Break up, divorce, or dissolving a relationship is really tough mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally.  It is the death of a former relationship, and like the actual death of a loved one, produces symptoms of grief.  Sleep disturbances, whether it be in the form of insomnia or wanting to just sleep most of the time, loss of energy/fatigue, loss of appetite or eating a ton of comfort food, ruminating thoughts about the person, difficulty concentrating, loss of focus on a task, anxiety about the future, desire to isolate and not hang around others, questioning faith beliefs- these are all behavioral and cognitive changes that happen when someone dies.  But in addition, loss of relationship often includes questions about self-worth, doubt in one’s abilities, and lowered self -esteem.  Feelings of anger, guilt, shame take center stage, alternating with sadness, hopelessness, helplessness.

Similar to those who lose loved ones to death, friends and family have a hard time with relationship losses, and often in ignorance want you to hurry up and move on or replace the relationship.  “There are other fish in the sea” is a common expression you may hear.  Attempts to get you out of a funk, they my try to introduce you to other potential mates, take you to comedy movies.  The awkwardness may also produce avoidance- they don’t want to hear you talk about the ex and quickly change the subject.  Or just may want to distract you because grief needs a respite.

All of it is hard.  You now have a different lifestyle you must develop.  New behaviors and routines to establish, finances to figure out, social life to establish.  There are often other losses you are grieving, like loss of current living space, mutual friendships, loss of an innocence, trust in others, etc.  It can be so overwhelming and make you want to run and hide.

One thing to remember in it is that adjusting to life without the person is a process and will take some time.  Decisions do not need to be made overnight.  Some will resolve just by letting some time pass.  Time can also produce more options in choices.

Some activities to do that help with some of the grief symptoms:

  • 1. Express your feelings.  Write them down, move them, create, cry, talk to supportive people- get them out!  And not just one time. Over and over.  You may want to devote some period of time daily at first to just vent.
  • 2. Get outside. Find somewhere to go to be in nature.  A park, the beach, a mountain trail, a garden.  Look at the plants, feel the breeze, be in the rain, acknowledge the beauty in the colors.  Nature itself is healing and reminds you that there is so much more out there in the world.
  • 3.Move your body. Go for a walk around the block, grab a run, cycle, dance, stretch, practice yoga, kick-box, lift weights, move furniture around a room.
  • 4. Nourish your body. You may not have an appetite but it is important to eat even a few bites of healthy foods daily (early stages) and drink water. Limit alcohol and drug use as they can amplify grief symptoms and wreak even more havoc physically, mentally, emotionally.
  • 5. Listen to or play music. Whatever your mood calls for.  Play around with different types to explore what suits you.
  • 6. Connect with supportive people. Community is very important in healing from a loss.  Accept an invite to talk with someone, or do an activity or sport.  Even for a short amount of time.  Reach out if they aren’t initiating connection. Join a new group.  There are online support groups that focus on this type of loss.  Others in grief can give support and empathy.
  • 7. Spiritual practice with your faith in mind- prayer, contemplation, meditation may be a wonderful source of comfort.
  • 8. Count your daily “Wins.” Grief expert David Kessler says that the “win” can be as simple as eating some food or taking a shower, getting out of the house.  Acknowledge and applaud yourself for doing something to help yourself.
  • 9. Be kind to yourself.  Another nugget from David Kessler and other mental health professionals includes showing yourself some self -compassion by turning down the volume on your critical and judgmental voice.  We all have an inner critic and there’s nothing like a break up to get that critic talking loud and often. It’s hard enough getting through this time without you blasting yourself for your past behaviors and judgement.  Be your own best and loving friend.

I said it before and I’ll say it again- break ups are so very difficult.  Do small actions daily to help yourself and take your own time to heal.  I’m here to help you through this challenging time.  Shoot me an email, text or call me if you would like to schedule a session.

17821 E. 17th Street Unit #260
Tustin, CA 92780
(714) 941-2257

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