10 Self-Care Tips for When You Can't Shake the Heartbreak

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I'm currently going through a painful breakup and upon reflection I've realized that, with each heartbreak, I’ve gotten a little better about taking care of myself physically and emotionally. We all experience heartbreak in one form or another and I can’t stress enough the importance of self-care during these tough times. We are all unique, and as such, have different ways that we grieve and heal.

I want to share some of my heartbreak self-care habits and tips with you in hopes that you will find them helpful during your own hard times:

  1. I try my hardest to feel my feelings because I know that this is the only way to get through them. I am admittedly a hugeee crier. God forbid I could have one good cry and be done with it. Nope. It could be an all-day affair and no place is off limits. I mean that. Bed Bath and Beyond (I swear they play the most heart wrenching songs at the wrong times. Stop it!), the park, the train, restaurants. Possibly all of North Jersey and NYC has seen me cry and, frankly, IDGAF. If I’m feeling something in the moment, I let it out. At some point in time, the crying spells dissipate. It may take one day, it may take several months. Either is fine, but I will say, the sooner you allow yourself to feel, whether that means having a good cry or not, the sooner you’ll arrive at the other side.
  2. I acknowledge when I am avoiding feeling my feelings. Sometimes the pain is too much to bear and that’s ok. In these moments, I acknowledge it, accept it, and have some self-compassion. 
  3. I journal to release my feelings. I try to get it all out there, even if it doesn’t make sense. It may be free association (as in just writing whatever comes to me) or it may be writing a story that I experienced to deal with the pain and come to terms with my feelings regarding that situation. 
  4. I confide in people who I love and trust. I am a huge proponent of talking things out (I am a therapist and coach, after all), which is another great way of releasing and exploring feelings. 
  5. I see a therapist. We all have "stuff," and even therapists see their own therapists. Mine has helped me through several hard times and the in between over the past 2+ years, and that's including some pretty brutal heartbreaks. I can't stress enough the value of examining your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors, being self-reflective, and letting everything out to an objective party. It's a unique and beautiful experience if you find a therapist who you really connect with and trust.
  6. I exercise, even if it’s just a brisk walk. Getting out in nature usually helps to clear my head, and the vitamin D from the sun always helps my mood even the slightest bit.
  7. I get enough sleep. Sometimes when we’re sad or depressed, we sleep too much or too little. Try to get as much sleep as you need to function well and have enough energy for your day. 
  8. I attempt to eat in order to nourish my body and give me some energy. I'll admit this is sometimes very hard for me. When I'm sad, the first thing to go is my appetite (and that's saying something because this girl can put. it. down.) Normally I try to eat healthy, but if I am craving something and it's the only thing I feel like eating, I honor the craving and go for it. A greasy slice of pizza (or three) is better than no food at all!
  9. I stay busy, but not so busy that I have no time to feel my feelings. I also make sure to plan some things to look forward to.
  10. If I feel it’s necessary, I take a break from social media or try to avoid certain people’s pages that I know will make me upset. It doesn’t help to see everyone’s best on social media when you’re at your worst. If you’re going through a breakup, it also doesn’t help to see your ex or ex-fling liking other girls’/boys’ pictures, following new people, or just plain ol’ having fun (or acting like it). Don’t inflict that pain on yourself if possible.

I hope you find these self-care habits helpful. How do you take care of yourself when you’re going through tough times? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below or via email at hello@christiefederico.com.