What can I do about it?
Majority of individuals have experienced a relationship breakup at some point in their lives. When this happens we feel overwhelmed with emotion, it’s hard to concentrate, our appetites can change, we feel lonely and miserable, sleep is often restless and we would do anything to make the pain stop. Sometimes we swear off ever entering into another relationship because the risk of this happening again seems to great to bear.
When in a relationship we often think about the future, planning it with the person we are with, making decisions around the relationship and moving and growing together. Most of us don’t operate in our relationships as though they are going to end, but rather that they will become more committed. We take emotional risks and open ourselves up to the other, creating a bond and a level of emotional safety. When a relationship ends this changes. We feel vulnerable, deceived, confused and uncertain about the future. Nothing is as it was, the plans you had are now changed and different and the person you most counted on isn’t there. This is an emotionally painful time, often leaving us feeling powerless to cope in the aftermath.
These are various tools and ideas that can help you navigate through this time, to help you cope with what you are feeling, make sense of your thoughts and pull you out when your feelings are too strong. Pain is inevitable, life is full of bumps, bruises and broken hearts. These techniques won’t stop the pain but they can rather help you to tolerate it.
- Don’t push yourself to “get over it” in a short time frame. Allow yourself the time to be sad, grieve the loss of the relationship and experience the waves of emotions as they arise. Don’t feel as though you need to be past this and able to move on in a few weeks. This will take time to heal.
- Engage in some activities. Exercise, do a hobby, visit a friend, go for a walk, garden, play a game, go skiing or snowboarding. Do something that gets you moving.
- Do what’s right for you. Sometimes it’s good to get a fresh start at life. Move, have new surroundings or join a new group. Although there are benefits as well to keeping things consistent. Staying in your neighbourhood, keeping familiar comforts or attending the same gym you always did. Feeling like we have to change everything all at once can be too much change. It will depend on the person you are, but remember to do what feels most comfortable for you.
- Give yourself permission to take time out. Crawl into bed and pull the covers over your head for 20 minutes. Get a magazine and curl up on the couch with it. Take a blanket to the park and relax for an afternoon. Unplug your phone for the day.
- Be kind to yourself. Work on replacing thoughts such as “I am not loveable”, “what is wrong with me”, “why is this happening” with healthier ones like “I can stand it”, “this won’t last forever”, “I will get past this in time”, “I am doing the best I can”.
- Handwrite out your thoughts. This can help to get thoughts out of your head and on to paper to see things more clearly. Write without judgment of yourself, write freely not correcting for grammar or spelling. When you are done you can read through it and keep it or you can tear it up and throw it away.
- Work with your senses. Go through each sense: vision, smell, taste, touch and hearing. Do something that is nurturing and soothing for each sense. This will help to comfort you and keep you grounded and when you are overwhelmed by feelings it can help to pull you out of the spiral.
Experiencing the loss of a relationship is never easy. However practicing these techniques can help to get you through the most distressing times until you are better able to tolerate your emotions.