still within arm's reach and can produce negative emotions.

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Keeping busy, such as finding a new activity, meeting new people and looking after your physical health is extremely important. Looking after yourself physically is just as important as mental health. Making sure you eat, are getting some fresh air and sleep is all a part of self-care which you should try to maintain when going through a heart break. Life is long, this is just a small part of it and there's a lot to come after the loss you've experienced.

You're just allowing yourself a fresh path.

Be proud of yourself and the progress you WILL make. Hang in there, it does get easier. The end of a close relationship with any one person can be complicated and painful, but it can also be beautiful. You can find out more things about yourself and end up being happier. Everything in life can be taken as a good experience, to learn from in order to be the better version of yourself and alter your outlook. There's no short cuts, there's no point in anything other than going through it and by letting time fix it.

Featured Image / Debby Hudson


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AUTHOR

Marina Afzal-Khan

2018/19 Online Wellbeing Editor | Third Year Law Student