Breakups suck. It’s a matter of fact, and sadly, there’s no way around the emotional servitude, hardship, or downright suffering that can sometimes go all hand-in-hand with the old heave-ho.
Whether you’re the one doing the breaking up or the inverse, whether you were more in lust than in love or vice versa, and whether you’d been together for 1 year or 15, breakups are challenging at the level of our very souls.
This means it can take special and unconventional tactics to properly and fully get yourself over the hump that is the post-breakup misery, and back into the world of the living again.
Here are my 8 unconventional strategies for getting over a breakup:
1. Listen to stories
Based on my personal experience, this advice was once tantamount to a Perfect Strangers marathon every night until I could feel my heart again. Watching one of my favorite childhood shows helped me to take breaks from my anxiety—and have a genuine laugh now and then.
You don’t need to love Balki to make this work—simply pick something that speaks too you specifically. It can be anything: a funny show, a touching movie, an angry album, or even a Stephen King novel.
Whatever it is, immerse yourself in the stories of other people, imaginary or not. You may also find solace in these narratives, as many can provide closure or comfort.
By inhabiting someone else’s story, even for a little time, we can process the emotions and find a way out at the same time as the characters. It’ll act as a mild numbing agent and there is nothing wrong with indulging in our favorite narratives.
2. Don’t delay the suffering
An important part of your journey towards moving on, requires to go through the suffering. I know, that sounds awfully unnecessary, but the fact remains: you are going through a breakup, and you’ll heal much faster if you acknowledge and accept the pain.
It doesn’t matter whether the pain comes from betrayal, or the was brought on by having to leave someone you love for your own sanity. While suffering is temporary, refusing to suffer only prolongs or delays the pain. If you want a quicker resolution, the best thing is to get started on the suffering.
3. Get creative
There is no denying that breakups create a spring of creative inspiration and it would be a shame not to take advantage of that energy.
Doom and despair are arguably the best fodder for truly resonant art. Just ask any Renaissance poet. Whether you’re a singer, writer, illustrator, knitter, cabinetmaker, sculptor, or none of the above, you can always find a way to translate your inner turmoil into art.
Even if it only happens in private, the creative process is inevitably therapeutic. And it is much harder to feel destructive when you get creative.
4. Nourish fantasies
Now may be the time, if you’re up for it, to reimagine yourself living on a tropical island, starting a new job, adopting a new persona, learning to salsa, dye your hair a new color or whatever else it is that strikes your fancy.
Indulge your fantasies and rediscover what it is that makes you tick. Chances are you’ll have at least a bit of fun, and you may even surprise yourself. Plus, you’ll be all the better acquainted with what you want from a future partner—should you choose to go down that line again.
5. Be alone
I can’t stress this enough, and it’s all the more important if you’re afraid of being alone and you know it. While there are no hard and fast rules in love, some contemplative solo time will very likely and immeasurably benefit your heart and mind.
If you don’t believe me, you probably need it. In order to avoid acting out the same negative patterns from relationship to relationship (from the people we choose, to the problems we end up facing), it’s vital that you take time-outs now and then.
6. Get a haircut, clean your closet
Take advantage of this richly opportune moment to purge your surroundings of old, stale relationship reminders and conceptions of self.
Adopt a new look by trying a new hairdo or transforming your long tresses into a short, spiky cut. Hit a thrift store or a mall and get yourself a couple of things you’ve always wanted to wear but haven’t dared to in the past. In case you missed the memo, this is a great time to shed that which no longer serves you and reach out for the new.
If you’re dealing with an excess of nervous energy and aren’t yet ready to focus on re-creating your look, this one could be perfect for you. Shift your focus to changing the color of the walls in your bedroom, buying new sheets (this is a smart thing to do!), potting new plants, or reorganizing furniture. You may find it less painful and easier to eventually move on if your surroundings are at least a little bit altered.
8. Do what you gotta do, even if it’s not mentioned here
You’re you, and there’s nobody out there who understands the relationship you were a part of. That’s why breakups look different for everyone and requires different ways to move on. The essence of all the tips above is to allow room to cater to yourself in your journey towards recovery.
Sometimes, the stuff we need to do to get over a painful, aching loss is deeply personal and unique to us. Maybe you need to take up running, go on a road trip, see an acupuncturist, or learn to exhale under water. Whatever it is, listen to your heart and try the unconventional route.
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