How to Take Care of Yourself During and After a Breakup

Nov 28, 2017

How can you take good care of yourself after a break-up? I’m Dr. Liz from A lot of people asked me, “I’m so heartbroken, what do I do now?” “How do I not just dive into this pit of misery?” Look, I get it, break-ups are so hard. It feels like someone is literally ripping your heart out of your chest. And it is so easy to dive into a pit of Ben and Jerry’s and misery and Netflix. However, that doesn’t tend to actually feel like good in the long run. So what can you do to make sure that you’re taking good care of yourself?

Well, number one, number one thing I would say is “Remind yourself of what actually feels good.” Here’s the thing, when I’ve been in the pit of Ben and Jerry’s, which trust me, have I ever been in the pit of Ben and Jerry’s? I’m eating all that ice cream, I’m doing all these things because I’m hoping that it will feel good. Well, while I’m eating that ice cream, I’m not really actually paying attention to it. I’m too focused on how sad I am or how upset I am or that script in my head of like how terrible they are or how terrible I must be for us to be broken up for me to actually notice what I’m doing.

So slow way down and notice the pleasure. Find something, a little something every day that will give you just a little bit of pleasure and dive into that. Be there in that moment. Be mindful, be present, be 100% in it. Because if you’re going to find that little small seed of pleasure, it’s going to help lift you up.

Number two self-care tip during a break-up, “Find your buddies.” In one of my other videos about break-ups, I talked about how you need friends who will give it to you straight and not bullshit you in the middle of a break-up. What you also need during your break-up are those friends who are going to come over and let you just cry all over them, who are going to pat your head, tell you it’s going to be OK, say all the things that you need to say. Find those friends, who are the people that you feel comfortable just losing it around, who are the people who can hear you saying all kinds of weird things and not judge you for them, who are those people who can see the full richness of your experience and be totally OK with it.

Number three tip self-care during a break-up, “Make sure that you're doing the basics.” Human struggle when we’re not showering, when we’re not eating or when we’re not getting enough water, when we’re not getting any sleep. So as much as possible, prioritize good sleep. Prioritize giving in some food. Prioritize getting in a shower. You know the rules at the conference that I go to are 6, 2 1. Make sure you get a minimum of six hours of sleep a night, you eat a minimum of two meals and take a minimum of one shower. These are great rules or guidelines during a break-up too.

Make sure you’re getting at least six hours of sleep as much as possible. Go to bed early, turn the lights off, work on dumping your brain before you go to bed so you can get some sleep. Make sure that you’re eating at least two meals a day. And meals can’t just be Ben and Jerry’s. Something that has some protein, that has some vegetables, that has some kind of vitamins to help brighten up your body. Make sure you’re getting at least one shower a day. Make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water. Human bodies don’t do well when they don’t have enough water. And if you can, get up and do some kind of movement. Even if you just walk around the block, human bodies are made to move. So when we don’t move for a while, our bodies start to feel really bad. and it’s going to make you even more sad and even more depressed.

Number four tip for self-care after a break-up, “Let yourself feel it.” It’s so tempting when we have feelings that are painful or challenging to try and run away from them or not feel them. Or, on the flip side, to dive all the way into them and become them. Instead, see if you can find a way to let those feelings be in you and pass through you. Emotions, they are like energy. Once they’re there, they have to run their course or they’re never going to go away. So you can’t just push them away and hope you’ll never have to deal with them. Trust me, they will come back. On the flip side, if you let yourself be consumed by and defined by those feelings, they’ll never end up running their own course. So see if you can just notice those feelings. Let them feel all the way through your body and be present with them without being them.

Number five, last tip, self-care during a break-up, “Be gentle with yourself.” Break-ups are fucking hard. No matter who you are, no matter how many break-ups you’ve had before, no matter how little you may have thought that this break-up would affect you, it’s OK if it’s really fucking hard. Don’t judge yourself for how you’re feeling. However, you’re feeling is exactly what you’re feeling and it’s OK. Emotions aren’t ever wrong. They just give us information so let yourself have your feelings and don’t judge yourself or shame yourself if it’s hard for you. if you’re struggling, that is totally OK.

So those are my top 5 self-care tips for break-ups. Do have great tips for break-ups? Do you have questions or comments? Leave them down below. Otherwise, I’m Dr. Liz from Sex-Positive Psych and I’ll see you soon.

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