How To Deal With A Breakup Alone (Without Losing Yourself)

Going through a breakup can be quite difficult when no one’s around to support you. Here is a brief guide on how to deal with a breakup alone and start healing.

Only the one who goes through a breakup knows how much the loneliness hurts, even more than the sadness.

You miss them in countless little and big ways. Helpful advice from friends sounds meaningless.

With the breakup, you lose the person as well as the habits that you built around them.

Your healing will have you grieving the loss of them as well as of those habits.

How To Deal With A Breakup Alone, Without Losing Yourself?

There isn’t a perfect way to handle a breakup, and your response will be unique with each breakup.

Two things. First, realize that you didn’t waste your love on them. Second, accept that your past with them doesn’t define who you are going to be.

Here are some healthy ways to deal with your breakup by yourself:

1. Take a slow walk through a forested area.

Take a walk among the giant trees, especially as they are waking up in the mornings.

Large trees have a proven healing effect. They release phytoncides (wood essential oils) into the air – chemicals that, when we breathe in, produce many healthful effects.

You don’t need to walk fast; instead, a slow, mindful stroll does the trick. Spend around 20-30 minutes focusing on the forest, like the different colors of leaves, the sounds of streams, or the warmth of sunshine beaming between leaves.

In Japan, this practice of immersing oneself in the forest atmosphere is known as shinrin-yoku, a phrase coined in 1982. Look at the research on it:

  • Phytoncides can reduce depression, anxiety, stress, and anger (Kotera, et al., 2020).
  • A forest walk can enhance relaxation, gratitude, and selflessness (Pritchard et al., 2019).
  • A forest walk promotes the health of our hearts and lungs, as well as boosts our immunity (Williams, 2016). 
  • A research team led by Qing Li found that phytoncides enhance human Natural Killer cell activity and anti-cancer proteins.
  • This research shows that shinrin yoku lowers the concentrations of cortisol (“stress hormone”), raises our heart rate variability (which is a good thing), and stimulates our vagus nerve system (that directly relaxes our organs).

All these reasons relax the forest walkers more than the city walkers.

To reap some benefits, when you’re too weary to walk, go to a forested area and just sit there, inhaling the phytoncides.

2. Make time for exercise every day.

Getting into an exercise habit is the simplest, yet the hardest thing to do when you’re in a post-breakup stage.

First, write down what stops you from exercising: tired, unmotivated, busy, too costly, or too hard to join a gym. Discuss them with your doctor to find solutions.

Exercise has been proven to reduce stress, anxiety, and fatigue. It also improves your decision-making and intuitive abilities.

One surprisingly helpful find: exercise can reduce your anger.

You can do Zumba or the TikTok viral ab dance, or something else that you love, to get over your anger from the breakup.

TIKTOK DANCE WORKOUT!

You know what, you can start wherever you are. Can’t you get up from your chair and do a few steps from the video right now?

Exercising can be a challenge, and here is a nifty guide to help you get into a habit of daily exercise.

3. Plan a solo-date to enjoy your own company.

A solo-date affirms your love for yourself. And when you love yourself, you respect and trust yourself more, honor your commitments and self-worth, and are a friend and partner to yourself.

  • Plan your solo dates to engage in an activity that relaxes and entertains you, or pushes you a little outside your comfort zone for an adrenaline surge.
  • Don’t be self-conscious on your solo date. You may have the habit of imagining that people are focused on you and closely watching your activities (called the spotlight effect). In truth, they are the least bothered about you.
  • If you find you’re not enjoying the activity, try another one the next time. In any case, trying something new every time is a refreshing approach.
  • Spend a day at a coffee shop reading a long-missed book. Be a tourist in your city. Go to a museum or art gallery.
  • Spend a day beautifying your dining place, get dressed up for dinner, and order your most liked foods.
  • Pick up activities from your bucket list (like paragliding or rock climbing) and go for it.
  • Start small before taking yourself out on more elaborate solo dates.

3. Write down your experiences and emotions.

a. Self-compassion letter

Self-compassion is the acceptance of your vulnerabilities and imperfections without criticism.

Write a self-compassion letter with this step-by-step process:

  1. Pick what makes you feel shameful, vulnerable, or inadequate.
  2. Honestly describe how it makes you feel, labeling your emotions.
  3. Write yourself a letter, accepting the stressful experience you wrote about.
  4. After writing the letter, keep it away for a time. Then go back and read it again later.

An example, “You feel ashamed because ( … ). It’s a moment of suffering. But suffering is a natural part of human life and everyone goes through it. You’re strong enough to accept yourself and your past mistakes. Now place a hand over your heart and show yourself the love you deserve, my friend.

b. Gratitude journal

Writing a gratitude journal can make you happier, help you sleep better, and even ease the symptoms of physical pain.

Record in a journal an opportunity, scene, event, or person you are thankful for.

For example, “I am grateful for having Jane in my life for she always reminds me to eat and sleep on time.”

Read this short guide on the Three Good Things.

c. Writing therapy

Writing Therapy is a positive psychology intervention to increase your happiness.

Writing therapy involves investigating personal thoughts and feelings through writing.

It can help you organize your thoughts, uncover your suppressed emotions, find solutions, forgive yourself, express gratitude, and see the future more optimistically.

Writing with a therapist can help you process your painful, “pushed under the carpet” issues. They can guide your healing from past trauma (Pennebaker, 1986), improving your physical and psychological health (Nicholls, 2009).

Some common methods of writing therapy include

4. Practice The Stoic Technique of Amor Fati.

Amor Fati is accepting what has happened and cherishing life, while still carrying out our responsibilities.

When you practice amor fati, you accept your breakup. Accepting lets you stop fighting the past, and lets you change your future.

Let the words of holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl inspire you:

“You cannot control what happens to you in life, but you can always control what you will feel and do about what happens to you.”

Nietzsche gave us the term “amor fati” in 1882, meaning the love of fate. He said we should boldly love our fate, accept our responsibilities, and learn to surpass ourselves.

However, the concept of “willing acceptance” has existed since the times of the ancient Roman Stoics, of Epictetus, Seneca, and Marcus Aurelius.

“Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.” — Marcus Aurelius

6. Embrace Your Negative Emotions

It’s natural to feel a range of negative emotions after a breakup, including sadness, anger, and confusion.

Rather than avoiding or escaping these, experts say it is important to embrace your negative emotions.

Grieving the end of a relationship is a necessary part of the healing process.

By acknowledging and processing these difficult emotions, you can begin to move forward and recover from the breakup more quickly.

7. Prioritize Self-Care

In the aftermath of a split, it’s easy to neglect self-care.

This can manifest in various ways, such as not keeping a clean living space, not eating a balanced diet, or isolating oneself at home.

However, it’s crucial to prioritize self-care during this time. At the very least, ensure you’re eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and maintaining good personal hygiene.

These basic self-care practices can go a long way in helping you feel better physically and emotionally.

8. Engage in Joyful Activities

One effective way to cope with a breakup is to spend time doing things you enjoy.

Pursue your hobbies and consider exploring new interests.

Whether it’s painting, hiking, reading, or learning a new instrument, these activities can provide a helpful distraction from your feelings of sadness.

Spending time with friends while doing these activities can provide extra support and companionship in these challenging times.

9. Be Patient with Yourself

Healing takes time, so be patient with yourself.

Breakups are challenging but remember, like many others, you will get through this, one day at a time.

It’s okay to have good days and bad days.

Everyone’s healing timeline is different; respect your own.

It’s okay to heal at your own pace and allow yourself to not rush the process of recovery.

10. Avoid Contact with Your Ex

To help with the healing process, it’s often best to break contact with your ex.

Remove their information from your phone and social media accounts.

You might also want to avoid places where you’re likely to run into them, as this could lead to undesired interactions.

By creating some distance, you can give yourself the space you need to heal.

11. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

It’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others, especially your ex.

However, remember that people often only show their best selves on social media, and this may not reflect their true feelings or experiences.

Instead of focusing on others, concentrate on yourself. Get optimally busy, work on enhancing your unique qualities, and create new, positive experiences for yourself.

12. Seek Support

Don’t hesitate to reach out for support during this time.

Share your experiences and feelings with a trusted friend, family member, or therapist.

Speaking about your feelings can provide a sense of relief and can help you feel less alone.

Remember, it’s okay to ask for help when you need it.

Overcoming Loneliness After A Breakup

“I’m scared to be alone after a breakup.”

Loneliness is contagious, so after a breakup, avoid being around lonely people.

Studies show that (non-lonely) people who hang out with lonely people are more likely to be lonely themselves.

Loneliness affects nearly one in three people. Despite the prevalence of social media and smartphones, more and more people feel lonely today.

Long periods of isolation can make us physically and mentally ill because humans need connection and interaction.

Loneliness leads to feelings of anxiety and depression. It also increases the risk of early death and Alzheimer’s disease.

It often makes people blame themselves for failures and question their worth. Lonely men are less resilient and tend to be more depressed than lonely women. 

Olivia Remes, Ph.D., is a professor at the University of Cambridge. She found anxiety and depression often contribute to feelings of loneliness.

Her research found two strategies can help combat loneliness:

  1. Start little conversations: Going out to meet people can be tough, so focus on daily encounters like at the grocery store or coffee shop. Use these moments of interaction with strangers. Like, when they ask for directions, start a small talk instead of a quick answer. Ask questions and share about yourself. These chats can help build unexpected friendships.
  2. Share about yourself: Loneliness often leads people to disclose less about themselves. Getting rid of loneliness is also about letting go of cynicism and mistrust of others. So, the next time you meet someone new, try to lose that protective shield. Allow them in, even though you don’t know what the outcome will be. Share your stories, thoughts, preferences, and opinions, even if they differ from others.

“It seems the number one thing is to change your perceptions of the world around you. It’s realizing that sometimes people aren’t able to meet up with you, not because there is something inherently wrong with you, but because of other things going on in their lives.”

– Olivia Remes

Can you get over a breakup alone?

Yes, it is possible to get over a breakup alone. Being alone could be a good option to allow yourself time to grieve and process your emotions. There is no right or wrong way to do this, so find what works best for you.

It can be hard to figure out how to move forward when a relationship ends. You could learn to use the power of silence after breakups to heal and live a happier life.

Of course, it helps to get in touch with supportive people, your friends, family, or online connections.

There is no shame in seeking help if you are struggling to cope with social loneliness after a breakup.

Talk to a therapist, join a support group, or read self-help books to make a positive difference in your recovery.

how to deal with a breakup alone

FAQs

  1. How do I get over my loneliness after a breakup?

    Take a small break from familiar surroundings and let yourself feel the sadness of the breakup. Traveling makes you happier. Do things you loved to do before you knew them. Avoid falling for a rebound relationship and instead, immerse yourself in songs and stories of survival, optimism, and resilience.

  2. How long is too long to be sad after a breakup?

    There is no set time limit for overcoming grief after a breakup. People may take several weeks or even years to pull through. Some estimates say that it takes an average of six weeks to recover from a breakup; however, relationships that lasted longer may take longer.

  3. What are the best places to say farewell to a former love?

    Usually, people prefer a private place for breaking up with a former loved one. It could be a homely setting. Find out where to break up with someone you love, and the places where not to.

  4. What are things “not” to do after a breakup?

    Here are some things you should avoid doing after a breakup:
    Don’t stalk your ex on social media. It’s tempting to check up on your ex to see what they’re up to, but this will only make it harder for you to move on.
    Don’t beg your ex to take you back. If your ex has decided to end the relationship, there’s nothing you can do to change their mind. Pushing them will only make them more likely to want to stay away from you.
    Don’t make rash decisions. It’s easy to make impulsive decisions when you’re feeling hurt and emotional. Don’t quit your job, move to a new city, or get a tattoo in the heat of the moment. Give yourself some time to cool off before making any big decisions.
    Don’t rebound. Rebound relationships are often short-lived and can make it harder to move on from your ex. If you’re not ready to start dating again, it’s best to wait until you’ve had some time to heal.
    Don’t blame yourself. It’s easy to start blaming yourself for the breakup, but it’s important to remember that it takes two people to make a relationship work. If your ex has decided to end the relationship, it’s not because of anything you did wrong.
    Don’t isolate yourself. It’s important to stay connected with your friends and family during a breakup. They can provide you with support and help you to get through this difficult time.
    Don’t give up on love. Just because one relationship didn’t work out doesn’t mean that you’ll never find love again. Give yourself time to heal and then start looking for someone who is right for you.

Final Words

Breakups hurt, whether they end on an amicable or ‌a toxic note.

Still, what hurts the most are the massive withdrawal symptoms, like those felt by an addict when separated from their drug, causing loneliness, emptiness, and helplessness.

The right things to do after a breakup are:

  • Bounce back to your normal self in little steps, at your own pace.
  • You don’t have to make long-term plans; just take one day at a time.
  • If it feels like fun, go ahead and enjoy it; no one has stopped you from having fun.

• • •

Breakups are hard times. Stoicism can help:

• • •

Author Bio: Researched and reviewed by Dr. Sandip Roy — a medical doctor and psychology writer, with a unique focus on mental well-being, positive psychology, narcissism, and Stoicism. His empathic expertise has helped many mental abuse survivors find happiness again. Co-author of ‘Critique of Positive Psychology and Positive Interventions’.


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