How to survive a heartbreak

Because you can and you will

It doesn’t matter who broke your heart or how long you loved that person, heartbreak is valid in all its forms. It could be a best friend breakup, a breakup with your partner of many years, or a breakup with someone you’ve only been seeing for a few months—come on in, you’re welcome here. Here are some survival tips:

1. Meet your own basic needs

You know, food, water, fresh air and sunlight, an occasional shower or bath of some sort—these things are actually really important (surprise!) for your mental health as well as your physical health. You don’t have to like it. It doesn’t have to make you feel better right now, you just have to do it.

2. Don’t project this feeling onto your entire future

You might find yourself crying into your cat’s fur and thinking oh my God, how am I going to live for the rest of my life without this person?! which can quickly spiral into I’m going to be alone forever. It’s understandable, but that’s not actually what’s happening right now, which means it’s in your imagination. Focus on what’s factual, and what’s factual is that right now (for example) you’re in your living room, it’s whatever time it is, you can feel your cat’s teeth wrapping themselves around your finger, and you’re sad. That’s all you have to accept.

3. Give yourself radical self-compassion

Say what you will about the “self hug” – it works. Pair it with self-compassion and you’ve got a recipe for healing. Wrap your arms around yourself and talk to yourself like you might talk to a child who is hurt and upset: “I’m so sorry, I know this hurts. It makes sense that you’re sad and upset. I’m going to take care of you, and we will figure out how to feel better. You’re safe.” Or whatever words soothe your soul.

4. Do something that brings you pleasure every day

Try to find something that feels good to do every day. It doesn’t have to be a whole production, it could literally be looking out the window or getting your favorite coffee or spending 5 minutes stretching. Or a little self-love (wink wink).

5. Give yourself room for error

Healing is not linear, as they say. You might feel a little better one day only to feel way worse the next. And you might do some things that help your healing process and some things that don’t help, like drunk texting your ex or looking at their Instagram. Don’t expect that you’re going to handle everything perfectly. Forgive yourself and move forward.

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