There will always be a great deal of ruminating to be done in the wake of a breakup. There are uncomfortable truths to be processed, lessons to be chalked up and the fragility of hope to contend with.
But in the long-run all this emotional house-keeping can become redundant, or even damaging with regards to moving on, because we risk reinforcing the problem by making it the center of our existence.
At some point reacting becomes a far better tool for moving forward swiftly, because it coaxes both the conscious and subconscious mind into rapidly accepting a new reality of our choosing. A reality devoid of painful conditions, triggers and dependency.
Volunteering is a timeless breakup remedy because it directly contrasts two of the most deceptively painful aspects of trauma.
Firstly, it helps shore up self-esteem in a number of subtle ways:
- By offering invaluable help we consequently become invaluable.
- We plow through small, yet consistent goals.
- Simply by taking action we are re-affirming our commitment to regaining control of our lives (this is mostly beneficial to our subconscious mind).
- It breaks patterns of self-inflicted torture (self-pity, anger, remorse and depression) by relativizing our personal trauma-borne microcosm with the universe of conditions that afflict others (just like us).
Secondly, volunteering, as opposed to most forms of charity, is a social endeavor that will birth new long-lasting relationships, experiences and goals, all while taking titanic steps towards reducing stress. Volunteering is not simply a means of moving on, it is moving on.
Go Solo Traveling
The many virtues of traveling with regards to stress management are already relatively conspicuous. But when it comes to breakups, the rewards are even greater.
Here’s the deal.
- You get to side-step a graveyard of memories and emotional triggers.
- Break the daily emotional grind by drowning out grief under an overwhelming spectrum of new experiences (forcing the brain to accept a new reality).
- Enjoy all of this for yourself, regardless of any other other consideration, and any other variable (eroding dependency and re-prioritizing your needs).
The reason I say solo traveling, rather than a conventional family-or-friends escapade, is because it usually serves as a far more powerful emotional turning point. It is a forcible reminder that our future and emotions are ours to navigate, sans third-party compromise.
Re-decorate The House
An abrupt change in lifestyle or routine may not be everyone’s idea of a comfortable move-on. And admittedly, reacting in the face of grief doesn’t always mean investing in high-energy or high-investment activities. You can get results without taking a leap of faith.
Now, re-decorating might seem like a bit of a stretch with regards to healing, but hear me out on this one. Here are a few reasons I feel it helps (it certainly did help me):
- Even moving the bed slightly is enough to lessen the frequency and intensity of painful memory triggers, because it helps disassociate memories.
- It promotes the feeling that it is a new beginning, rather than the end of all things. A home for the you two-point-zero.
- It is an easily accomplished feat (as mentioned earlier in the article, accomplishing anything, even in small doses, is enough to shore up self-esteem).
Granted, this isn’t a long-term solution to breakup stress, but it is a fantastic way to get the ball moving, and even better way to mark the beginning of a new life.
Go For A Jog
Exercise is such a veritable cure-all on so many levels that it really should warrant its own post. To prove my point, here’s an article I bumped into on my daily Reddit spree today. When it comes to breakups, specifically, here’s why our eyebrows should be twitching in interest:
- Exercise releases naturally occurring painkillers called endorphins which promote well being, not only in the long-term (prevention) but in the present.
- Exercise is conducive to better overall health, improving confidence, image and self-esteem.
- Exercise is accessible in many forms, and at many different times, there’s always a way to sneak a spot of fitness into our daily routine.
If strenuous exercise doesn’t sound like a palatable idea, you can also tap into other less abrasive forms of exercise (which are no less rewarding) such as Yoga or Tai Chi.
A Spot Of Cheese Rolling?
Alright, perhaps not. The point is; breakups are a chance for you to indulge and revel in new opportunities, and not simply drift in a sea of introspective complexity. It’s a chance to whip-out ye olde’ bucket list and get cracking on building a new history.
Sure, making cerebral sense of things is important (after-all, the vast majority of my articles deal with precisely this aspect of breaking up), but unless we accompany our thoughts with action, the wheels of grief risk slowing to a halt very slowly indeed, because our subconscious tribunal hasn’t moved a step closer towards embracing a new future which is independent of its past.
What To Do After A Break Up
Anything you like, so long as you are doing something!