Imagine if you will, you have the plague. You’re in a bad way, really sick, fever, chills, the works. What do you do? You call in sick. You get plenty of rest. You eat healthy comforting food. You get plenty of fluids. You get out for fresh air when you feel like you can. You might even recruit a loved one to help take care of you for a few days or call a doctor. If you had the plague, you’d do everything you can think of to take care of yourself. You’d be unapologetic about it. Why? Because you know what it takes to get better and you know it’ll take time.
When you experience a breakup the same rules apply. A breakup is serious business. A breakup weakens your immune system. They send stress hormones through the roof. Most people either lose or gain weight following a breakup because both body and emotions are out of equilibrium. As an adult a break up is one of the most stressful events you can experience. Although nothing really takes the pain away, real, legitimate self care is the antidote to the physiological damage and sets the stage for emotional recovery.
I’m often either helping a client avoid a breakup or helping a client get over one. Some people struggle with recovery for years. Those people are the ones who can’t take their minds off the memories. They replay it all over and over again. Think about what should have happened and what could have been, all the time.
On the other side of the coin, I’ve had clients who quite literally recovered from ending relationships that had lasted for years in a matter of weeks. They used their breakups as an opportunity to get stronger by taking self care to the extreme. They didn’t get side tracked by the distraction of what happened and focused square on the present moment and treating themselves very tenderly.
Many people want to dig down in the hard business of emotional exploration after a breakup. They want to understand things and fix themselves. However, the timing isn’t right. It’s really hard to do that kind of self growth when you’re in shock and pain. I’m certainly not suggesting skipping the self reflection and growth opportunity. That would be pain wasted.
What I’m saying is you stand a much greater chance of actually learning lessons you can live with if you learn them after you’ve recovered your equilibrium. Breaking up really is hard to do. No matter how the breakup happens or who initiates, the process of ending a relationship and adjusting to the change requires a lot of mental, emotional, and physical energy. Your brain and body go into survival mode. So, the immediate aftermath of a breakup is the worst time to engage anything other than recovery.
So, if you’re wondering how to get over a breakup the answer is easy. Focus on you. Focus on taking care of yourself. Focus on things that make you happy to the exclusion of all other things, even if for a few days it’s a steady diet of chocolate. Be selfish. Enlist help. Get a massage. Take a class. Eat well, sleep well, and watch comedies. Take the focus off the relationship, the other person, and the breakup. If nothing else works at least be thankful you don’t really have the plague. Put your attention 100% on self care and you’ll surprise yourself. You’ll be feeling better in no time.