Time heals all wounds. Please don’t ever say this to someone dealing with heartbreak, no matter the source. Although it may be true, it’s the last thing they want to hear, next to “if it’s meant to be, it will happen.” A broken heart can come out of nowhere and doesn’t have to be the result of the end of a relationship. Losing a job, the death of a loved one, and even separation for extended periods of time can all be felt as heartbreak.
It may feel like the world will never be the same, and that can be accurate. But that doesn’t mean we don’t need to take care of ourselves in the interim between completely devastated and things will be okay.
- It’s okay to grieve — Sadness, anger, loneliness, and guilt are all valid feelings when you’re grieving. Give yourself permission to feel what you feel. And if you’re feeling up to sharing your feelings, you may find a friend has gone through something similar and can help you work through them.
- Take care of you — When you’re dealing with heartbreak, taking care of yourself may feel like the last thing you have the energy for. Grieving is not only emotionally depleting, it’s physically strenuous, too. Research shows physical and emotional pain travel the same pathways in the brain. While meditation and exercise can help, don’t feel bad if you can’t do much. Simply remembering to eat and fuel yourself can go a long way.
- Let people around you know what you need — Whether you choose to handle things alone or wish to have company, it’s important to tell the people who support you.
- Get outdoors — Research shows that spending just 2 hours per week outside can improve your mental and physical health. If you can spend time in a nature park or just take a walk around the neighborhood, just do it.
- Laugh — While laughing may seem impossible during heartbreak, it’s good for your mind. Take time out at least once per week to do something that makes you smile. This can look like watching a comedy or meeting a friend for coffee.
- Seek professional help if you need it — It’s easier to share a problem than to deal with it alone. If you find yourself having a difficult time, there’s nothing wrong with reaching out to a mental health professional for help.
- Feel the pain — Suppressing how you feel is damaging to your health. Give yourself a few minutes a day to feel what you feel.
- Be compassionate with yourself — Think of how you would treat a friend or family member going through a difficult time. Then give yourself the grace you would someone else. Although it can be difficult, try not to judge yourself for how you’re feeling.
- Holiday healing — If you’ve lost a loved one, are separated from a loved one, or ended a relationship, holidays can be some of the most difficult times to go through. Try connecting with friends to create new holiday traditions or memories to help ease the pain.
- Your experience is real — No matter how long it takes you to heal or to move forward, it’s valid. There’s no set time limit on a broken heart. You’re relearning to live in the world with something missing, and however long that takes for you is how long it takes. Grief has no expiration date.
- It’s okay to be happy — You’ll find as you move through the steps of grief, there will be days you may temporarily forget. Finding happiness in these moments may feel wrong, but it’s not. Forcing yourself to remain in a negative state of mind won’t change things.
- Self acceptance — Being heartbroken is hard, and you’ll likely have days where it feels harder than others. It’s okay to not be okay. Accept that you’re having an off day, and try again tomorrow.
The difficult truth is, grief affects us all and it can change your life as you know it forever. You’ll have moments where you feel overwhelmed and moments where it seems everything will be okay. Feel each of those moments and do what you need to, for you, to get back to good.