We’ve all been through the ups and downs of relationships. When healing a broken heart we often turn to whatever is most comforting, whether a pint of our favorite ice cream, a bottle of wine, or a sappy romantic movie to cry throughout. Sometimes these remedies make us feel better, but often they only succeed in making us feel worse.
Luckily there are some healthier ways to heal from heartbreak that will make you feel uplifted, invigorated, and ready to move forward in a positive way.
Healthy Ways to Recover from Heartbreak
DON’T distract yourself by drinking a bottle of wine.
DO distract yourself with other forms of entertainment.
The appeal of drowning your sorrows in alcohol is appealing because it is an easy way to numb the extreme emotions that occur after a break-up. But alcohol is a depressant, and will cause you to indulge in unhealthy foods that will only make you feel worse about yourself (and your body image).
Instead of drinking to distract, choose a healthier alternative such as reading that new best-selling thriller or taking yourself out to see an action movie with your best friend. Choose genres that aren’t associated with drama, relationships, or love. The goal is to feed the desire to distract at this time, not dive in to your feelings just yet.
DON’T overindulge in unhealthy foods.
DO go for a run instead.
There is often a greater temptation to turn to comfort food rather than practicing self-care. Indulging in unhealthy foods is a temporary fix for our problems that creates a domino effect of bad habits down the road. This is a slippery slope that could throw our health goals completely off track in the long term.
A better way to lift your spirits naturally? Exercise. The same feel-good chemicals that go bonkers in your brain when shoveling down ice cream occur also when you’re working out. It will not only make you feel better, but help you get your confidence back.
DON’T retreat into your room.
DO get outside and explore.
Sadness can make us want to hide in the cave of our room or home with all the blinds shut. Just as a cut needs a bandage, we have an urge to close ourselves off from the outside world in order to heal. However this can be a hole from which it is difficult to emerge.
In contrast, you can find solace and peace in the outdoors. Find a trail and take a long hike on your own, or plan a road trip to explore a town a couple of hours away that you haven’t visited before. Creating more space for your heart to grow is a much more positive way to heal.
DON’T rid your life of the person that hurt you.
DO remember the good stuff and learn.
We’ve all seen the movies and TV shows depicting friends crowded around a fire and burning every photo or memory associated with whomever broke their heart. Although it may feel as though you’re clearing space for the next person in your life, in reality you could be hindering yourself from growth.
Rather than destroy every connection you had with your past relationship, take time to remember what was good and reflect on what each of you could have done differently. It’s easy to fall into relationship patterns, but through this kind of exploration we can gain the knowledge of what to do differently the next time.
DON’T immediately jump into a new relationship.
DO take this time to build a better relationship with yourself.
The pain of heartbreak can feel unbearable in the moment, and many of us jump into the arms of a new partner in order to feel better through the eyes of someone new. They make us feel attractive and loved, the opposite of the way we see ourselves after a break-up. Although this new person may nurture your delicate state temporarily, it can cause you to repeat the same pattern throughout the rest of your life without discovering what your true desires and needs are from a partner.
Instead of seeking fulfillment from someone else, turn the lens on yourself. Start a journal and begin writing all of the things that you want and need. See if the list shines some light on past relationships, and see if you are constantly make sacrifices that aren’t aligned with your own values. Understanding what your ideal relationship looks like now will help you make the right choice of a partner in the future.
Going through a break-up is never easy. Luckily there are healthier ways to heal that will not only ease the pain, but provide you with the tools you need to grow and make good choices in the future. Consider this as an opportunity to make new and positive changes in your life.
With every ending is a new beginning!
[Credit: Fonooni, Neghar. “Breaking Open (Or, How to Grow through Heartbreak).” Neghar Fonooni.]