How to Restore Balance After a Break Up
Updated: Mar 30, 2020
By: Dani Parmacek, LPC
Whether you have been dating someone for 5 weeks or 5 years, break ups are never fun. Break ups are change and loss. With change can come fear, and with loss can come grief.
The grieving process is unique for everyone. However, most people experience sadness and discomfort at some point in their journey. Our methods of coping can often add to the pain we experience. Restoring BALANCE may help you better tolerate the discomfort of a break up, and may jump start your healing journey. Here are some tips to restore balance:
Balance. This healing guide is all about balance, which makes the “B” of this guide the most key point of all. It is not the most obvious of our needs on this list, but balanced thinking can help you better manage and tolerate your emotions. After break ups, I will often hear people reflect only on the positive and happy moments of their lost relationships. My first tip is to stop playing the happy montage! The human brain likes to play tricks on you, and can filter out what you do not want to remember. This makes your perception skewed from reality, and can dig you deeper into a dark hole. It is okay to remember and reflect upon the times you enjoyed and will miss, but you must also remember that there are reasons the break up occurred in the first place. This does not mean that you should forget all of the good, but it does mean that looking at the whole picture will help you view the relationship more realistically, and help you stay balanced during this uncomfortable transition period.
Allow. After a break up, there is a common belief that you must distract yourself so that you do not become overwhelmed by sadness. While I do believe it is important to continue moving forward and to stay actively involved in your life, distraction is not the answer. Distraction implies avoiding feelings, which only serves to maintain or grow them. Be present in your life. Allow yourself to have your moments. Allow yourself to feel. If you do not feel it, you cannot expect to heal it. With that being said, allowing yourself to feel does not mean you should dwell. It is important to navigate the balance and the difference between keeping busy and distracting, and feeling versus dwelling.
Love. Surround yourself with love and support. No matter how strong you may be, we all need support from our loved ones. Support is key for helping to comfort you during this time of need, and will also help empower you to keep moving forward on days when it may feel like a challenge.
Acceptance. Acceptance does not imply that you have to like the circumstance, or even that you are over the loss. Acceptance means coming to terms with the new reality. Acceptance of loss allows you to start making necessary adaptations in order to get your needs met and to function in your life. It creates space for healing and new ways of moving through your daily routine. Accepting the loss after a break up helps you evolve, and allows you to start shifting your relationship with yourself, and the people in your support network. Acceptance is not an easy task, but begins with being able to tolerate the change and discomfort.
Notice. Mindfulness has become a trend in our society. However, this term is widely misunderstood. Mindfulness is all about paying close attention to the present moment without judging or needing to label an experience as good/bad right/wrong. It is about NOTICING your experience in the here and now regardless of whether the present moment is uncomfortable or pleasurable. Being mindful can decrease your suffering because your focus is oriented in the now rather than dwelling or worrying. That is not to say that mindfulness will prevent you from sadness or anxiety, but it will help you better tolerate emotions that arise.
Care. Self-care involves finding creative ways to cope and to nurture yourself. We all have our own unique experiences and strengths, which means that self-care will look different from person to person. Commit to at least one self-care activity per day. Maybe choose something as simple as deep breathing each morning or taking a bubble bath each night. Do activities you enjoy and express yourself creatively. Take care of you. Show yourself compassion.
Eat. It is normal to experience physical symptoms during intense emotional experiences. Your emotions can live in your bodies in ways that serve to decrease or increase your appetite. Continue to fuel and nourish your body. Your body is a machine that needs the proper fuel to function effectively. Eat all the food groups. Practice balance, variety and moderation. Taking care of your body is key to the healing process and will help keep you feeling mentally and physically strong.
What you may have noticed is that there is no magic spell you can cast, or short cut you can take that will make your emotions disappear. What you do have is the ability to channel your energy into your own healing. These are just some of my thoughts on healing from a break up, but I would love for you to take this and expand upon it. Think about your strengths and ask yourself how you can utilize them in your own healing process to restore BALANCE in your life.