The worst part about a breakup is often the moment when you realize that ending the relationship was only half the battle. Even if you feel confident that breaking up was the right move, readjusting to a new sense of normalcy will take time. During the messy and emotional period following the separation, you may notice that your anxiety levels are higher than normal. Fortunately, there are some therapist-approved tips for post-breakup anxiety that can help you cope, and ultimately, move forward.
"Breakups are filled with emotions including sadness, anger, and anxiety," Dr. Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, tells Elite Daily. "Although not everyone will experience anxiety after a breakup, those who do will have different reasons for feeling anxious." According to Dr. Klapow, there are many aspects of a breakup that could be causing you to feel off. "Anxiety about being alone, having to change out of a comfortable routine, worrying about what your ex is doing, or nervousness about getting back into the dating scene are all reasons why you may not be feeling like your best self after a breakup." In order to work through these tricky emotions, the first step is to get to the root cause of your feelings.
1. Identify The Source Of Your Anxiety
Since anxiety is not one-size-fits-all, it's important to take the time to analyze which aspect of the post-breakup process is causing you the most distress. "It’s easy to slip into the feeling of 'just being anxious,'" explains Dr. Klapow. "But the more specific you can be about what you're anxious about, the easier it is to address the anxiety and manage it." Letting your anxiety remain too general could allow it to permeate unrelated areas of your life, warns Dr. Klapow.
2. Fully Embrace Your Fresh Start
Even though it's easy to focus on the loss associated with ending a relationship, breakups also present the opportunity to start over. Embracing your new reality by cultivating habits that may help you feel more grounded during this uncertain time are key. "Consider making changes in your life to promote a sense of calm and wellbeing," says Dr. Klapow. "Create new spaces where you live that look different and are designed to focus on a new chapter." Whether you decide to redecorate, move out of the space you shared with your ex, or simply buy a few new plants to bring in some fresh energy, there are so many ways to turn over a new leaf.
3. Lean On Your Friends And Family For Support
The sudden loneliness that can come from being thrust back into single life is no joke. Now is the time to reach out to your friends and family for extra support. "Try to spend more time connecting with family and friends," says Dr. Klapow. "Let them know what you are going through and allow your social connection with them to ease your anxiety." Hanging out with friends probably won't be a cure-all, but it can be a welcomed distraction from the jitters.
4. Give Yourself Space And Time To Reflect
When sorting through the complex emotions left behind in the wake of a breakup, reflecting on the deeper implications of your anxiety, and what it may reveal about your mindset, is key. "The biggest mistake you can make is to ignore the anxiety you are feeling and 'just move on,'" warns Dr. Klapow. "The reality is that the anxiety is giving you information about how you saw the relationship, your ex, yourself, and your future." While analyzing this information can be both painful and daunting, skipping this step could lead to less clarity on the situation later down the line.
"Don’t just jump into another relationship," urges Dr. Klapow. "Learn about why you are anxious, what it means about your approach toward relationships, and how you can grow from this experience." In the end, transitioning out of a relationship can take a lot longer than most people realize. During this time, it's normal to feel on-edge. Running from your emotions won't make them go away. The best thing you can do for yourself is to acknowledge how you're feeling and commit to embracing the road ahead. Even though change might not feel good, going through it is the only way you'll be able to experience all of the growth that's on the other side.
Dr. Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., clinical psychologist