10 Ways to Kick-Start Heartbreak Recovery

March 14, 2012

Somebody said: “I have been trying for months to get over my ex. I have been out on dates, I have deleted pictures of us together; just about everything. But I still find myself deep in thought of the times we spent together and it hurts like hell. I know time heals all, but I need to heal now.”

Too bad we can’t heal on command, right? There’s no quick-fix to a broken heart. You have to sit with the pain, disappointment, and confusion. While you shouldn’t be defined by this period in your life, it is a good time to learn about yourself, to develop some insight into why you made the decisions you’ve made, and just grow up a little bit more. And while you are doing that (honoring your grief, that is), here are some coping strategies you might employ. Some of these are borrowed, some remembered, and some invented.

1. Give yourself a designated period to mourn and settle into the grief. So, you got the blues. It’s uncomfortable. Own it. Embrace it. Of course, you’ll progress at your own pace, but establishing grief parameters helps you maintain perspective. And it’s less about holding yourself to a deadline, and more about giving yourself the space to be out of sorts.
2. Block all your ex’s numbers and e-mail addresses. You won’t feel angst-ridden if she attempts to contact you, neither will you feel dejected if she doesn’t, because you simply won’t know.
3. Write some bad love poetry; the kind that rhymes. Bonus points if you make the cuss words rhyme.
4. Lean on your friends. Host a pajama party or ask them to host one for you. Rent the Color Purple and have a sistah cry-in.
5. If you don’t have friends join a support group and participate. Participate is the operative word here. Helping others talk through their problems puts your own in perspective. You’re not alone, unless you want to be.
6. Do something you never did or avoided doing because your ex didn’t like it.
7. Activities, activities, activities! Play tennis with somebody who’s better at it than you. Serve the balls HARD. Hit the club in your skinny outfit. You know the one I’m talking about. Since you’ve been depressed you can probably fit it now. Go with a trusted friend who won’t let you go home with the first guy/gal who asks you to dance. Hit the gym and try a new machine. You’ll have to focus to keep from falling off. Or you can master a machine like this sistah here
And even if you just go to the dressing room and cry into a towel you can still say you went to the gym. :)
8. Create an “I Will Survive” running playlist and then go running. I started mine with Freddie Jackson’s version of Good Morning, Heartache (much respect to Billie Holiday, but Jackson put the stank on it; especially the last two lines). I’ll Beat that Bitch with a Bat was some place in the middle (and particularly satisfying, ‘cause grief ain’t politically correct). You might end it with something like Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger.
9. Draft a long closure letter, and work hard to include a paragraph forgiving him and forgiving yourself. If you must mail it, have a good friend edit out the cray-cray parts and then do so.
10. See a therapist. Take the unedited version of your closure letter to your therapist for reflection and help. He’ll be able to tell you whether you need medication or whether you just need to allow yourself time to grieve. Mind you, this doesn’t have to turn into a long-term proposition. The onset of an emotional crisis is a good time to connect with an objective professional, and when you’re through it, you move on.

With empathy,


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