What do you need the most after a tough breakup? As you wallow in the pain of heartbreak, the answer to this question remains elusive. There is no doubt that a breakup can feel like a debilitating punch in the gut. All you want is someone to just tell you about the things to do after a breakup, and you would follow it to the T.
Once the dust settles on this pain and agony, the process of healing begins. The only trouble is that for many people the process can be long-drawn and all-consuming. Channelizing your energies in the right direction can not only provide relief in the short-term but also speed along recovery from heartbreak. For that, finding productive things to do after a breakup is a good starting point. If only there was a list that could give you some clarity on how to heal and move forward!
Turns out, such a list might just exist after all. We’re here to share it with you. Let’s take a look at all the things you can do to feel better after splitting up with your romantic partner.
10 Things To Do After A Breakup
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If you ask us, our advice would be to try and focus on constructive things after a breakup that will not only change the course of your life but will also help you reinvent yourself. Yes, people end up doing a lot of silly things after a breakup, but that should be avoided at all costs. After all, you don’t want to do something rash or embarrassing when you’re caught in the spate of emotions only to regret it later.
A breakup can actually be a learning experience that helps you grow as a person once you discover the joys of being on your own. But focus on moving forward only after allowing yourself enough time to grieve. Breakups are incredibly hard to overcome and it is completely normal to feel miserable. You don’t need to rush yourself through the grieving process. But there has to be some point where you pick up the pieces and figure out how to move on after a breakup. To help you in the journey, here are the 10 best things to do after a breakup:
1. Start small as you find things to engage yourself with
You don’t necessarily have to go all out when trying to feel better after a heartbreak. You could begin with small, easy steps. Look around, both physically and metaphorically, and notice things that you could take care of or fix easily. Here is a list of things that could bring you out of your slumber of grief without cruelly yanking you out of your comfort zone:
- Change your sheets/make your bed
- Are there bills to be paid? Do it right now
- When you feel sad and lonely, think, is there something that needed dropping off or picking up? Step out. Get it over with
- Remember that article you had dog-eared ages ago? It’s the perfect time to read it and stow the magazine away for recycling
- Rearrange your furniture for a new look. All the heavy lifting will also get your heart pumping
- Before committing yourself to long walks, go on a short one to the neighborhood florist and get home some flowers
- Peel some oranges, core an apple, slice a banana, wash some berries. Fix yourself a fruit bowl
Small things need shorter commitment and give you a sense of accomplishment sooner. That is exactly the kind of positive reinforcement you need in your life right now to make you feel better.
Related Reading: 9 Probable Reasons You Still Think About Your Ex
2. Go on a solo trip
The simplest answer to how to move on after a breakup question is to simply change the scenery you wake up to every day. Go on a trip alone (especially if you have never been on one before). It doesn’t have to be lavish or long. It can be a weekend getaway to someplace nearby.
Going on a solo vacation lets you explore the world like you never have. It makes you independent and holds up a mirror in front of you, letting you know you are strong enough. It keeps your spirits boosted and opens vistas of knowledge. You get to reconnect with yourself, meet new people, make new memories, and savor the experience. Going on a solo trip definitely tops the list of things to do after a breakup that will make you feel better.
3. Do something you never thought you’d do
Never thought you could go a day without smoking? Do that. Did you think you could never go on a healthy diet? Try that as well. Challenge yourself. Push yourself. Whether it’s going to piano classes or learning yoga or going rock climbing, try whatever takes you fancy. Who knew dying your hair orange could help you get over a breakup?
Doing something you had only planned to do but never had the courage to might guarantee the push you needed to go out of your comfort zone. You are already feeling you have hit rock bottom, things will only get better from here if you just give this a shot.
4. Shut yourself off from social media
Social media has its perks, but for post-breakup shut-ins, there cannot be a worse enemy. The thing is, social media makes it impossible to practice the holy grail no-contact rule after a breakup. Lying on your couch, flipping through your ex’s recently updated post won’t allow you to mentally disconnect from your ex-partner.
Log out from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the numerous accounts you have spread all over the internet to maintain an emotional distance from your former relationship. If things get hard, replace your smartphone with a phone that doesn’t support advanced technology, at least for some time after the breakup. This digital detox may be a little hard to survive but it sure will be worth it.
5. Plan ahead to not let decision fatigue overwhelm you
Have you always been a spontaneous person who makes decisions at the last minute? Ever since the breakup, do you feel lost when making even the smallest of decisions? All the more reason why you should force yourself to plan ahead. Your mental energy is not at its prime at the moment. Planning ahead will take away some of that burden and leave you with fewer empty slots to wallow in sadness and drown in tears and ice cream tubs.
Plan what you are going to do in your free time or on the weekend. If you have neglected your friends before, make plans to spend time with them. Visit a family member you have not seen in a while. If you’re lucky to have a good friend who has your back during this tough time, lean on them for support and enlist their help to plan activities that can keep you productively occupied. Keeping yourself busy and engaged is definitely one of the best ways to get over a breakup.
6. Declutter and cleanse
The house must be in terrible shape since the breakup. You want something positive to do? Give the house a routine cleanup. A clean house equals a productive mind. A positive mindset will help you heal faster. Fold the clothes and arrange the closet. Throw out the empty wine glasses and clean the dishes that have been lying in the sink for ages.
Is any of your ex’s stuff staring you in the face? Pick it all up and throw it away or stash it in a box to send it back to them. (Resist the temptation to sleep in their t-shirt). All this work will keep you busy and leave you exhausted and help you get a good night’s sleep that’s been missing from your life for so long. It’s the easiest way to move on and find happiness again. To make the experience more cathartic, put on a Taylor Swift playlist and let the streaming tears cleanse your heart as your push through these mundane chores.
7. Try journaling
Even if you are not a poet, writing about your feelings is a great way to vent. In fact, journaling your thoughts is one of the best things to do post-breakup to help process your feelings and come to terms with them. You might have your best friend lending you a patient ear but the writing is therapeutic in itself. It often lets you analyze what went wrong and learn from past mistakes.
Pen down your thoughts and emotions; and if you don’t want to write about your emotions, write how your day has been, or things you are grateful for. Make a habit of writing for five minutes before going to bed. Writing is cathartic and it will help you get over the breakup.
Journaling can also help you practice forgiveness. Letting go of resentment takes a lot of courage and journaling can make the process easier for you. Making a gratitude list, focusing on personal future goals, and pouring your heart out when feeling low can make forgiveness a natural process. That forgiveness can lighten the pain and hurt you’re carrying within and it easier for you to move on.
8. Reconnect with your old support network
Friends and family members can prove to be invaluable support systems during times of crisis. Now that you have complete freedom and independence, you have more control over your time. Spend it with close friends and loved ones. Go for a night out and have some drinks with your old friends, or keep it low-key and plan a spa outing with your gang or a gaming night, if that’s your jam.
Also, be mindful of the fact that depending on how your relationship ended, mutual friends will need to pick sides. Don’t be surprised if you lose some of those friends. It is natural and happens to all of us. Think of it as an essential part-of-life friends’ filtration system. Quality over quantity!
This is the perfect opportunity to nurture your relationship with people who matter. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Let them know how you’re feeling instead of bottling everything up. But know that you don’t have to discuss negative feelings all the time if you don’t want to. Just being in the company of friends can be refreshing and revitalizing.
9. Set boundaries if you have to live together after a breakup
You have our deepest sympathies if you have been wondering how to deal with a breakup when you live together. Heartbreaks and cohabiting challenge the psychology of a breakup. Cohabitation counters the very thing that facilitates the healing process – NO CONTACT! But if you must live with your ex-partner (often due to lease, down payments, and such), the most healthy ways to get over a break up involve establishing clear boundaries and rules.
- Have a clear division of personal space
- Have a detailed conversation on splitting chores and finances
- Don’t fall back into the routine and patterns you had as a couple. Be deliberate about boundaries and separating your lives
- Discuss logistics of guest visits. You don’t need to get in each other’s hair when friends and family are over
- Don’t forget, moving out should be a priority. Try to set a move-out date
Related Reading: How to Move On Without Closure? 8 Ways To Help You Heal
10. Focus on self-care
When you are down and out wondering how to deal with a breakup, when your confidence and self-esteem are shaken to the core, practicing self-care doesn’t come naturally. Nor does self-love. However, you must deliberately try to care for yourself, give your inner child the love and attention it needs when coping with a breakup alone. Here are some things you need to focus on immediately and suggestions on what you can do:
- Hygiene and grooming: Under bouts of depression, the first thing to get ignored often is something as basic as taking a shower, or brushing your teeth. This is a gentle reminder. Don’t let your body rot away
- Exercise: Move your body. Any movement is better than no movement. Sit up and eat. Take a walk around the block. Take a longer walk next time. Slowly, graduate to formal exercise. Pick what you like to do
- Diet: It’s easy to drown your pain in alcohol and junk food. But you are invariably going to feel terrible afterward. Eat regular meals and make sure you’re eating healthy. Walk to the grocery store. Cook something fresh and easy
- Sleep: Practice sleep hygiene. Have a bedtime routine. Catch up on those z’s
- Meditate: A single session of deep breathing can help calm your nerves. Think of how much a few weeks of meditation can improve your emotional health
- Self-improvement: Learn something new. Read a good book. Nurture a hobby. Keep promises to yourself to rebuild that lost confidence
- When going through a breakup, finding productive things to do can often be your best bet to deal with difficult emotions
- Practice acceptance and allow yourself time to grieve. Burying emotions, making light of things, brushing feelings under the carpet can lead to built up trauma that will eventually negatively impact your future relationships and your mental health
- Journaling, meditating, practicing self-care can help soothe your nerves, give a sense of normalcy, help boost your self-worth and help you learn from the mistakes of your last relationship
- Start with small things to take care of, plan ahead and fill your social calendar, do something challenging like taking a solo trip
- To practice the no-contact rule in true earnest, go on a social media detox. Keeping tabs on your ex, stalking them will do you harm
- Set clear boundaries with your ex, especially if you have to cohabit with them despite the breakup
If your mental health and peace have taken a hit due to the breakup, you might want to try these tips, especially if you think you need closure. This list should have helped you out with your how to recover from a breakup predicament. Our advice always is to not fight the pain, instead, make room for it, be patient, and give yourself love. Only then, gently, take charge of your life and make deliberate adjustments.
Try some of these things to do after a breakup to properly get over someone rather than ignore your feelings and let them affect your future relationships. Deal with it head-on and face it once and for all! If you find the process too overwhelming and feel hopeless, professional guidance from a counselor may be what you need. Should you need it, Bonobology’s panel of experts is here to help you.
This article has been updated in December 2022.
Best ways to get over a breakup are centered around you. Focus on the needs of the most important person in your life. You. Take out time for yourself to process all your emotions. Don’t ignore your feelings by jumping into work and other romantic relationships you are not ready for.
Most guys look for hookups and rebound relationships instead of dealing with their emotions. They also feel obligated to “cheer up”. One must instead begin to accept the breakup, grieve it properly, and be comfortable in one’s own skin before going on dates with someone new.
Time heals all wounds. While taking time out for yourself, also make time for friends and family, go on trips, and definitely delete social media for some time. This too shall pass. Your best life is ahead of you!