We’ve all been through breakups. Sometimes a breakup brings relief and provides a new lease on life. In other situations, a breakup can be a significant source of sadness and frustration. In these latter instances, you must be mindful of your mental health and emotional well-being. Otherwise, your breakup could lead to a whole host of other problems.
6 Common Mental Side Effects of a Breakup
A particularly poignant breakup can produce a litany of unwanted side effects. This may include symptoms like:
1. Confusion. While most breakups are preceded by a period of uncertainty in which a split-up seems inevitable, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes a breakup can come out of nowhere, which leads to feelings of confusion.
2. Inadequacy. When someone breaks up with you, it’s tempting to feel like you aren’t enough. And if the breakup is especially hostile, mean words can stick with you and cause you to feel self-conscious or inadequate.
3. Loneliness. There’s a certain degree of loneliness that frequently stems from a breakup. You go from spending lots of time with this one person to having a large void in your daily schedule and routine.
4. Anger. Perhaps you broke up with your ex because of something they did – like cheat, lie, or manipulate your feelings. It’s only natural for this to conjure up feelings of anger and frustration.
5. Anxiety. When a breakup makes you feel like your world is crumbling, anxiety can easily creep in. If not dealt with, this anxiety can evolve into something bigger over time.
6. Depression. When you combine feelings of confusion, inadequacy, loneliness, anger, and anxiety, depression is a natural result. Sometimes depression lasts for a few days, while other times it can develop into a chronic and serious issue.
Ways to Care for Your Mental Health
Most breakups simply take time. After a few days or weeks, things get better. But in other situations, they can be particularly tough to recover from. In light of this, here are a few simple tips to help you care for your mental health if/when you find yourself wallowing in the aftermath of a hard split.
- Recognize Your Weaknesses
Self-awareness is paramount. Understanding what makes you tick and how you respond to certain life issues and stimuli will help you make smart, educated choices. In particular, you should become intimately familiar with the crutches you turn to in times of weakness. For example, someone with a history of substance abuse can easily relapse when a breakup causes depression. Likewise, someone with anger issues can lash out and strain friendships and/or jobs when frustration boils over. The more you know about these issues, the more proactive you can be in avoiding triggers.
- Put Things in Perspective
Things are never as good or bad as they seem. This is a good rule of thumb for life in general (and breakups in particular). It’s one thing to say this, but it’s something else entirely to believe it. Reiterate this point over and over again. Doing so will put your breakup into perspective.
- Start Writing
“Research shows that regularly reflecting on how you’re coping with your breakup in a structured way reduces post-breakup loneliness and distress because it helps you redefine your sense of self,” breakup expert Elle Huerta writes. “It’s also a really great way to practice letting go and release the thoughts and emotions that have built up during a breakup.”
Regardless of whether you’re a writer or not, regular journaling can help you come to terms with what happened and begin the process of emotional healing.
- Practice Self-Care
A little self-care is never a bad idea – especially when you’re struggling through a breakup. Rather than viewing things like sleep, healthy eating, exercise, and massages, as selfish luxuries, look at them as powerful tools for warding off feelings of anxiety and depression.
- Surround Yourself With the Right People
Resist the temptation to isolate yourself after a breakup. Being around other people is healthy and proactive. The key is to surround yourself with the right people. This means spending time with people who are encouraging, positive, and uplifting. Their attitudes will naturally rub off on you.
Putting it All Together
Everyone responds to troubling situations in their own unique way. Some breakups come as a relief, while others prove to be especially challenging. By adopting a proactive approach that prioritizes your mental and emotional health, you can suppress some of the negative symptoms associated with a breakup and move on with your life.
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