Beyoncé once sang, “Me, myself, and I, that’s all I got in the end, that’s what I found out. And it ain’t no need to cry, I took a vow that from now on I’m gonna be my own best friend.” Honestly, she was onto something. Self-care after a breakup is crucial. And while you don’t have to go through your breakup recovery process alone, it is helpful to learn how to “be your own best friend” by nurturing yourself with the love and compassion you’d show one of your own homies going through a breakup.
Maybe you’re parting ways with your ex because you’ve consistently put their needs above your own, and it’s high time you take care of yourself. Maybe your visions for the future didn’t align, or you struggled to make time for each other. At the end of the day, whatever reason you had for ending your relationship (especially if you never thought you’d have to get over this partner) can be heart-wrenching. When the dust settles, make like Beyoncé and commit to nurturing yourself. If you’re not quite sure how to start doing that, here are self-care tips from 12 people who got through their own breakups.
Balance Time For Yourself With Socializing
I gave myself a couple of days of my usual self-care routine (alone time, calming music, food I loved, candles, a nice shower, either a good show or reading material, maybe a face mask) and I let myself cry. Writing my emotions helped a lot. It helped me process everything better. And then I made sure to plan fun activities with my friends. I forced myself to participate in social things with people I loved, to remind myself that this person isn’t going to change the amount of love I have in my life. It helped me secure the love I have for myself.
— Daphne, 22
Practice Gratitude (& Update Your Facebook Settings)
One: Reach out to friends. Isolating [yourself] is probably the worst thing you can do and will make you feel even more alone. Two: Start a Notes file on your phone and commit to writing three things you’re thankful for each day. On bad days, go back and read through. Three: [Change your settings on] Facebook and Instagram so that memories from the time you were together won’t come up on the throwback feature. It sucks when these show up out of nowhere.
— Mijal, 25
Mute Your Ex For However Long You Need
I temporarily mute[d] him from all my social media. I didn’t un-mute him until I was fully over the situation, even though he reached out sooner than that. The mute button saves lives.
— Taylor, 24
Be Introspective, However That Looks For You
Journaling. So much journaling. Even just before the actual breakup, when things weren’t good and I felt like I was overwhelmed with feeling everything. Also, tarot videos were useful sometimes. [It was helpful] more for the soothing voice of readers and shuffling of cards and the focus on self-introspection than tangible “breakup” tips, as well as learning about something new to me.
— Ruby, 28
Learn Something New
Journaling, practicing gratitude, making mantras to repeat to myself, writing [my feelings] out in poetry, networking and going full force into career advancement, [but also] spending down time on educational content like LinkedIn Learning, TED talks, and books.
— Lorena, 22
Pick Up An Exciting Hobby
I started boxing. I had done it a bit before the breakup, but after it, I was ready to rumble. I got really good, really fast, and am now dedicated to it much more than I was to my ex.
— Faith, 20
Address Your Anger
I stand up for myself. Everyone said that time was the ultimate and sole healer, but I’m never able to fully move on until I make clear to the ex where they’ve done me wrong or why I’m angry.
– Sarah, 24
Just Let Yourself Feel
For me, the self-care that helped the most after my breakup was the mental self-care of allowing myself to feel whatever I needed to feel in that moment. I chose not to feel the pressure to label us as distinctively “broken up” and to move on very quickly, and instead allowed my ongoing friendship with this person to flow and change as time went on. This sometimes required some stern internal pep talks, but the basics of it was just constantly reminding myself that we don’t have to fit into a box or prescribed timeline.
— Jessi, 22
Lean On Your Friends
I remember the night of the breakup, I had friends call me one after the other while I just cried on the phone with them. Then my best friend and I sat in the McDonald’s parking lot for like two hours while I just focused on the negatives and realized [my relationship] wasn’t for the best. A friend suggested writing a letter but to not sending it to them…
I’ve always been afraid of leaning on my friends too hard, but this made me realize that I can lean on them and they’ll support me during one of my most difficult times. I’ve never felt more loved and it made me realize that I’m not alone and I am so loved. It eased a lot of the heartbreak.
— Cher, 23
Know You Don’t Have To Throw Your Ex’s Stuff Away
I had a lot of stuff left over from our relationship and most people say to burn it or throw it away, but I’m sentimental and someone recommended putting it in a box out of sight and to go through things later. After awhile, I still felt hesitant about throwing things away and one of my friends mentioned the Marie Kondo method: Go through everything, see if it sparks joy and keep it, or thank it and let it go. That really helped.
— Cher, 23
Re-Design Your Space
Cutting and dying my hair. Getting my eyebrows done. Mani-pedi. Buying a new book and some new lingerie. I also buy some candles, do a deep cleaning in my bedroom, and change the aesthetic (move furniture and donate clothes). So, it’s like I never dated them in the first place.
— Nicole, 25
Try Not To Let It Debilitate You
Spend a week being miserable about it if you feel so inclined. I [personally] write, listen to Adele, cry, lay in bed, stare at the ceiling, and try to imagine how I could have saved [the relationship] if I was just a little bit different. Then after a week, I go be with the people I love, even when I’m not feeling up to it. I push myself to feel it all fully, but not let it debilitate me.
— Genna, 21
Remember Who TF You Are
I pretty much got rid of everything to do with my ex and let myself have the time to cry and be angry, before doing a face mask and doing the things that made me happy that weren’t associated with him.
I honestly think one of the most important parts of self-care post-breakup is to let yourself be sad, [but] not be sad forever — because you’re a bad b*tch and you gotta get back out there when you’re ready.
— Ashleigh, 21
With some compassion, patience, and a gentle reminder to do the things that make you feel good in your skin, you can be well on your way to bouncing back from a breakup.
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