Relationship break-ups can be really tough, writes Brisbane Psychologist Katherine Vuong, but here are some tips to help you move on …
In the wake of a relationship break-up, many people may lose their appetite, withdraw from family and friends, and have less motivation or energy to do things they normally enjoy.
Everyone has slightly different ways of dealing with a break-up, and it’s okay to feel sad or angry, especially if it was unexpected or something you didn’t initiate.
Tips to Help You Cope after a Break-Up
Right after a break-up, it is common to question yourself about why it happened, when you’ll stop hurting, or whether you’ll be able to feel happy again.
You might also be tempted to keep in contact with your ex, even if it causes you more grief than joy. But it’s important to remind yourself that with time and support, you will be able to pull through and will likely come out even stronger than before.
Below are some suggestions that may help you after a relationship break-up:
- Talk to friends and family that are supportive – It might get your mind off things, as well as help you to figure out why you might be struggling to let go. Perhaps there are still things left unsaid. Maybe you’re holding on to the hope that you could get back together, or you’re worried that you won’t meet someone like them again. Whatever the reason, talking it out can help you get a different perspective.
- Keep busy – Having too much free time can make it easy for you get stuck in ruminating, and other unhelpful thinking patterns which are likely to make the situation worse, robbing you of energy to do anything more worthy of your attention, and even heightening these unhelpful feelings of anger, resentment, and sadness. Instead of waiting for others to invite you out, call them up first. If you want a bit of time for yourself, plan some activities that you previously enjoyed on your own.
- Avoid turning to alcohol and drugs to deal with the pain. It may momentarily make you feel better, but the after-effects will likely leave you feeling worse. Try healthier ways of coping with your emotions. Exercise is a great way to improve your mood, so take up boxing or go to the gym and sweat it out. Not only will you strengthen your body, you’ll likely get a boost of confidence too.
- Keep appropriate boundaries with your ex – Even if your ex was the one to initiate the break-up, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have feelings for you anymore. Perhaps they felt that breaking up was the best decision. If you don’t allow yourselves the space, it will cause both of you confusion and unnecessary stalling.
Need Extra Support After a Relationship Break-Up?
Although break-ups can feel like the end of the world, most people get through it with time and support.
If you’re still finding it hard to get on with your day, or your emotions are starting to impact your ability to work or connect with others, consider talking to someone. This could be a trusted friend, your GP, or a mental health professional like a psychologist.
Author: Katherine Vuong, B Beh Sc (Hons), MAPS.