No breakup is ever easy, but some breakups can make you feel like you’ve had the wind knocked out of your sails. And during those times, it can become sincerely difficult to see a way forward. It can be especially isolating and hurtful if your friends and family don’t seem to understand why you’re struggling so much, but you have every right to your feelings and your personal journey of mourning. (Because yes, you are allowed to mourn over a relationship!)

I know that things may feel dark right now, but I’ve got two great pieces of news for you. One, you’re not alone – your struggle and experience is valid and difficult, but you can take strength knowing that many other men and women like you find a way to fight through similar tough experiences all the time. And you can too.

The second piece of good news is that you are not powerless in your circumstances. This doesn’t imply that you can snap your fingers or simply make a mental decision, and suddenly you’ll feel better. However, you are strong and capable there are many things you can do to help yourself climb out of this hole and cope more effectively during this difficult time.

Let’s get you started with a handful of solid first steps you can take.

1. Practice self-care.Instead of doing things that may worsen your isolation or decrease the care you are taking of your body, try instead engaging in actives with others. If you have kids, try something new and fun with them. Take this opportunity to tend to yourself in ways that you have not been able to recently. It will definitely help you feel better.

2. Use social media smartly.You might want to stay off social media during this period. Seeing pictures of happy couples on your Facebook or Instagram feed might unnecessarily trigger you. Remember that nobody’s life is as perfect as it appears to be on social media. Creeping the person you just broke up with is also unhelpful as is trying to figure out what they are doing with their time now. Focus on yourself and your well being and interacting and engaging in real life.

3. Rely on your support system. Nobody should have to go through a breakup alone. Calling your BFF and crying it out on the phone can be extremely cathartic, plus you get to hear someone you love remind you of how awesome you are. Allow your friends and family to be there for you.

4. Find a good therapist. Talk therapy can help you with some much-needed evaluation. It can help you see what went wrong in the relationship, what you really need in a relationship, and who you really are.

5. Seek your passion.Find something that you’re really happy doing, and spend a lot of time doing it. That way, you have something positive to channel your emotions to, and you’d be too busy having fun to think about your ex.

6. Practice gratitude. Think about all the other people in your life who love you completely, and be thankful for them. Gratitude journalling has been found to be very helpful in decreasing anxiety and improving mood. Head to the Dollar Store and pick up a bullet journal and start this new habit.

7. Focus on becoming a better person for YOU. Now is a great time to do those things you’ve always wanted to do. Start exercising, eat healthily, learn a new skill, and travel somewhere new. Grow in as many ways as possible and watch yourself flourish.

Remember, grieving the loss of a relationship is completely normal. Give yourself the time and space you need to get through the breakup. Seeing a professional therapist is a great step towards healing. If you need someone to help you through your breakup, please reach out to book a session with Deborah, Lois or Dr. Adam.