Healthy ways to cope with a bad breakup

If you've just come out of a relationship, you'll know that adjusting to the change can be extremely difficult.

Whether you're one of the lucky ones who ended things amicably, or whether it was messy and full of tears, it can take weeks or even months to start to feel like yourself again.

Our body and mind are proven to go through significant chemical and hormonal changes after a big life shift like a breakup, so it's completely normal to feel like everything has been turned upside down.

While unfortunately there's no magic fix – getting over a breakup takes time – there are some coping mechanisms you can use to make the whole process easier.

1. Cut off contact
Easier said than done, we know, but it's an important step even if it's just for the short term. After a break-up, your body and mind are essentially craving the comfort of your ex, and the best way to work through that is to give yourself time to heal and move on. Make a decision to cut off contact for a set length of time – somewhere between 30 and 90 days is a good place to start.

2. Take a social media hiatus
Even though you might have done the standard Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp blocking, social media is a dangerous place and it's likely you'll see your ex's face or comments still popping up in your feed. Try to avoid social media at times when it's really not necessary or when you're feeling particularly fragile. Go for face-to-face meetings with friends and family instead – you'll get so much more out of it.

3. Be mindful of your anxiety
It's natural to feel lost and anxious after a breakup, especially when toxic thoughts like "what am I going to do now?" and "I'm going to be alone forever" begin to creep in. Be aware that anxiety is a normal part of the process and try to come up with techniques to help yourself work through things – either mindfulness practices like yoga or medititation, or simply trying to combat each negative thought with a positive one.

4. Reconnect with who you were before the relationship
There are bound to be certain aspects of your life that changed when you began seeing someone seriously. Maybe you swapped your morning gym session for an extra cosy hour in bed or maybe you had less time to spend with friends. Make the effort now to reclaim those parts of your life and you'll soon begin to notice that being single definitely has its advantages.

5. Avoid the blame game
Whatever the reason for your breakup, try to avoid flinging blame around and bad-mouthing your ex where it's not necessary. Anger is natural, but blaming one another is pointless if the relationship has already ended. Try to focus your thoughts more constructively and aim to understand the reasons why you broke up rather than blaming your former other half or yourself.

6. Use your support networks
You don't need to suffer in silence – just like you'd be there to listen if a friend or family member was going through a hard time, they will want to do the same for you and to help you through all of this. So don't be afraid to call when you need to talk, no matter how long it's been since the breakup.