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How to Cope the First Week of a Breakup

by Sharideth Smith

The first week after a breakup can be emotionally overwhelming. You may experience a deep feeling of loss, even if you are certain the relationship needed to end. That loss may be for the relationship, the companionship or for the dissolution of future plans. There can also be hurt and anger and sadness to face. Dealing with all of these emotions in healthy ways can help you get past what might have been, and the sooner you can get started the better.

Set Limits

Establishing boundaries for yourself and others is important in the first week after a breakup. This could set the tone for the rest of your healing. Limit your time with people who tend to be negative. You don't need to feed the darker emotions so soon after the breakup. Also limit the amount of time you spend thinking about your ex by going on an "obsession diet." Marriage therapist Sheri Meyers suggests, in a Huffington Post article, that you allow yourself five minutes per hour to dwell on the breakup, then stop. The next day you cut that down to four minutes, and so on. By the end of the week, you just might wean yourself off the need to obsess.

Stay Active

Most people's instinct after a breakup is to huddle up and wallow in the sadness. This might be understandable for the first day or two but will only prolong the process. Make plans with friends so you are forced to get out and socialize. That will help keep you from becoming a hermit those first few days. Exercise of any kind is not only good for you, but also releases endorphins that can promote a happier attitude. A good workout can eat up time, give you a healthy outlet for hurt or anger and wear you out so you'll sleep better.

Give Yourself a Break

Sometimes conflicting emotions can happen immediately after a breakup. Regret and relief may vie for dominance, leaving you confused and emotionally tired. Taking some time for yourself during that first week can help you get back on your feet emotionally. If possible, lighten your workload, get a massage or get back to a hobby you used to enjoy. Give yourself permission to let the emotions come while doing something that gives you room to breathe. This time of self-care could be important in dealing with whatever comes next.

Don't Go It Alone

There is no reason for you to go through those first few days alone. Isolation can amplify all the negative emotions you are experiencing. Make a point to spend time with people who bring affirmative support to your life. Friends or family who will listen without judgment are essential after a breakup. Think about those who make you laugh or are wise and kind and set up a time to hang out. Let their healthy and positive strengths feed your own. Tell them how you're feeling and give them a chance to help.

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