Breakups are no beds of roses. You of all people know that, given that you are trying to solve the mystery of how to get your life together after a bad breakup. We won’t sugarcoat it for you. There will be those gloomy days when getting out of bed will seem like a monumental task. You could have a meltdown by simply looking at the mug your ex gifted you.
Your boss might give you an earful because you made so many mistakes in an easy project. As you keep canceling plans just to stay home and mope, your friends stop calling after a point. If this remains unchecked, it doesn’t look like a very promising picture – neither for your mental health nor your social and professional life.
Before you find yourself all alone, lost in the breakup blues, let’s create a ‘get your life together’ checklist. We will go through some actionable steps to drag you out of this emotional hell. To guide us through this journey, I have with me psychologist Nandita Rambhia (MSc, Psychology), who specializes in CBT, REBT, and couple’s counseling.
What Does It Mean To Get Your Life Together After A Breakup?
When someone says you need to get your life together after breakup, it means that you have to find the key to happiness within yourself. According to a study, three behavioral strategies can work like a charm to get over a breakup: 1) Creating a con list of your ex, 2) Accepting your feelings, and 3) Thinking happy thoughts to distract yourself.
Well, if you think you could get your life together in a day, you are wildly mistaken. Healing from a breakup is a long process that happens organically. It’s about slowly breaking the wall of grief and reaching out to your inner self. You rediscover your purpose in life and set new goals for yourself. Now, you can’t just forget all the memories overnight if it was a deeply meaningful relationship. And that’s when the ‘how to get your life together’ dilemma hits you hard.
After my last breakup, I asked myself “How do I get my life in order?” so many times. I was a complete mess, a big ball of anxiety, and the lockdown made it worse. If you are trying to get your life together when you have depression, the best way to go about it is taking professional help. My therapist’s guidance was highly effective for me to move on without proper closure.
Nandita says, “To get your life together after breakup basically means that you have to move on, and when I say move on, I mean in every way.” She breaks it down into 4 stages:
- Moving on psychologically, emotionally, mentally, and physically
- Letting go and being at peace with the fact that it’s over for good
- Working on your relationship insecurities to be able to develop healthy, loving bonds with a future partner
- Finally, taking a step ahead toward a fresh start with an open heart and a positive mindset
13 Steps To Get Your Life Together After A Breakup
Now that we have laid the groundwork, let’s move on to the part where we discuss how to get your life together. You are about to work on a great deal of intense emotions, and put some real effort into it. You may have to show major self-restraint at certain points.
But if you follow our tips on how to get your life together, rest assured, the whole journey will be a lot less painful and more of a self-revelation, coupled with healthy coping mechanisms. So, let’s do this. Let’s create a kickass ‘get your life together’ checklist.
Related Reading: Relationship Insecurity – Meaning, Signs And Effects
1. Say no to snooping around their social media (and their life too)
The first order of business is to cut off all ties with your ex, at least until you get a chance to process your feelings. So, no 2 a.m. Instagram stalking, no trying to find out who their new date is, no loitering outside their office acting aloof (hoping to bump into them). And vice versa – you shouldn’t try to deliberately poke jealousy at your ex by posting pictures of a parade of Tinder dates.
You wanted to know, “How do I get my life in order?” We suggest a complete social media blackout and no contact after breakup. Also, you have to promise me you won’t ring up your mutual friends to stay updated about their life. As long as you are keeping tabs on your ex, the closure will be miles away.
Nandita says, “If your relationship ended on a bad note or it was an abusive or manipulative relationship or if there had been any kind of negativity, it is extremely important that you cut all ties. Otherwise, those negative emotions can keep coming back, confusing you in your present life.”
2. Chant to yourself, “My relationship is over”
Often after a breakup, we tend to believe that this is not the end. We keep ourselves hanging on in the hopes of getting a call from them someday. Speaking from personal experience, it can go up to seven years (embarrassment alert!). So, if you are genuinely interested in how to get your life together, accept the fact that you won’t end up together. It’s over for good and you better tame the urges to drunk dial your ex in the middle of the night.
According to Nandita, “There’s no tip I can share on how to get your life together once and for all. It’s a slow process. First, you need to understand why you feel the urge to give them a call in the first place. It’s simply coming from a place of familiarity and security. The sense of comfort might make you swallow your ego and pride, and give in to the same old loop.
“Whenever you feel this urge to reconnect with your ex, remind yourself of all the reasons behind ending this relationship. Relieving the pain they have caused you might make it easier to let go of that sense of familiarity and help you get your life together when you loved them deeply.”
3. Acknowledge the negative emotions
You get one step closer to processing your feelings once you acknowledge them. No wonder a breakup takes you through a roller coaster of negative emotions. You may suppress them all you want by putting on a mask of happiness. But that will only stumble your progress in the healing journey.
Let’s face it, you can’t magically get your life together in a day. But you can start by naming your emotions. Let yourself feel what you are feeling in its full intensity. If you are sad, bawl like a baby. If it’s all anger, shout on a pillow, vent to a friend. Trust me, you will feel a lot lighter in your heart the next morning.
Related Reading: How To Emotionally Detach Yourself From Someone – 10 Ways
4. Play the sad songs and cry an ocean
How to get your life together once and for all? Remember allowing yourself the time and space to grieve is extremely important. Don’t fight your feelings or try to be overly strong. Rather, be your own companion for the time being when you still think about your ex day and night and can’t stop sobbing. Cut yourself some slack. It’s okay to live on a few tubs of ice cream to uplift your mood.
Our expert says, “Grieving itself has many stages. First, it will be the disbelief that your relationship is actually over. Then there will be a lot of anger if there is any negative emotion toward your ex. Later, you will feel the hurt. And then finally, the reality sets in.
“Each person processes these stages in different ways through different timelines. Also, there will be a strong desire to get involved in a rebound relationship. You should steer clear of that if you feel attracted to another person. Give yourself at least a minimum of two months of clean break or more than that before getting into another relationship.”
5. Do a cleansing ritual
The next item on our ‘get your life together’ checklist is a thorough cleansing ritual for self-closure. You have to get off that memory train to give yourself the pass to create new, happy memories. Now, an ex-partner bonfire might be too out there. But you should definitely get rid of the stuff that reminds you of them.
It could be a boyfriend t-shirt you love sleeping in or the dozens of shampoo and moisturizer bottles she left at your place. Returning gifts seems like an insensitive gesture. You could box them up and shift them into the loft, or donate them to someone. And before we forget, get rid of the 2045 pictures off your phone and gift yourself a clean slate.
6. Start journaling – a great way to get your life together when you loved them deeply
Another way to cope with feeling empty after a breakup is journaling. It is your best shot to keep yourself grounded and organize the chaos in your head. This is where you show up daily and put down your thoughts without censoring them – as simple as that. An unsent letter to your ex or a meltdown in black and white is a great way to let go. To an amateur, I would suggest starting with a stream-of-consciousness journal and easing your way to the other variants.
“How to get your life together via journaling?” you wonder. After you are done writing, go through those pages once. It’s like looking at your own emotions and the limitations you put on yourself from a distance. And trust me, when you see a version of yourself from a third-person point of view, it brings a hell lot of clarity to your cloudy head.
Nandita says, “Journaling helps you articulate your thoughts on the breakup. The thoughts that are running around your mind, journaling them on paper will enable you to process them in a clear and concise way. Journaling is also a safe space because it is just you in there with your feelings. Very soon, you will start looking at things in a more rational way.”
Related Reading: 13 Ways To Stop Crushing On Someone And Move On
7. Nothing like a kickass self-care regime
You absolutely have to take extra care of yourself to get your life together when you have depression. Of course, you start slow. For week 1, it’s just making the bed, treating yourself to a nice cup of coffee. Week 2, try to read your favorite book off the shelf. Perhaps you scroll through some of the self-care and well-being gift ideas (for you only) because you deserve the best.
Pick that phone and fix a coffee date with your best friend. If there was anything the past relationship was stopping you from doing, cross off all those items from your list one by one. Oh, and also don’t forget to stand in front of the mirror once a day and remind yourself that you are awesome!
8. Hit the road, take a short trip
A solo trip is an amazing antidote to a broken heart. If you are wondering how to get your life together when nothing else feels right, simply pack your bags and leave for where the road takes you. Go on a trek with a group of strangers if the mountains are calling. It will be a whole new experience and put your mind off the stubborn pain. Or you could spend a few days in a solitary barn in the woods, far away from the madding crowd.
Relationship and intimacy coach Shivanya Yogmayaa once spoke on this topic to Bonobology, “It’s important to reconnect with nature to heal your mind. Don’t go to your friends and beat the drum on the same topic. Don’t go to your family to seek rescue or refuge. Seek aloneness with yourself, in nature and in silence, because your reflections on the past and the wounds would help you overcome this phase.”
9. Set a routine to stay productive at work
Hey, you don’t want to ruin your career for the sake of a breakup, do you? You know how hard you have worked to build it from scratch. So, create a manageable routine to plan how much you want to realistically get done in a week/day and try to stick to it. It’s okay if you can’t initially. If you revamp your workplace with a little bit of color, it might cheer you up and offer the motivation to go back to that chair every morning.
Nandita suggests reaching out to a few family members and friends to confide your feelings in. She says, “Once you know that there is someone by your side, that you are loved, you will be able to concentrate better at work. It’s much easier than getting through a breakup alone.
“Sometimes indulging in work automatically helps you in healing because it keeps you distracted and engaged in something productive. Along with work, it’s also important to stay physically healthy to get your life together after breakup. Learning a few postures of desk yoga will keep your nerves relaxed and stress-free. So, just keep moving.”
Related Reading: It’s Not You, It’s Me – Breakup Excuse? What It Really Means
10. Reanalyze the relationship
Here’s another tip on how to get your life together after that breakup. When you are strong enough to look back at the series of unpleasant events that happened in your relationship, reanalyze what went wrong.
A relationship failed you. There is nothing to be ashamed of; it’s only a part of life. What matters is how you evolve as a person from the understanding you gain about yourself and human relationships in general. How to get your life together after breakup? Make it a point to work on these shortcomings from the very next chapter of your story.
11. Substance abuse? A big no-no
On the issue of substance abuse, Nandita adds, “People who have had a breakup are vulnerable toward substance abuse because they feel sad, lonely, and heartbroken. And your body needs a ‘pick me up’. Naturally, you start being dependent on substances that give you an instant high. It doesn’t have to be only drugs. Food addiction or binge eating is also considered a substance use disorder.”
In fact, studies show that alcohol dependency is higher among women in depression than men. Mark my words, it’s not the right way to get your life together when you have depression. It only gives you temporary relief from the hurt and pain, while making everything else much worse.
But like we said before, hiding from the negative emotions is not how we deal with a breakup here. A few pegs on the weekend is okay. But if you see bottles of wine vanishing before your eyes every day, you should be concerned.
12. Take charge of your life slowly
When the initial blues are over, you’ll be all set to take charge of your life again. You can start enjoying the awesome advantages of being single too. Perhaps create a list of short and long-term goals you want to achieve in the next five years.
We won’t suggest diving into another serious relationship right away, especially if you are trying to get your life together when you loved them deeply. Although, going on a few casual coffee dates might boost your confidence and make you feel good about yourself.
Related Reading: The First Talk After Breakup – 8 Critical Things To Remember
13. Seek professional help
Still a bit concerned about “How do I get my life in order?” There is no better substitute for professional guidance, no matter which stage of the healing process you are at. Just don’t expect a therapist to help you get your life together in a day.
Go ahead and discuss the issues with a licensed professional. It will certainly give you a whole new perspective to evaluate your situation. Help is just a click away with the skilled and experienced counselors on Bonobology’s panel of experts who are always here for you.
Is It Hard To Get Your Life Together?
Breakups are hard. The pain, the hurt, the memories, the drifting apart from your loved one. So, overcoming these hurdles won’t be a walk in the park either. Take it one day at a time. The first few days/weeks after the breakup may feel like the end of the world. You might live in utter despair that “I will never find another partner ever again.”
Eventually, you get habituated to an aching heart. Time fades away the bitter memories a bit. All your hopes, your dreams, and goals for a better future come back. Yes, it’s not easy to get your life together after breakup. But hardship is a part and parcel of life; it makes us stronger and wiser.
- Getting your life together after breakup means moving on from the past in every way
- No contact with your ex will definitely help you heal faster and is an effective tip on how to get your life together
- Face your emotions, name your feelings, and try to process them slowly, day by day
- Focus on self-care and time management for your mental health and to stay productive at work
- Reanalyze what went wrong in the relationship when you’re stronger
- Substance abuse is not a healthy coping mechanism
Now you know how to get your life together with these 13 actionable steps. Hopefully, soon you will find a place in your heart to be happy again and move forward with your life and career. Feel free to come back to us for more advice on breakup issues, dating, working on marriage – practically anything about relationships.
Breakup anxiety lasts somewhere between 6 months to 2 years. Although it entirely depends on the kind of relationship you had, your pace of healing, the support system you have, and how well you are able to cope with the adverse aftermath of the breakup.
A study published in The Journal of Positive Psychology suggests it takes approximately 11 weeks to view a former relationship in a positive light after the breakup. But again, there is no hard and fast timeline and it depends on each individual. Everyone has a different ‘how to get your life together’ strategy.
Your grieving period depends on how emotionally you were involved with your ex and also, the duration of the relationship. But still, you should probably give yourself a timeline of 6 months to at least try to get your life together. Anything longer than that might leave a long-lasting impact on various aspects of your life.