One upon a time I was forced to nurse my own broken heart. I remember so badly wanting the cure, a manual, anything to get me over this monumental life hump. The truth is, there is no quick fix or off switch to this type of pain but believe me when I say there is a RIGHT and WRONG way to healing a shattered heart.
I have witnessed and experienced first hand both the nourishing and destructive way of coping with heartbreak.
Ultimately this guide is designed to deter you from that path of self destruction and self blame (a trap we all seem to fall into). Just 8 steps to ease a broken heart in the healthiest way possible.
1. CRY YOUR EFFING EYES OUT!
In the pits of my heartbreak my best friend told me to be the Gold Medalist Olympic Champion of crying.
Because for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Let me put it this way – The harder you cry, the stronger the endorphins, the better you feel and the greater the clarity.
As we inch closer towards clarity we inch closer to a stronger heart. You need a big cry to release and make room for those new productive thoughts that will motivate you to take the steps to move forwards and not backwards in life.
I used to cry in the shower. Fact! There was something so cleansing about water running over my body whilst expelling watery tears from within (I mean how much more vulnerable can you get?! Naked & crying!). Literally seeing those tears of pain wash down the drain helped. It’s cathartic. So go for it! Cry your effing eyes out and don’t you dare apologise for it.
2. RESPECT OLD FATHER TIME
You have to give time time to work its magic. (no that’s not a typo).
Here are the many phrases I hated hearing when I was in the thick of nursing a shattered heart.
“It takes time” “time will heal” “in time you will see/realise/learn that…” .
Every time someone said those phrases I wanted to rip my ears out of my head. I started loathing time.
“Screw you time!”.
I wanted to fast froward and jump ahead to a time where I would be ok. It all seemed so overwhelming to me, this idea of having to ride out time which meant riding out the pain. Anyone else? If so, I feel ya.
But let’s shift your perspective on this notion of brutal endless time.
I was once reminded that “you can’t forget to give time, time”.
Had I been too hasty and harsh on old Father Time?
Had I not accepted that it moves inevitably at a constant and consistent speed and that I can’t change that?
But I could change myself. So I compartmentalised time (or put it in a box if you will), accepted that it will tick away and made the choice to ignore it. After all, time flies when you’re busy, distracted or having fun. Which leads me to my next point.
3. BE THE ULTIMATE BUSY BEE
Ok, so this might sound hard when you’re drowning in sorrow.
You’ve decided that you want to be a couch potato till the end of time. You never want to get out of your pyjamas, leave the safety net that is your house and face the world.
I 100% agree. And I will tell you this. Do all of those things. Absolutely. And I’ll use this phrase again. Be the Olympic-fucking-champion of it. Allow yourself to waste away on a couch with a giant pile of crumpled tissues and an endless supply of Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream.
BUT you MUST give yourself a deadline.
“I am allowed to wallow and indulge in ice-cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner for ONE week”.
Make that commitment to yourself. And make the decision to honour your deadline. The slump-ber party has to be over when you said it would be. I assure you, after a whole week of committed weeping and wallowing you will get bored of yourself. I certainly started to.
Time to become the ultimate busy bee and harness the art of distraction.
Time to get that ass up and moving.
Make dates for yourself. Lock them in. And I mean LOCK THEM IN. Put them in your calendar.
Don’t just say “Can we catch up next week?” to a friend.
Say “Are you free for a coffee and a walk tomorrow at 10am?”.
If it’s not locked down, it won’t happen. Coffee with friends. A yoga class. Volunteer work. Heck, maybe something you’ve never done before like a meditation class? (Or in my case, start a lifestyle blog!)
The point is, you need become the ultimate planner. Because you will wake up each day not wanting to do anything. But if you wake up to a day jam packed with appointments, you will force yourself to get up for them.
A little self forcing is a good thing. I remember dreading the thought of having to get dressed in something other than my pyjamas and face the light of day. But I made up my mind that I was NOT going to let anyone down. Whether it was a dear friend or a pilates instructor. Perhaps you have a pet dog. He/she needs walking right? Make sure you don’t break that deal with them. Honour your commitment to walk them every day. Get into that fresh air and breathe deeply. This all helps to cleanse the junk out of your mind and start making space for those thoughts of clarity. Tick!
4. MOVE YOUR BODY & EXERCISE
No need to elaborate on this one. The benefits are obvious. Be kind to your body. Be gentle with your heart.
Moving + Exercise = Endorphins = Happiness.
It’s a formula that works my love so don’t resist it, trust it.
5. YOU’RE A POET AND YOU DIDN’T KNOW IT
Writing feelings, along with crying like a champ is another way of releasing!
But what if I’m not into journaling and hate writing pages and pages of my thoughts?
I was very much this gal once upon a time. I hated the idea of it. If writing pages of feelings intimidates and overwhelms you then just put pen to paper and write a list of dot points. I didn’t even put pen to paper, I wrote everything in my iPhone so I could take it everywhere with me as a reminder.
But what do I write?
Just keep it simple. I wrote a list of all the reasons why the relationship didn’t work out. I wrote the positives of being out of it and what I would gain from having this person out of my life. I forced myself to admit to the cracks that I had turned a blind eye to.
6. PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THE PERILS OF SOCIAL MEDIA
“block, unfollow & unfriend”
Social media is poison to a broken heart. I highly highly highly recommend going on a digital detox.
No doubt you will be tempted to look up your ex to see what they’re up to. But I can’t stress this point enough – Don’t do it!!! Looking up an ex online feels good in the moment because you’re satisfying an urge to spy and pry, but it will leave you feeling like absolute crap. It’s like binging on junk food to satisfy a craving but you pay for it with regret, a sore belly, bloated-ness, bad skin (or in my case a sore and peeling tongue after devouring family size packets of salt and vinegar chips).
Plus if you go on an ‘ex stalking’ spree, you are guaranteed to find something that hurts you. You’ll read into every photo and assume they’re doing ok without you. But let me remind you that social media is a false portrayal of reality. Anyone can smile for a 2 second photo but you don’t really know what’s going on behind the picture perfect moment. Best to save yourself the wonder and protect yourself from it all together. I made a deal with myself to remain blissfully ignorant about an ex and I’ve never broken that promise to myself since. Believe me, it works a treat. Block, unfollow & unfriend!
7. HOW SOCIAL MEDIA CAN ACTUALLY HELP
Now I know a few peeps may cringe at this and I’m aware this isn’t for everyone, but I found that following some inspirational quote pages on instagram were surprisingly helpful. Now this is coming from a girl who was NEVER into the idea of “a quote a day keeps the doctor away”. But they helped brighten my spirits and gave me hope.
When you’re heart aches you will surrender yourself to anything that makes it feel whole again, however fleeting. And if quotes make you feel good and shift your perspective then read them! And if you’re quote hater then I challenge you to give them a chance. Who knows what a cleverly curated bunch of words might do for your soul.
8. TAKING INDEPENDENCE BY THE BALLS!
“There is no comfort in the growth zone but there is no growth in the comfort zone”.
It’s time to acknowledge your fierce independence and embrace your new found freedom. You are no longer in a partnership that makes you feel like s**t.
No more compromising.
No more putting someone else first.
No more pinning your happiness on someone else.
It’s time to cultivate your inner goddess.
Time to do what ever the heck you want with wild abandon.
Time to fall back in love with you, yourself and well YOU.
Love Gemma x
Side love note: If you know anyone going through heartbreak please share this with them. I remember when I was in the thick of it, a dear friend of mind shared a blog post with me on this very topic. It brightened my day, shifted my perspective and gave me hope. I wrote this for those who are hurting and in need of a gentle remedy because, well, we’ve all been there.