It's normal to go through a series of stages after a breakup: the Crying and Eating Ice Cream stage, the Silent and Don't Want to Talk About It stage, the Angrily Singing (Yelling?) Kelly Clarkson Songs stage, and, at some point in the future, Acceptance. No matter how long you and your ex were together, losing someone important to you can affect your wellbeing in a variety of major ways. It's not unusual to struggle with your mental health after a breakup.
But even though it's unfortunately common for people to have a tough time after a breakup, that doesn't mean you should suffer through this period alone, or without resources to guide you forward. There are plenty of ways to feel like yourself again, boost your mental health during this difficult time, and get professional help if you need it.
To learn about healthy ways to cope after a split, I spoke with clinical psychologist Joshua Klapow, Ph.D. He offered insight into the changes you might feel in your mental health after a breakup, plus tips for how to manage each new feeling. The light at the end of the tunnel is closer than you might think.
Feeling lost? Get a new routine.
The routines you established with your former partner have probably come to an end. Maybe you two went to the gym together, had a regular Friday night meal out at your favorite restaurant, or always did Sunday brunch together. After the breakup, you may feel a period of "not knowing where to go" or "what to do," Dr. Klapow tells Elite Daily.
So next? You set up new places to go and things to do.
"This is a time to think, then explore yourself," says Dr. Klapow. "So make sure you attend to your basic needs" by getting proper nutritious foods, sleeping, exercising, and engaging socially, then find a new routine that works for you.
If you and your ex used to run together, maybe give cycling a try. Change your Friday night dinner dates to Saturday girls' night outs, and bring a good book to read while eating bagels out solo on Sunday.
If you're feeling depressed, speak to a mental health professional.
Dr. Klapow recommends speaking with a mental health professional post-breakup to learn more yourself and how you navigate relationships.
"Whether you are happy or sad that the relationship is over, this is the time to figure out what the breakup meant, [and] how you navigate moving forward," he says. Speaking with a professional will "help you learn to cope, figure out how and why this happened, and give you to the tools to move forward with greater insight."
If you can't afford seeing a mental health professional in person, you can try out digital counseling like Talkspace.
If you're relieved, enjoy the freedom.
There are certain relationships that are definitely not good for your mental health. If you were stressed out in a partnership where it was toxic and constricting to your own personal growth, relish in the freedom from that relationship had on you now that it's over.
"There can be a mourning period following that [the breakup], but for some, the breakup is an out – even if they are the ones who are being broken up with," says Dr. Klapow.
When going through a breakup, it's important to remember that something is changing in your life, and you need to acknowledge that and cope with whatever feels right for you.
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