How to Heal After a Break-Up

two young women comforting a friend as she receives a bad text message

Breaking up is hard. There’s no way around it, and knowing how to heal after a break-up is even harder. We’re here to help.

We’ve identified 4 common stages we go through after a break-up. You might experience these in a different order or spend more time in one stage than another. You may even move back-and-forth between stages before reaching the “Release It” stage. That’s okay. Whatever stage you’re in, we’ve put together some advice, playlists, and recipes to help you through this.

1. Feel it.

Woman lays on bed with her arms folded under head. Her eyes look sad.

Breaking up hurts. Let yourself feel it. Give yourself permission to experience the sadness, the confusion, the anger—whatever you need to feel in this moment. Remember that this stage is important, but you don’t want to get stuck in it. Set aside a short time, a few days or a week, to experience this phase and stick to your time limit.

It’s okay to feel distraught. It’s even okay to feel angry. But if you feel the need to engage in destructive behaviors, towards yourself or others, seek out support from a trusted friend, family member, or professional.

IMPORTANT: Don’t you dare text your ex. Not for any reason. Text your friends instead. Communicating with your ex at this stage is a recipe for disaster.

 Need some music to accompany a good cry and a chocolate cake? We’ve put together the perfect PLAYLIST for this stage, and found the perfect cake for one:

Chocolate Mug Cake

If you’re anything like me, you’re going to need a chocolate fix, and you’re going to need it fast.

Lucky for us, this 5-minute mug of happiness is the perfect pairing for heartbreak.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 5 Tbs sugar
  • 2 Tbs cocoa powder
  • 1 egg
  • 3 Tbs milk
  • 3 Tbs vegetable oil or butter (melted)
  • Dash of vanilla
  • Dash of salt

Directions:

Whisk all ingredients into a large mug until smooth.

Microwave until puffed, about 2 minutes. Top it off with Nutella for an extra layer of emotional support.


Embrace it.

Three women standing close together, face away from camera and raise their hands in the air as they look over the city.

You’re a strong independent woman. Embrace that single life with all the strength, courage, and fierceness inside of you.

Remind yourself what you like about being single. If you need some help getting started, here are some suggestions:

  • More time to invest in friendships.
  • Extra time to focus on your dreams.
  • Time to discover your own identity.
  • Freedom to travel or make plans on a whim, without having to check with your partner.

Sometimes what your heart needs is a reminder of how absolutely lovely you are. What better way to lift your spirits than listening to a fierce playlist and being surrounded by people that you love? Maybe that’s a night out, a day at the lake, or a bike ride down a new trail. Whatever it is, make sure you spend it with people that are important to you, and don’t be afraid to treat yourself. Have you been eyeing a new pair of shoes? A new book? Don’t go overboard, but let yourself splurge a little; you are worth it.

This stage’s PLAYLIST contains some of the fiercest, break-up anthems, and they’re a great accompaniment to a girls’ night out.


Process It.

Woman sits at a desk with coffee, writing in a journal.

Break-ups hurt, but we can learn a lot from them. It’s time to let your break-up be your guide. Taking an honest look at a break-up can be painful, so before you even begin, remember these important truths:

  1. You are worthy of love.
  2. You have much to offer the world.
  3. It will get better.

 

Whenever the process becomes too painful, come back to these affirmations. Repeat them until you believe them.

Here are some questions to get you started as you process:

  • What good things did I learn from this relationship?
  • What could we have done differently?
  • What can I do better in future relationships?
  • In light of this relationship, what qualities do I know are important to me in a future partner?
  • What did I learn about myself from this relationship?

Write a letter to your ex, thanking him for what he taught you. Express your disappointments and what you wish you had both done better.

Don’t send this; this is just for YOU.

Sometimes when we process, it helps to have a PLAYLIST of music to help us focus. Try these peaceful songs to accompany your journaling.


Release it.

Woman stands, eyes closed and hands behind head with slight smile on her face.

It’s time to let go.

Throwing things away can be both symbolic and therapeutic, and can actually help our hearts let go of what we’re hanging on to. (And let’s be honest, looking back at the cute texts, letters, and photos from our ex is just plain emotional torture.) It’s time to de-clutter and allow our hearts to move on. Don’t feel like you have to throw away every gift or photo you have with him, but if they’re keeping you from moving forward, dump ‘em (or at least stow them away for now).

Once this process is complete, breathe. Take time to do something that makes you happy. Go for a run, do some yoga, bake some cookies, read a book. And most importantly, remember who you are: strong, capable, and loved.

IMPORTANT: You’ve got this. Letting go can feel scary because it means releasing hope that this could still work out. But trust me, letting go is the best thing you can do for your heart.

This mellow/happy PLAYLIST is just the right vibe for moving forward.

One of the best ways to move forward is by taking care of yourself. And chances are you’ve been eating a lot of junk food. Try this healthy (and delicious) dish from Emilie Eats:

Greek Quinoa Buddha Bowl

(For one serving):

Prepare quinoa: Add 1/8 cup dry quinoa to 1/4 cup water. Bring to boil. Cover and simmer for 13-15 minutes or until fluffy.

In a bowl, top 1 cup spinach with the cooked quinoa, 1/3 c chickpeas, 1/4 c chopped tomato, 1/4 c chopped cucumber, 2 Tbs finely chopped parsley, and 1/4 an avocado thinly sliced.

Add 2 Tbs hummus, 1 Tbs hemp seeds, and the juice of one lemon wedge.

Season with salt and pepper.

Tip: Prepare extra quinoa and chop extra veggies for quick-and-easy healthy eating all week.

You are loved.

It’s hard to heal after a break-up, and maybe right now, it feels impossible. But you are stronger than you know. You are loved. You are important. And you are worth fighting for.