There are few things more heart-wrenching than a breakup. Oftentimes, it can feel like the process of healing our hearts, moving on, and feeling ready to love again is never-ending. And patience really can be everything when it comes to grieving the loss of a relationship.
But there are certain steps we can take to make the process a little easier on ourselves—and to even nudge the process along so that we can feel whole and healed as soon as possible. Read on for seven things we can do to reboot our hearts after a breakup.
1. Feel It All (and Let It All Out)
When our hearts are broken, our first impulse is often to numb the pain, run away from it, or pretend it doesn’t exist. But most of the time, this approach doesn’t help us heal at all. We need to walk right through that pain if we want to reach the other side and gain healing and a sense of peace.
When you feel like crying, let yourself go there. Tears can feel extremely cathartic, and can actually help us move through the pain. If you miss your ex, go ahead and miss them. That’s natural and normal, and there ain’t nothing shameful about it. If you want to listen to sad music or watch rom coms, go ahead. Maybe don’t overdo it—but dwelling in our pain for a bit can help it pass more quickly.
When it comes down to it, breakups are always going to hurt. And grieving is just a natural part of the process.
2. Set Healthy Ex Boundaries
One thing that can trip us up when we’re trying to heal our hearts is the all-too-common lack of ex boundaries. We’ve all known the exes (or been the exes) who still text or see each other all the time after breaking up. While the odd person may be able to do this and still move on, for many of us this will only hinder the healing process and keep us from completing our grieving cycle.
Figure out what kind of boundaries you need with your ex, communicate them, and then stick to them. It can be tempting to fall back into the comfort of a previous relationship, but this can keep our hearts locked in that relationship, instead of allowing us to open our hearts back up to life and to new love.
3. Friend Dates
No article about getting over a breakup is complete without mentioning friendship! Friends are our saviors, our shoulders to cry on, and our sources of joy and laughter when we’re going through a breakup. Breakups usually leave a massive social and emotional hole in our lives. While our friendships may not be able to fulfill every aspect of this loss, they can do a whole lot in making us feel less alone and like we still have companionship after all.
Have a virtual happy hour with your closest buds or go on a long walk with a friend. It really can do wonders when our hearts are aching.
4. Get Out in Nature
Getting outside is good for us in so many ways. The outdoors offers an opportunity to exercise. It can be good for our mental health and it makes for a great social activity. But the great outdoors can also be great medicine for our broken hearts.
Going out in nature is a wonderful way of reminding us that there are things greater than ourselves. It can remind us of the impermanence and unpredictability of life (much-needed wisdom for breakups). It can lift our spirits and connect us back to ourselves.
Nature might not be the first thing everyone thinks of for healing a broken heart—but it’s one of the best methods there is.
5. Treat Your Body Right
Our bodies need to transition out of a relationship just as much as our minds and hearts do. When you’re in the recovery phase, take some time to treat your body right and give it the love it might be craving.
Take baths. Do face masks. Get a massage. Eat delicious, nourishing foods. Do yoga. Go for a run. Cuddle with your dog or cat (if they’ll let you). And, yes, masturbate. Your body needs that love, attention, and care when you’ve ended a relationship.
6. Throw Yourself Into Other Forms of Love
A breakup can be the perfect opportunity to remind ourselves that there are so many forms of love outside of romance. Take this time to explore the ways you can love and be loved without a partner.
Pets can be a fulfilling and joyous source of love during a breakup. Becoming a plant parent is another way to nourish something other than a relationship. Family and friend love can be a constant source of encouragement and support.
Discover or rediscover the ways that you can give love to the world, even when you aren’t in a partnership.
7. Get Back Out There
There’s no rush on this particular step of rebooting our hearts. But, similarly, you don’t need to wait any prescribed time before getting back out there. Part of learning how to go through breakups is learning how to know when we’re ready to date again.
Some people, in some instances, may feel ready to date within a week or a month of a relationship ending. For others, it may take many months or even years to reach that point. Any and all of those options are fine.
But whenever you do feel ready, dating can be an excellent reminder that our hearts are not closed forever and that there are many people and ways to love. Igniting your desire for a whole new person just might make your heart feel a little bit fuller and a little more open. Give it a try—but only when you’re ready.