Breakup 101: Choosing Healthy Distractions (part 2 of 3)

You have walked through mourning and are likely feeling like a zombie from the tears and restless nights you spend wondering if they are thinking of you too. You feel numb, and at times a little more like yourself again, yet a single memory or reminder can trigger a flooding of emotions. I have been there.

(If you have not read part 1 of this series, check it out before you sit to reflect!)

There is a bit of danger in this stage of healing as we become easily influenced by our surroundings. In moments where anger floods you, you may want to spill the person’s secrets to cause them pain. In the moments where sadness is too much, you may want to run to a bottle. In the moments where you just do not want to be alone anymore, you may end up with a rebound or making a call that will only bring more confusion and heartache.

Distractions are a great thing when they are healthy and encouraging of our well being. It is good to want to place yourself in a happier social environment, it is good to get out and meet new people, it is NOT good to have one night stands and blacked-out nights. So! How do you pick your distraction? Below you will find 4 steps to help walk you through the “reconnecting with myself as a single individual” part of a breakup.

1. Pick your support system
It is not the brightest idea to tell everyone you know and their mother about the more complicated situations going on in your private life. When we are walking through heartache and working on finding ourselves, the last thing you need is the pull of 10 different opinions that have little insight into a sensitive situation. Who you choose as a support system will determine how the next few steps in your recovery will go. If you pick a group that is into gossip and drama, you may find yourself stuck in anger and depression as conversations circle back to trash talking your now ex and his current behaviours. If you pick a group that is not into deep conversations, you may find yourself feeling unheard and misunderstood, while trying to drown your unexpressed thoughts and pain with unhealthy distractions. The support system you want is one that will listen to you and be there to lend wise counsel, but will also come and get you out of your room on a Saturday night to enjoy a concert or dinner with friends. This might mean reconnecting with old friends or making new ones, and that is not a bad thing!

2. Pick a new hobby
The more time you spend locked up in your room scrolling through the perfectly posed and ever misleading posts on social media, the more you will sink in to that feeling of hopelessness and depression. The more you spend time stalking your exe’s social media, the longer you are choosing to linger in heartache. One of the best things you can do is choose a hobby that will bring fulfillment and enjoyment to your life. If you have been wanting to try out paddle boarding for a while, grab a friend and hit the water. If you have been looking at kick boxing classes or a bible study group, grab your courage and join one! Partaking in activities that bring you satisfaction has the power to bring value back into your life. Whether it is fitness related or art inspired, pick a hobby that will boost that serotonin!

Sidenote: Hobbies to avoid (because they will do harm and no good in the long run):
Abusive drinking and drug use
Sexual rendezvous with rebounds or exes
Pity parties with the gossiping friends
Excessive (and irresponsible) shopping sprees

3. Sit and reflect
There is a balance you will have to find in this stage of the breakup journey. It is good to distract yourself and begin to focus on things that bring joy and value to your life, but we must be cautious of neglecting the buried emotions that need to surface. Sitting and reflecting will give your mind and heart the opportunity to check-in and make sure emotions are not being stuffed down or ignored. If you have worked through the questions in Part 1 of this series, you can go back and read some of your answers and/or re-answer some of the questions. As you walk through the process, you may find that you gain insight into your emotions and your understanding of a situation begins to expand beyond the initial perspective. If you have an onset of anger or sadness, write out why you are feeling angry in that moment. WHY is one of the most insightful questions you can ask your heart and mind when working through emotional situations.

4. Talk to a professional
One of the best decision I ever made was to attending therapy sessions. I honestly believe everyone should talk to a therapist at least once in their life! There is so much insight to be gained from walking through problems with someone who understands human psychology (tip: talking with a faith-based therapist also helps bring insight into the spiritual aspect of situations and recovery), or stable individuals have successfully walked through similar issues themselves. I attended several 1-1 sessions with a focus on mindfulness therapy, and ten months of group therapy** through an AA meeting with a focus on emotional healing (not alcohol). I can honestly say these meetings changed my life! I learned what some of my triggers were for unhealthy behaviour (ie. people pleasing, severe stress and anxiety, approach to male relationships, ect), how to reflect and understand what was triggering me in a situation, and how to respond in a healthy manner to said situation. The amount of healing and peace that comes from learning to understand yourself is indescribable. I am left in owe when I think about it! My approach to internal and external conflict has done a 180 degree turn for the better and I could not be more proud of myself for having taking the necessary steps to make it happen.

Above all, know you are not alone! Millions of individuals have had to walk through the ending of a relationship, feeling every step of the heartache, and finding new ways to enjoy life again. You have it in you to walk through it with honesty, and come to the finish line with a new-found smile on your face. And hey, go enjoy yourself!

Have you used other techniques to find new distractions after a breakup? Let me know in a comment below!

With love,
Ashley
**: church and spirituality based, not done with a professional therapist.

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