Breakups are incredibly difficult, no matter how many times you have been the dumper or the dumpee. It’s science. Studies show that romantic relationships are literally addictive, and breakups trigger the same withdrawal symptoms in the brain that people must overcome with addition.
You may feel sad, angry, and all-around ashamed of another failed relationship. But the silver lining is that your feelings won’t last forever. With space and time, you can get back to your old self. No one can’t learn how to be happy after a breakup.
How to Be Happy After a Breakup: 19 Vital Steps
Use these steps to figure out how to be happy after a breakup. Life may seem hopeless right now, but it’s not. In time, you can heal and move forward. Here’s how:
Acknowledge How You Feel
The first step is admitting you have a problem. To move on from a breakup, you must acknowledge how you feel and deal with your emotions to release them.
When you start to feel down about being single once more, find a quiet place where you can recollect yourself. Allow yourself to experience your emotions without judgment. Close your eyes, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, and focus on your emotions. Don’t attempt to analyze or explain them; just feel and recognize your emotions for what they are.
Try writing down what you feel, expressing your emotions through art or music, or write a letter to your ex that you will never send. Mindfully acknowledging your feelings helps you feel less overwhelmed at the moment and can let you regroup. Remember, your feelings are temporary.
Let Yourself Wallow for a While
Now that you know how you feel about the breakup allow yourself to feel your emotions for a while. Experience the importance of a wallow period first-hand, and don’t put an exact number on how long it will take you to grieve. Long-term relationships can take months to get over, but so can even a month-long fling. Everyone and every relationship vary.
Sit around home in your comfy pants, eat the foods you enjoy, binge watch hours of your favorite show on Netflix, whatever helps you feel better. Don’t shave your legs, watch sad romance movies, or cry when you feel like it. The choice is yours! Just provide enough time to feel your feelings.
Don’t Make Big Changes
It’s tempting to cut your hair, get a new tattoo, change jobs, or move to a new state when you’re going through a breakup. It might seem like a great idea, but don’t make any huge life changes during this time. You’re not in the right frame of mind yet.
If you still feel like you want the big change after you have gone through the grieving process, go for it.
Never Drink and Text
If you drink alcohol, avoid drunk texting your ex at all costs. Alcohol is a major depressant, so most people should stay away from drinking when feeling down at all. But if you’re going out for a night with your friends anyway, take steps to avoid your phone. You’ll want to text your ex the moment your inhibitions are down. You’re only human.
Delete his number from your phone, leave your phone at home, hand it over to your friend, or put the phone on airplane mode. Whatever you need to do to make sure you don’t fall into temptation and drunk text your ex.
Disconnect from Social Media
Taking a step back from social media after a breakup is so important, especially if the breakup was difficult for you. Social media is an excellent place for people to connect and a way to meet new people, but they can also be your worst nightmare when you’re healing.
Not only do sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter tempt you to start up a new fling or partake in a casual hookup, but they also reinforce negative emotions between exes. People tend to post inflated things about life being great or passive-aggressive memes. Whatever it is, they want their ex and everyone else who may be watching that they’re having the time of their life being single.
Carefree status like this is typically false and misleading. But even know most people know their ex is probably actually wallowing around home, we have a hard time not believing the worst-case scenario – that they truly are happier without us.
It’s much better to avoid all social media for a while rather than receiving a constant reminder of your pain. Triggering negative emotions will only cause overthinking and negative mindsets, making you even more vulnerable to reconnecting with them or making another mistake.
Better Yet, Delete Them
For many people, it’s hard to ignore an ex on social media. The temptation can become too much. However, he’s probably not going to post anything about missing you, and all the hours you spend searching through his page for a hint about how he’s holding up isn’t good for anyone.
Instead, hold onto your resolve. Hide or mute your ex from your feed, or better yet, delete them altogether. You’re probably not going to stay friends in the future even if you are talking about it, so bite the bullet. It will hurt less.
Don’t Meet as Friends
Even if he asks, never meet up as friends until the breakup emotions are over. People always want to remain friends, instead of fully splitting ways, but it can be more difficult to deal with than you think. Mature adults still struggle with unfinished emotions and jealousy after a relationship ends. It’s hard to go backwards after a breakup.
If you can follow the dignified friend road, allow plenty of time to forgive and forget. Otherwise, you will only hurt yourself more and prolong the healing process, wondering if he still cares about you or ever did in the first place. It’s better for everyone if you just let go.
Now, this doesn’t work the same if you have kids together. You’ll need to stay on friendly terms in front of the children for their sake. Keep in mind that staying on good terms, in this case, is all about them. Think about your love for your children when things get tough.
Avoid the Blame Game
No matter who did what to who, the blame game only causes more harm. It’s pointless. While you’re healing, it’s difficult not to think back on what went wrong and try to make sense out of what happened. But whatever did happen, you can’t change that fact or do something different. What-ifs keep you up at night if you let them, and it’s only vulnerability talking.
Continue to focus on what you can learn from the relationship to do better next time, but don’t let yourself become so vulnerable that you start judging and becoming unkind to yourself. Jamie Price, wellness expert and co-founder of Stop, Breath, and Think, says you can find relief after a breakup with understanding and self-compassion. Accept what you can’t change and move on with your life.
Funnel Your Sadness into Exercise
Exercise does wonders for your emotions. Studies show exercise releases endorphins in your body that can reduce pain perceptions and allow you to feel healthier inside and out. Exercise even helps ease depression. After a breakup, you can channel your emotions into your workouts to help you feel better.
You don’t have to begin an intense CrossFit workout each day, but getting the blood pumping does spark self-confidence and help you move on. Find exercises you enjoy, such as Zumba or lifting weights at the gym. There’s something for everyone.
One Day at a Time
Remember to take things one day at a time. There’s no rush to full healing. If you hurt or wake up not feeling like yourself, take it day by day. Don’t think too far into the future or start wondering when/if you’ll ever get married or have kids. Throw those thoughts out from your mind.
It’s okay to focus on today only. Remind yourself that you have to get through today and don’t think about further than that unless it’s time to plan something fun. Deal with tomorrow when it arrives.
Once your grieving period is over, it’s time to start moving on. The best way to switch gears is to stay busy. Focus on yourself, your goals, and your favorites. Spend time on DIY projects, see a movie, or take up running. Keep yourself busy and distract yourself with activities and things you enjoy, which can help you start to feel more positive and upbeat.
Getting out of the house helps you celebrate the end of your mourning period and the start of your new adventure. Many times, we get so caught up in relationships that we neglect the other things we are genuinely interested in, or large projects get placed on the back burner. Now is the time to focus on new opportunities and experiences. Explore and take up new hobbies, meet new people, and have fun.
You can’t heal without proper sleep. This means getting the necessary of around eight hours of sleep per night and keeping to a regular sleep schedule. When dealing with a breakup, especially if you’re going through depression, you may want to sleep either more or less. It has a huge effect on your life, and not getting enough sleep can also wreak havoc in other areas of your life.
Avoid eating junk food or drinking anything, particularly alcohol, right before bed. Allow yourself a few hours of avoiding sugar and caffeine before bedtime, or you may have a harder time falling asleep and wake feeling worse. If you feel stress from other events, calm yourself more often or focus on what you can cut back on while you heal.
Next, you can spruce up your bedroom to create a space for the best REM sleep possible. Avoid screens in the bedroom from the television, phone, or laptop, as the blue light can keep you up longer. Keep your bed free from distractions by only using the space for sleeping purposes, and use dark sunlight-blocking curtains to boost your sleep quality.
If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, you can also try using lavender essential oil in an ultrasonic diffuser. Place the diffuser in your bedroom. If it has a night light or runtime light, turn it off. Add around 5-6 drops of the essential oil to the water reservoir, depending on the capacity of your water tank, and run the diffuser for 10-30 minutes before bedtime. Studies show lavender helps people sleep better, longer. You’ll wake the next morning feeling more energetic than ever.
Eat Healthy Choices
Junk food tempts people the most when they’re grieving. Don’t fall to temptation. You have enough to worry about without falling ill too. Maintain selecting healthy choices every day to provide your body with the sustenance that it needs to function normally. Try eating something around every four hours for the best result, and never let yourself become hangry.
You can keep up your resolve if your body doesn’t reach a fully hungry mode before you start cooking. Stick to the following healthy happiness-boosting foods while you’re getting over a breakup:
- Bell peppers
- Leafy greens
- Sweet potatoes
- Green peas
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds
- Whole grains
- Dark chocolate
Avoid sugar, especially sugary drinks like soda and alcohol. Cut back on your caffeine intake as well, as it can increase your anxiety levels and cause an afternoon crash. Also, avoid white bread and desserts. You may want to eat an entire tub of ice cream, but it won’t make you feel any better right now.
Instead, go for a small piece of dark chocolate when you want to treat yourself and stick to drinking water or green tea. Probiotics can also help increase your body’s serotonin, and dopamine production, which studies show improves depression.
Redecorate Your Space
Give your home or bedroom a bit of a pick-me-up. Redecorating can help you feel like you have a fresh start, and this deep cleaning period is an excellent time to get rid of anything that brings up memories of him. Toss the photos of you two on your wall and get rid of anything you find that makes you think of what you have lost. They will only lead to a mass of overthinking every time you see them.
Buy a new set of sheets for your bed, paint an accent wall in the living room, or add in some new scented candles in your bedroom.
Volunteer for a Cause You Care About
One of the best ways to work through pain is to help others. It’s easy to forget that there are tons of people out there that are going through a worse time than you right now, and helping the less fortunate can help put your pain into perspective when it feels like too much.
According to the Mayo Clinic, volunteering for a cause you care deeply about can help you both physically and emotionally. Volunteers feel a sense of purpose when working toward something they deeply care about that helps them live longer, healthier lives, and the act of volunteering itself can even lower your stress levels and risk of depression.
Spend More Time with Friends and Family
Make more time to spend with your friends and family. The real people in your life will be there for you when you need it. Avoid the people you haven’t spoken to since your last breakup. Your close friends and family will help you feel connected to other people, which is vital in getting over a breakup. The connection even boosts your brain’s happy hormone of oxytocin, helping you stay distracted, feel loved, and increase your happiness.
If you start to feel overwhelmed, try reaching out to friends or family for support. Pick up the phone. Talking to someone can help you work through your emotions, distract you, or remind you that you have people to turn to when you’re in need.
Add in Daily Self Care and Positive Affirmations
Breakups can damage your sense of self and overall confidence. Through daily self-care, you keep yourself in the best health. Taking a bubble bath when you feel down or at least a shower when you feel grumpy can be all it takes. Self-care is about much more than just showering, exercising, and eating healthy each day. Although they are a crucial piece of it. Self-care can include:
- Listening to music
- Walking the dog
- Playing with your kids
- Cooking a new dish
- Watching your favorite movie or sport
- Getting a massage
- Reading books and magazines
- Spending time in nature
Positive affirmations can also help you move through the pain. Use positive affirmations to stop from falling into negative beliefs about yourself. Don’t wonder what you did wrong or overthink every moment you should have done something different. The breakup doesn’t mean you’re not good enough or that you’ll never find the one for you.
Make Your Peace
The relationship didn’t work out. There’s nothing you can do about it now, so you might as well make your peace with this fact. At first, you will feel too much pain to see where things went wrong clearly. You shouldn’t spend too much time focusing on this early on in the grieving process either, but there is usually a reason a relationship doesn’t work out.
Think about why the relationship needed to end. Did you have bad timing? Was there an issue of compatibility, or did you have different goals in life? If someone cheated, it might be easy to pinpoint an answer. Not all relationships are so simple though.
Write down the reasons you think the relationship ended and why it was for the best to find closure. You can hang on to the list for the next time your emotions tell you to rationalize the situation for a reminder. This exercise is an excellent way to learn what you can from the relationship and start moving forward with your life. What can you learn from this experience you can use in the future?
With time and distance, you’ll begin to let go. The objective point of view is easier to find without strong emotions tied to it, and once you understand how to use your experience to create a better future, you may notice one day you stop thinking about him. Everyone fades in time.
Additional Tips for Moving Forward
The most crucial tips for moving forward after a difficult breakup include:
- Give it time – Don’t rush into a new relationship. Allow yourself the time you need to heal, or you will still be dealing with these feelings when you attempt a new relationship, which can have a negative effect and leave you feeling vulnerable.
- Grieve even if you initiated the breakup – Dumpers can still feel lost after a breakup.
- Remain friends only in some situations – After a proper time, some people can remain friends after a breakup. However, don’t force a relationship and always provide plenty of space and time for healing before you attempt to connect as friends.
Do You Still Need Help Feeling Happy After a Breakup?
If you can’t figure out how to be happy after a breakup, you may need to see a professional. Talking to a counselor, crisis line, or breakup forums online can also help if you’re not sure where to turn. Don’t allow grief to get in the way of your daily life and properly caring for yourself.
Above everything, remember that the path to a happy life is often littered with pain. You must have your heart broken a few times before you can appreciate the magic of true love and find the life that’s right for you. It takes time and patience. Keep going, and you’ll get there in your own time.