You know it’s over but no matter how hard you try and despite family and friends telling you to forget him, you simply can’t. It f***ing hurts and you feel absolutely miserable, sad, angry, restless or a bit of everything. Of course, you do. Your relationship just ended and you are in mourning, probably going through all the phases of grief.
Even though you wish it wasn’t so, he’s constantly on your mind. Obviously the first step is to get him out of your head. If only it were that easy! You certainly wouldn’t be googling “ways to get over a guy” and reading this post, if it were.
I’m not going to lie. It’s tough. Unfortunately, there is no quick-fix for this. You can rationalize your feelings all you want by telling yourself that it’s not him you miss but the way he made you feel and the memories of your relationship. You can tell yourself that you are simply experiencing emotional withdrawal. The truth of the matter is though, that at the end of the day he is still on your mind and it doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere anytime soon.
Telling yourself not to think of something or someone will only make you think of them twice as much. It’s the “pink elephant syndrome”: If I tell you not to think of a pink elephant, guess what you’ll automatically think about? Exactly! A big pink elephant. The trick is to replace your thoughts about him with different thoughts. Distract your mind.
What you need is a coping strategy – a sort of personal “toolbox”, with the necessary techniques and activities to distract your mind and to get you through those agonizing moments of sheer despair, when you feel you just can’t take it anymore and you miss him too much.
Here are a couple of suggestions from my personal “toolbox”, which have helped me through tough times and which I still apply in moments of crisis.
1. Cry it out
Whoever said crying is for babies, clearly has never experienced the healing powers of tears and the liberating feeling that comes with crying. Crying is a way for our body to release stress and anxiety by eliminating excess Cortisol (aka the stress hormone) through our tears. In addition, crying stimulates the production of endorphins (the “feel good” hormones).
As weird as it may sound, my advice to you, is to cry as often as you can. And I’m talking loud, unattractive, passionate crying. The kind which resembles the cry of a dying animal and leaves you feeling utterly exhausted thereafter. Let it all out! Scream if you must, clench your fists, curl up on the floor. Do whatever feels right for you and release those feelings of sadness.
One of the wonderful benefits of crying is that you’ll feel better after a good cry (maybe you’ll also feel a bit exhausted) even though the problem still persists. It’ll give you a much-needed break from the constant worrying and overthinking.
2. Punch it out
I encourage you to enroll in a boxing, kickboxing, BODYCOMBAT or BODYATTACK class. Punch, jab and kick your frustration and insecurities away during one of these 60 min group- workout sessions with motivating music and a trainer who will push you to your limits.
Doing high-intensity workouts like these will give your overthinking mind a break. Unlike slower paced workouts, high-intensity workouts won’t allow you the time and energy to think – you’ll be in total “survivor mode”, drenched in sweat and pushed to your limits. If imagining his face when you throw that first jab helps, then so be it. Do what you have to do to release yourself from all those bottled-up emotions.
Personally, I believe boxing workouts like the ones mentioned above work best as they give you such a sense of power. You feel invincible and strong, which is exactly what your bruised self-esteem needs. I especially recommend the Les Mills BODYCOMBAT, which is a high-energy martial-arts inspired workout featuring boxing, Kung fu, Muay Thai and kickboxing. It’s completely non-contact and there are no complex moves to master, so you can join anytime. You’ll release tons of endorphins during the workout, which will have you feeling more energized and positive even hours after leaving the gym.
Do at least 2 high-intensity boxing workout sessions a week and not only will you get super ripped and fit in in no time, but more importantly, you’ll have a great platform to vent. All those sad emotions associated with the breakup are just weighing you down. By releasing them, you rise up again.
Alternatively, you can invest in a punching bag and a pair of boxing gloves if the gym or group workouts are not for you. Unleash your inner warrior and punch yourself through this crisis.
3. Pick a creative project
Going through a crisis of my own a couple of years ago, I immersed myself into redecorating our apartment. I spent countless hours researching possible ideas. By the end of the second week into my project I had become an expert in color schemes and interior design and it gave me a new purpose – something creative where I could pour my heart and soul into and which distracted me from my worries. The result was a perfectly manicured apartment.
Other great projects include reorganizing your closet or picking out plants and flowers for your balcony or garden. Maybe you’ve always had a thing for Japan? How about creating your own little Japanese Zen garden? Or how about creating your own mini pond for your balcony? Research the materials and the plants and then get started.
The trick is to pick an activity, which will require a bit of research on your part and which will keep you occupied for a couple of hours. Pinterest offers a wide range of great ideas on creative do-it-yourself projects.
5. Watch stand-up comedians perform
Watching stand-up comedians perform on stage is a great form of distraction. Just look for stand-up comedians on YouTube or Netflix, you’ll find plenty. Good stand-up comedians have the ability to not only make us laugh hysterically, but to educate us and question our cultural and social beliefs. Their jokes and punchlines can be truly educative and obviously, the goal is to make you roll over with laughter.
Laughing is one of the best remedies for anxiety as it stimulates the production of “happy hormones” (serotonin and dopamine and endorphins), which in turn help us take on a more positive perspective.
I prefer watching stand-up comedians to watching an actual comedy or a movie. Stand-up comedy is much more straightforward: With stand-up comedy, you have the comedian throwing one joke after the other at you. It’s fast-paced. Sometimes you even have to struggle to keep up and that’s exactly what you need. Movies on the other hand are usually a bit slower paced and even most action movies or comedies contain a romantic scene here and there. Needless to say, that’s the last thing you need right now.
My favorite comedians are Russell Peters, Jim Gaffigan and Bill Burr. They are hilarious and I die laughing every time and really forget about my problems when I watch them. Gabriel Iglesias and Chris Rock are really funny too.
6. Reach out to others in similar situations
The internet is full of sites, blogs and forums offering advice and support to people going through breakups. Do the same: Start your own blog, leave comments on other people’s sites offering your piece of advice or join a chat group and share your experiences online.
Helping others will alleviate your own pain and you’ll feel useful and needed, which will boost your self-esteem. It will also make you feel better to know that you are not alone and that there are others out there struggling as well.
7. Leave town for a while
Ideally travel to another country for a few weeks (a couple of days will do too). Geographical distance really helps. Your usual surroundings will only remind you of him and what you had together. You’ll benefit enormously from the change of scenery. Try to leave town as often as you can and your (work and financial) situation permits. Maybe now is the time to take that vacation you’ve always wanted to take. Go on weekend trips with friends and family and create as many new memories as you possibly can.
I’m not talking about simply silently humming along to your favorite tune. What I’m referring to, is singing out loud from the top of your lungs. You’ll have to do this standing up (sitting down is not an option). So, stand up proud, switch on your iPod, select your favorite song and sing. Nobody is watching, so who cares if you don’t have the perfect voice.
Perhaps you don’t feel like singing but trust me, once you start you’ll get into it very quickly (and it can even become addictive). Learn the lyrics of the song from beginning to end and then get to it. By concentrating on your voice and the lyrics you will distract yourself from the thought of him and the relationship.
You can dance along, you can sing with your eyes closed, imagining yourself on stage or you can simply stand still holding a spatula in your hand as your microphone. It’s completely up to you. Just sing the entire song from beginning to end.
You might want to choose an upbeat song but really, go with whatever you’re in the mood for and if it’s Adele’s “Hello”, having you singing out loud with tears streaming down your face then so be it. Remember: crying is an excellent stress reducer.
9. Journal and inspirational mantras
Whenever that feeling of abandonment and despair overwhelms you, grab a pen and write down your feelings. Describe how you feel, why you think you are feeling that way and comfort yourself. You’ll be amazed what you come up with.
Write it all down. Get everything out of your system. And don’t forget to end each entry with a positive message to yourself. I usually go for something along the lines of “I have mastered other storms before and I will get through this one as well. I’ll take good care of myself and I will heal”. I have inspirational quotes like these saved on my phone as well so that I can read through them whenever I am on the go and feel I need some comfort.
10. Listen to heavy metal
Heavy metal might not be your first choice in music (it’s not mine either, I’ll admit) but desperate times call for desperate measures. Metallica’s Black album works best for me. I turn it up full volume and head-bang my way through my apartment while doing my housework.
I may look like a total nutcase doing so but I find it to be a great way to release tension, anger and stress and I really feel better once I am through with my “routine”. Try it out, it might have the same effect on you.
11. Go for a drive
Obviously, this only applies to people with a valid drivers’ license and who have the possibility to drive a car. Personally, I find driving to be a very soothing activity. You can’t afford to fall apart while driving. The fact that you are focused on the road and the traffic doesn’t allow you to think about much else, providing an excellent momentary distraction from your thoughts.
12. Go rollerblading
Weather conditions permitting, get out those old pair of rollerblades (everyone has a pair hidden away somewhere in the back of their closet) and go rollerblading in the park, by the lake or just down your street. It’s a very liberating activity.
Whatever your coping mechanisms turn out to be, be patient with yourself and give yourself time to heal. Time heals everything and trust me, a year from now (even earlier) you’ll be in a complete different place.
I’m curious to hear what your post-breakup coping strategies are, share them below in the comment section if you like.