Surviving a relationship break-up can be one of the most painful, lonely, confusing and challenging experiences we ever go through. Like a bereavement, on an emotional level it can be one of the most painful processes in our lives. However, the relationship ended, it can feel as if your world has turned upside down and just making it through the working day can feel almost impossible whilst struggling to be productive can add to your stress level.
But… there are strategies you can adopt to get through this difficult adjustment in the healthiest way possible, helping you manage this most complicated of grieving processes in order to go on to have fulfilling relationships in the future should you wish. So, here are our top 10 tips for you to consider:
- Let yourself be upset. Listen to your body’s response to your loss and try to create space and time to feel the various and often conflicting feelings which are coming up for you. Acknowledging, accepting and expressing your emotions without judging yourself will help you to process your feelings. It’s OK and indeed normal to feel sad, angry, exhausted, frustrated and confused—and these feelings can be intense. You also may feel anxious about the future. Accept that reactions like these will lessen over time. Even if you chose to end the relationship, venturing into the unknown is frightening.
- Give yourself a break. Give yourself permission to feel and to function at a less than optimal level for a period of time. You may not be able to be quite as productive on the job or care for others in exactly the way you’re accustomed to for a little while. No one is superman or superwoman; take time to heal, regroup and re-energize.
- Don’t go through this alone. Sharing your feelings with friends and family can help you get through this period. It’s okay to want some time to yourself but isolating yourself can raise your stress levels, reduce your concentration, and get in the way of your work, relationships and overall health. Being with supportive people can be a big help and can provide a different perspective by talking things through with others. Don’t be afraid to get outside help if you need it. Consensus Family Consultants have a wealth of experience in skilfully and gently supporting people through the emotional process of separation and divorce.
- Take care of yourself emotionally and physically. Be good to yourself and to your body. Take time out for you. Give yourself ample time to sleep. Grieving is an exhausting process and make significant demands on your body. Try to do things that you find relaxing or treat yourself by doing something you really like. Try to take some exercise – releasing endorphins will make you feel better. Try to make some healthy choices in what you eat. Keep to your normal routines as much as possible. Try to avoid making major decisions or changes in life plans.
- Give it time. Allow yourself some time to cope with the change. Whatever you’re feeling now won’t last forever. Take it one day at a time and realise that there will be good and bad days.
- Avoid power struggles and arguments with your spouse or former spouse. If a discussion begins to turn into a fight, calmly suggest that you both try talking again later and either walk away or hang up the phone. Consensus Family Consultants can help you both to understand the conflicts between you and guide you to communicate in a more effective way.
- Keep busy. You might find yourself with too much free time on your hands, especially at weekends. Plan ahead and do things that you usually enjoy. Reconnect with friends and do the things you enjoy doing. Remember that break-ups can have a positive side. You can learn more about yourself and what you want from future relationships. You can develop coping skills and become more independent.
- Get back to your routine. Going through a break-up can create a sense of chaos in many areas of your life, continuing on with your routines will give you a better sense of stability. Although taking some expectations off yourself temporarily can help, returning to routines shortly after a break-up can help give you a returning sense of control.
- Remember that you can survive on your own. You don’t have to be in a relationship to feel happy. It is important after a break-up to remind yourself that you were able to survive on your own before you entered the relationship and you will be able to survive on your own now that you’re no longer together. Feeling scared of being on your own is part of the process and it is important that you seek support to avoid becoming isolated.
- Think positively. Things may not be the same, but finding new activities and friends, and moving forward with reasonable expectations will make this transition easier. Try to remain open, curious and flexible. Family traditions may need to change in line with your new situation. Try to help create new family activities. Life will get back to normal, although “normal” may be different from what you had originally hoped.
If you’re going through separation or divorce and would like some help to move on emotionally, improve communication with your ex or just need to talk to someone please contact one of family consultants.