Step #1: Let yourself be sad.
There are those breakups that are so bad that you will need a good cry and a pint (or two) of Ben & Jerry’s. Let yourself have what you need. (Note: Hanging with Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda will help too.) Let yourself go and let yourself obsess over every little detail of the breakup and the relationship.
You will need to do this for yourself. You will need to allow your mind to take it all in so that by the time you get back up on your feet, you know how you feel. The most important thing to keep in mind when you’re going through this first phase is that you should only limit it to one weekend. If it is was a really long relationship, four days might be necessary. But that’s it. After you have your pity party, it’s time to start getting happy again and getting back on that horse called life. After all, no one wants to be sad any longer than they need to. Which brings us to step 2…
Step #2: Then, cut out the sad stuff.
Stop listening to that emo playlist on repeat. (Yes, that means taking a break from Adele.) Once you’ve cried your heart out, it won’t make you feel better to wallow in your own sadness any longer than you need to. If you do need some time to think about everything again, tell yourself you will spend 10 minutes thinking about it and then move on. This will allow your brain to “schedule” sad time and you will feel like you have control over the situation instead of feeling miserable 24/7. Everyone wants to be happy—even people who get their hearts broken—so it’s time to start now.
Pump yourself up by turning on uplifting tunes, watch a great movie (one that doesn’t involve a sappy love story), or dive into an inspiring book. Also consider this: If your ex is the one who made you sad in the first place, it might be a good idea to cut him out too. Try doing a 30-day “cleanse” where you promise yourself you will not have any contact with him. It will help you to realize how much you can stand on your own two feet while he realizes how much he hates not hearing from you.
Step #3: Catch up on sleep.
Chances are you weren’t sleeping soundly when the news of your breakup first broke. I know that I get particularly restless when I’m stressed about something or going through a tough time. Make sure you are logging in enough hours with your pillow by taking the natural supplement Melatonin, drinking sleepy time tea, or even eating sleep-inducing foods. Your red, puffy eyes will not look any better with dark bags underneath, and not sleeping will make the days ahead even more difficult than they already are. Plus, sleeping will give your mind rest from all the overthinking it has been doing and it will give you clarity about what has happened with your relationship.
Step #4: Get busy!
Focusing your energies on your job, schoolwork, or your hobbies is the best way to get your mind off of your breakup, or anything that’s eating at you for that matter. Now is the time to start making those major career leaps toward the promotion you have always wanted. Or, take your breakup as a chance to ace your finals. It’s also fun to try something new, like finally getting yoga-certified and teaching classes at your favorite studio. I find that gaining new perspective by volunteering or doing community service helps me to get my mind off silly things that don’t matter.
Try becoming a big sis at your local Boys & Girls club. Getting busy will help you to focus on the challenges and adventures in your own life. It will also help to eliminate those moments when you are bored, thinking too much, and getting dangerously close to sending a (regretful) text to Mr. Heartbreak. Also, don’t forget to lean on your friends and family. They’re the ones who love you the most and they will make you feel that way too.
Step #5: Be your best self!
Now it’s time to give yourself a little TLC! If you have been down on yourself or feeling worthless, turn that around and start loving yourself again. Start showing your body some love too. The best revenge against your ex is looking fabulous. More importantly, it will make you feel great about yourself. Being lazy and eating junk food never makes a girl feel her best (the first weekend of the breakup is the one exception!).
Get off your couch, get to the gym, and get on a healthy track. Sweating it out at the gym will also leave you tired and help you sleep more. Also, get your nails done, go shopping, treat yourself to a massage. Or even better, take your girlfriends on that trip to Cabo you had been planning to go on with your ex. You will gain a newfound sense of self-confidence, and you-know-who will want to crawl into a hole the next time he sees you looking fit, happy and fabulous.
After you complete all of these steps necessary to surviving your breakup, it is important to keep one thing in mind: have faith! Don’t become a cynic who thinks girls rule, boys drool, and true love just doesn’t exist. Know that this heartbreak is a rite of passage in life. If you can’t have faith that something great will come along again, then really, what’s the point?!