How do you get over a break-up?

Many of us were surprised by the news of Heidi Klum and Seal’s separation. After all, they had children and were together a long time – at least by Hollywood standards. While we’ll never know what really happened to lead to the end of their union, most of us have experienced a devastating break-up in our lives. Maybe some are still recovering.

There are many stages people go through when breaking up with a romantic partner – including denial, anger, and grief. These are all important emotions in the healing process. But sometimes we like to toss those painful feelings aside instead of facing them – by drinking too much, eating poorly, or having sex as a way of forgetting the pain. These are all ways of self-sabotaging that won’t lead you to the lasting happiness and peace you desire.

If you’re experiencing the pain of a break-up, there are some healthier steps you can take to get through it.

Keep your distance. You might think that staying friends immediately following a break-up is the best thing to do, but it delays your own healing. It’s best to hide or get rid of reminders of your ex around your house, including that beautiful necklace he gave you that you’ve worn every day since. Refrain from phone calls, meetings, and texts. Communicating only makes it harder to let go. Give yourself some space to breathe and be alone so you can gather your own personal strength.

Stay busy. Try not to stay in your house all day, turning down invitations from friends to get together. This is the time when you need friends and family around you. You want to be around people who love you and make you feel good about yourself. (Don’t call them if they tend to complain and be miserable – you need to be around more uplifting people right now, not Debbie Downers.) Allow your friends and family to support you.

Clean out your space. Break-ups also mean the start of something new. You can physically remind yourself of this fact by cleaning out closets or other areas of your home that have become cluttered and weighed down with stuff. Messes create stress, especially when you look at them every day, and you should be getting rid of stresses in your life. Cleaning out will make you feel lighter and makes way for new things to come.

Focus on other areas of your life. Instead of dating again right away, take some time for yourself. Sign up for the class you’ve always wanted to take and learn something new – it could become a new part of your life. Take that trip you’ve always dreamed about – by yourself or with a friend. Try out an adventure sport like skydiving or paragliding that challenges your fears. All of these efforts help heal old wounds and show you new aspects of life that bring happiness.

Stay active. Do you have a favorite sport? Keep doing it. If not, get yourself to the gym or dance classes or something to keep you active. Exercise produces endorphins, which help keep your mood in a more positive state. Also, you can release anger towards your ex in more productive ways – like kickboxing class.

Let go of resentment. This is probably the hardest part. It’s easy to become sad, angry, and bitter especially if you were wronged in a past relationship. But this doesn’t hurt your ex, it hurts you. It prevents you from truly moving on with your life. It prevents you from trusting another person and falling in love again. Don’t let an ex have that kind of power over you. So let go and move on. And I promise, you will.

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