November to mid-December is breakup season.
Many of you may have have come to university still dating your secondary school/College boyfriend/girlfriend and have been trying to make long-distance work since September. But maybe by this point, you’ve both been struggling to keep it going and decided to mutually end things. Or maybe you’ve found yourself dumped right before the festive season.
We’ve all done it … sat at home feeling sad and alone, wearing a fake-tan stained dressing gown, watching The Holiday whilst scoffing a box of Celebrations. As easy as it is for us to do this, now is actually the perfect opportunity for you to rebuild your confidence and self-esteem, and think positively about the future!
So here are my top tips on how you can get over your ex… You’ve got this.
Take some time out
Whoever said you’ve got to ‘get under someone, to get over someone’ was lying. Finding a rebound person straight after your break-up is not giving yourself time to get over your ex or reflect on anything that’s just happened. Rebound relationships are also not fair on the other person involved if you jump into a new relationship before you’re ready to commit or you’re not over your ex. Of course, there is no time limit on when you’ll be ‘over someone’, and for some of us it might not take that long, but this doesn’t mean you need a new relationship straight away.
After my last break-up, I took this piece of advice extremely literally, two days after breaking up I booked a spontaneous trip to Spain and spent a week walking a pilgrimage called the Camino de Santiago. I needed a change of scenery and a break from my life back at home. I took time away from social media and my phone to walk and reflect for 8 hours a day, and complete a physical challenge which made me feel great about myself and my strength.
Use this festive season to be single and free, and reconnect with yourself. When we’re in relationships, we often sacrifice a lot of our own identity, likes, and interests to fit in with the other person. Now is your chance to spend time with the people you love and do the things you enjoy.
Set new goals
The end of a relationship is the start of a new beginning, so make the most of this opportunity and set out some new short and long term goals for yourself. What are the things you’ve always wanted to do, that you’ll be able to do solo? Look at flights and travel opportunities for the uni holidays, apply for the part-time job you didn’t think you had time for before due to your ex’s schedule, or sign up to that online course that you think will help advance you in your career. If you think about all the hours you spent a week texting, calling, or thinking about your ex – add up that amount of time and use it to do something productive for yourself.
Ideas on how you could set your new goals could be: making a vision board, writing a list of weekly and monthly goals, setting up an Instagram account or starting a written journal to log all of your dreams and goals of fitness, crafting, baking, or exploring.
Do the things you enjoy. Pamper yourself, take a trip to the spa, or book a mini-break for you and your best girlfriends. If you’ve been dumped, it’s really easy to blame yourself and feel like it happened because you’re not good enough – but this is not the case! Sometimes things just don’t work out, and they weren’t the person you were supposed to end up with.
Practicing self-care will help you boost your self-esteem, self-confidence, and overall mental health. It’s important to look after yourself and keep your mind and body healthy, even when things have happened that have made you feel sad. You’re not alone in this breakup – reach out to friends and family whenever you need to and seek help whenever you need it. Also, Youtuber Breeny Lee has some great Pep Talk videos on breakups and relationships that might inspire you.
Spend time with the friends you know will always have your back
Go for a night out of food and cocktails with your friends, and just try to completely take your mind off of things. Reach out to your single fun friends who will be able to show you how good life can be for you now your single! Also, think about how much more free time you’ll have now, and consider who you want to spend this time with. “Your vibe attracts your tribe”, so get dressed up, go out, and have a good night out with the girls.
A common mistake people make after a breakup, is thinking they can still be friends with their ex. Wrong. Don’t force a friendship with someone if they’ve hurt or upset you just to save face. Of course, be civil and polite in all group situations and encounters with your ex, especially if you have a lot of mutual friends or you’re in the same friend group, but don’t overdo it.
Do good for others
After my last breakup, I was devastated! But I threw myself into volunteering in my local community. When you’re around children, in particular, they spark positivity. I was also so busy that I didn’t have much time to think about my ex, which helped me get over it all much quicker than I thought I would. It’s a good idea to throw yourself into new things to distract yourself from the negatives.
Let yourself feel all your emotions
Inevitably you’re going to feel a mix of emotions after a breakup. Sadness, anger, anxiety, relief, and definitely, grief.
They say the 5 stages of grief are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, which are similar stages to what we go through in a breakup, because although our ex may have not literally died, we have still lost a big person from our life that we have a lot of memories and shared experiences with. It’s important to not just try to forget all these moments and memories, especially when they’re positive ones. Instead, it’s healthy for us to reflect and think about these positive memories and experiences that we can learn from. Going out and getting drunk every night to try to block certain emotions out like sadness and grief, is only going to prolong the process of getting over someone and not let ourselves feel what our brain and body is telling us to feel.
To stop yourself falling into a pit of sadness and misery, I find it helps me to set a literal timer on how long I can think about the ex. I’ll allow myself to think about our memories and time together for 3 minutes, and then make myself move and think about something else. That way, I’m allowing myself to feel and process the emotion, without dwelling on it or obsessing over it.
Delete them on social media
It can be really challenging to not obsessively check your ex’s social media constantly, to see what they’re doing and who they’re with. It’s not healthy for you to do this though, so if you find you can’t stop stalking them online, then it’s probably just easier to delete them or unfollow them altogether.
It’s also helpful to unfollow people or couples on social media that you view as ‘perfect’ or ‘relationship goals’. Seeing pictures of influencers surrounded with luxury Christmas gifts and a giant teddy bear is only going to make you feel more negative about your situation, and at the end of the day, people create an identity on social media that they want to be seen as, and we all know it’s very rarely how things are in reality.
A break from social media has never hurt anybody, and it may help you gain more confidence and self-esteem too. I’m only recently back on Instagram after an 18-month break, and I can honestly say I feel so much less insecure after having time off social media.
It’s not helpful to keep pictures of someone on your wall or wear their t-shirt to bed every night if you’re trying to get over them. You don’t need to bin them or burn them in a breakup ritual fashion, but you could just put them in one place for now like a box under your bed. If you want to look back at these memories from time to time then that’s ok, or you may decide after a while that they’re taking up too much space and it’s time to get rid of them. Whether you bin them or store them, it’s good to not have these constant reminders of your ex in your bedroom.
It’s up to you whether you want to delete all the pictures and social media posts with your ex at this point, however, the chances are you’ll want to do it in future when you have a new relationship, so it might be easier to delete the posts now. Deleting posts is also a symbol to other people (like potential new love interests) that you’re single. You’ll be surprised how many people slide into your DM’s the second they hear you’re no longer with your ex! Even if you’re not particularly interested in these people, it’s always nice to have people waiting in the wings for when you do feel ready to date again.
Don’t look for trouble
If you know they’ll be at uni/work/the gym at certain times of the day, don’t just randomly turn up there in the hopes to bump into them. Part of getting over someone is accepting the fact you don’t know what they’re doing or what they’re feeling anymore, and eventually, you also won’t care.
Furthermore, if you’re starting to hear rumours that maybe they cheated in the relationship, that they’ve already moved on, or that they’re spreading misinformation about you, decide if it’s really worth confronting them about. Sometimes the best revenge is to just show them that you don’t care and that you’re confident enough in yourself to gracefully move on and walk away from their drama and negative energy.
Put yourself back out there
As much as it might feel like it now, you won’t be forever alone if you don’t want to be! You’re young, free, and on the beautiful journey of life, which can be very unpredictable! You never know when your next future partner will come along, so stay open-minded. Although it’s important to take some time out to be by yourself after a breakup, you don’t have to do this forever.
Downloading Tinder the day after your breakup and desperately swiping for a new beau will unlikely find you the love of your life, but it’s positive to get back out there on the dating scene and be willing to give it another go. Ask your friends if they’ve got anybody they could set you up with? As after all, dating is a great experience for finding out what you do want in a relationship and will help you identify the kind of person you want to be with next.