When we go through a breakup (or anything hard), society and friends tend to send us the message that we’re supposed to bounce back better than ever. Breakups are so messy. They trigger lots of feelings that we don’t want to feel.
A former client and now dear friend reached out when her cousin was going through a rough breakup. Here’s what we know about feelings: If you don’t process them, they stay stuck in your body. Sooner or later, you’ll be consuming your feelings or they’ll be consuming you and exploding in other areas of your life.
When she pinged me to ask what I’d recommend, I knew that my journey would only hold pieces of answers. I reached out to my community and together we created a list of things that have helped soothe and heal. I don’t think there are any hacks or ways to make the process feel easier. But the more tools I have in my toolbox, the less I feel like I’m thrashing around, and the more capable of healing I feel (no matter how fast or slow the process).
I shared some tools from my box on Facebook, and so many folks jumped in to contribute. We don’t live and learn in isolation. Lots of wisdom was shared. So as with everything, take what resonates + leave the rest:
So basically, lean into your healing process. When I had a bad breakup, I wrote. A TON. Like, probably filled 10 notebooks. – LA
Got a conscious ink tattoo to remind myself: I am loved, I am enough. Calm app track on love & Kindness, Endings, Grief and Forgiveness. Walk in nature, hikes. Watched great romantic movies to be reminded of how messy love/life truly is and letting tears flow. Filled up my living room with balloons and popped them with a baseball bat. Great sound release. – TB
Definitely here for all of the basics of taking care of your body physically. I also really gave myself space to feel all the feelings. There were times when I was mad, hurt, or self critical and it really took me acknowledging that all of those feelings and actions are a part of the healing process. Women can be made to feel that we immediately need to go into “badass, goddess” versions of ourselves and throw on our billowy yellow dresses, grab our baseball bats, and start gliding down the street. But, it’s really important to give space to feel everything that you’re feeling before you start putting yourself back together. – AM
My dogs were my saving grace. They needed me present and attending to their needs, but they also had such amazing empathy and somehow knew they had a wounded member of their pack to care for. Seriously, my advice is find a furry soul to cry on/next to…and feel ALL of what you have inside. No good ever came from holding shit in. – SL
Get sidewalk chalk. Therapy saved me, especially when I began feeling guilt for being a broken record around friends. All-out journaling felt overwhelming to me at points, so I bought a “one line a day” journal in which I just wrote a sentence each day. I sat in the rawness and mess and processed until one day, I knew I was ready to wring it all clean. I bought myself flowers. I cut my hair. And I also support moving, especially when it feels like you’re ready to run to where your future self is pulling you, as opposed to running away from the brokenness. – GW
In addition to lots of quiet time, extra rest and sharing with close friends, I had to cry in the shower. For some reason the shower/bath made me feel extra safe and relaxed enough to grieve more fully. And to admit that I wasn’t okay. I said it out loud. That felt almost instantly freeing. – TJ
I found it helpful to read When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chӧdrӧn. – EG
Wow, this comment section is making me question my tried-and-true strategy of excessive booze and rampant sex with strangers! – SM
I’m a firm believer that we learn from each other and I want to hear from you. What have you done in times of heart healing?
Respecting the slow + necessary path of healing,
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