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Mend Your Heart: 6 Tips for Surviving a Breakup

Published on March 12, 2016 · Last updated July 28, 2020

British musician Sam Palladio once said, “If you break up with a [partner], you’re in this vulnerable state where you’re still kind of half in the relationship with them, but you’re single, and it takes a while to feel solid in yourself again.”

People choose to end relationships for a multitude of reasons. Regardless of the rationale, there is pain. You’ve experienced a loss, and you have to re-create your place in a world that puts a great deal of emphasis on relationships. It doesn’t matter if you were the initiator, the receiver, or the decision was mutual–it’s difficult. Here are my top tips for surviving a breakup, so grab a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and pack a bowl as you learn these six ways to cope and bounce back stronger than before. 

Allow Yourself to Grieve

Girl hanging head down in park with beautiful autumn leaves in background

Dr. Emily Nagoski, a sex educator and author, explains why breakups hurt so much from a science perspective. “Grief is proof that we love, and love is both the most abundant and the rarest of elements in the universe. Grief is the effect of broken attachment. And attachment is the biological foundation of love and thus, as literally as can be, the blood and guts of human relationships. So if it feels like you’re bleeding…that’s why.”

Acknowledge your grief, allow yourself to feel it fully, and honor it. Dismissing your emotions, pushing through your feelings, or denying them entirely only serves to delay the pain. It cannot prevent it. Sometimes you need to wallow, and that’s okay. Don’t listen to people who tell you to “get over it.” We all know it’s not that easy.

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Reach Out for Support

Friends holding hands during times of trouble

Talk to someone. It could be one close friend or relative, members of your community, or a mental health professional. Processing difficult emotions helps us integrate them into our narrative. At the same time, be aware of over-processing to the point where all you talk about is your breakup, which can lead to feeling “stuck” in your emotions. It’s a balancing act.

Consider Cannabis for Some Emotional First Aid

Hand holding up cannabis flower in forest

Sometimes in the midst of sadness, we can forget what it feels like to feel good. I’ve had breakups where I cannot remember the last time I laughed or smiled. Imbibing a sativa or hybrid can help remind you that you can feel happiness again. When I go through a breakup, I utilize some of my favorite euphoric strains, including Laughing Buddha and The Sauce.

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For those who lay awake at night painfully recounting memories of happier times, I suggest a heavy indica to help you sleep. LA Confidential, one of my all-time favorite indica strains, has been instrumental in allowing me to turn off my brain and get some sleep. For daytime stress, try a CBD-rich strain like Harlequin. I’ve been keeping my W Vapes pen in my purse so I can take a quick pull if I feel anxiety creeping in.

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Detox from Social Media

Man holding phone in coffee shop

In the age of Facebook and Twitter, reminders of your ex can litter the ground like cigarette butts on the sidewalk. At the end of 2015, Facebook announced that they were rolling out breakup-friendly tools: “When people change their relationship status to indicate they are no longer in a relationship, they will be prompted to try these tools.” Some options include seeing less of a partner’s name or image on your news feed without having to unfriend or block them, as well as removing your tags from any posts or photos that you and your ex are tagged in together.

If your go-to social media platform doesn't have any of those tools built-in, try taking a break from them altogether, at least for a while. You may not be in the best shape to be glimpsing at all your friends' highlight reels while you're feeling down, so take a step back and devote some time to yourself. 

Get Your Body Involved

Woman doing yoga in studio

Go outside in the sunshine and feel the rays warming your skin. Hang out in a place where there are trees and flowers. Go to a body of water. Dance it out. Sing loudly to your favorite songs. Take a yoga class. Do something to embody the emotions you’re feeling, and express them. Paint a picture, create a sculpture, build a model airplane. Go to the spa and treatchoself. Whatever you decide, get your body moving and check in with nature to jump-start some positivity in your life.

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Rest and Hydrate

Person relaxing on lakeside dock in autumn

Get plenty of sleep and drink lots of water. Stress is incredibly hard on the body, and prolonged stress can have all sorts of physical side effects. Gastrointestinal distress, headaches, fatigue, and anxiety are only a few. You can find more information about the way stress impacts the body on the American Psychological Association’s website. Your job is to take care of yourself. People will understand.

What are your best practices for surviving a breakup? Share your favorite strains to improve mood or functioning!

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Ashley Manta
Ashley Manta
Ashley is a writer, feminist, and sexuality educator. She is a contributing writer for Leafly.
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