How to stay mentally strong when you're going through a breakup

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  • Staying strong during a breakup doesn't mean acting totally normal or suppressing pain. Instead, it's about feeling your feelings in a healthy way and moving toward healing.
  • Give yourself time and space to breathe, but don't isolate yourself or wallow in pity constantly. Trying out new coping habits and staying in touch with friends will help.
  • Don't constantly check your ex's social media, and, if you find yourself thinking about them, change the channel in your brain. Instead, try and establish a new normal.
  • Don't feel ashamed for telling people that you're having a rough go of it, and consider talking to a professional.
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Although a painful breakup may cause you to think life as you know it is over, the world doesn't stop because your relationship ended. You'll need to figure out how to carry on your daily activities - including work - even when your heart feels broken.

Being mentally strong when you're going through a breakup isn't about suppressing your pain or acting like you don't care.

Instead, it's about taking the steps you need to heal your broken heart so you can feel better again. Here's how to stay mentally strong when you're going through a breakup:
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Allow yourself to grieve

Allow yourself to grieve

The end of a relationship can create a giant emotional wound. And grief is the process that will heal that wound.

Allow yourself to feel sad about what you lost. You may grieve over everything from those Friday night dates you used to have together to the future you'd already planned out in your mind.

Sadness, anger, hurt, embarrassment, anxiety, and disappointment are just a few of the emotions that might get stirred up. Allow yourself to experience all of these emotions, even when they're uncomfortable.

Practice healthy coping skills

Practice healthy coping skills

You may be tempted to do anything you can to escape your emotions. Whether you want to numb the pain with food and alcohol or you try to distract yourself from feeling bad by constantly scrolling through your smartphone, unhealthy coping skills only lead to long-term pain.

Practice healthy ways to deal with uncomfortable emotions. Experiment with a variety of coping skills to discover what works for you — go for a walk, call a friend, write in a journal, practice meditation, or listen to music.

Whatever you do, make sure you do things that help you go through painful emotions without creating more long-term problems for yourself. Eating comfort food because you're sad, drinking because you're anxious, or texting an ex who isn't good for you because you're lonely might make you feel better for a minute, but they'll introduce new problems into your life.

Don't host a pity party

Don't host a pity party

While feeling sad can help you honor what you lost, self-pity is different. This can take the form of exaggeratedly negative thoughts like, "I'll never be happy again" or "My life is ruined forever."

When you start making catastrophic predictions or exaggerating your misfortune, catch yourself. Remind yourself that although heartache hurts, you're going to be OK. And someday it won't hurt quite so much if you put in the work toward healing your heart.

Hosting a pity party will keep you stuck in a place of pain. When you insist that your life is over, you'll dig in your heels and prevent yourself from getting better.

Create a mantra that you can repeat to yourself like, "This hurts, but I'll be OK." Use it to drown out the thoughts that encourage self-pity.

Recall other tough things you've endured. Remembering how you got through hardship before will remind you that you're stronger than you think.

Don't keep checking up on your ex

Don't keep checking up on your ex

Checking on your ex's social media profiles may help you temporarily feel better. After all, seeing what your ex is up to helps you feel connected in some way.

But it'll stall your healing process. Looking at Instagram pics or Twitter updates delays you from experiencing your loss at a realistic level.

You may need to mute, block, or unfriend your ex, as painful as that may feel. But doing so now can help you feel better in the long run.

Change the channel in your brain when you start thinking about your ex

Change the channel in your brain when you start thinking about your ex

While you don't want to distract yourself from uncomfortable emotions, you do want to distract yourself from certain types of thoughts about your ex.

If you catch yourself romanticizing the past — perhaps thinking about all those great things your ex always did for you — remind yourself of all the bad things, too. No relationship is perfect, but when you're missing someone, you might convince yourself that your ex was flawless.

Don't let yourself daydream about a future together either. Thinking that you'll get back together and live happily ever after can be part bliss, part self-torture. But it will do nothing for your healing process.

If you've got your ex on your mind, change the channel in your brain. Distract yourself with a brief activity, like talking to a friend about something other than your ex. Or get up and get moving with a task that requires some serious brain power, like a difficult puzzle.

Get active

Get active

At some point in your grief process — not right away, but not too far down the road either — it's important to start establishing a new sense of normal for yourself.

The best way to do this is by taking action. Maybe you start spending more time with your friends. Or, maybe you find a new hobby or develop a new side hustle.

The point is, don't let yourself sit at home alone doing nothing week after week. Otherwise you'll never begin to feel better.

Talk to someone

Talk to someone

Don't be ashamed to tell people you're having a rough time. People who know you well will recognize that you're struggling, so you might as well acknowledge it.

If you're having a difficult time mending your broken heart on your own, seek professional help. Therapists can assist you in moving through the grief process in a healthy way. Just keep in mind that staying mentally strong during a breakup isn't about insisting you're not sad. It's about a willingness to take care of yourself and deal with tough emotions head on so you can mend a broken heart.

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