Thursday, May 3, 2012

How To Survive A Break Up {Part 5}

"When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us. "
-Alexander Graham Bell

This will be my last post (for now) on how to survive a break up. Throughout 5 different posts I've provided 20 different things you can do to keep yourself healthy when you're going through a break up or loss in your life. I hope you find them helpful, or will pass them along to others who are going through this difficult time as well.

Alright. Let's get on with the last 4 things you can do to survive a breakup in a healthy manner:

  • Evaluate your relationship and yourself in that relationship. What went well in the relationship, and what would you like to see done differently in your next relationship? Maybe you need to work on communicating your needs clearly, or maybe you need to increase your self-esteem. Use this time that you aren’t in a relationship to become as healthy as you can be so that you go into your next relationship as a healthy individual. 
  • Change your schedule or your daily routes to avoid your ex or places that were important in your relationship. If you know your ex goes to the same coffee shop that you do at 8 am every morning, then avoid that time (or even that shop) so you don't run into him. If a park is a constant reminder of your relationship, it is ok to change your route for a few weeks so you don't add more pain into your life. 
  • Remind yourself of the positives in your future. It's easy to feel like your life is over and your future is dull because of the breakup. Remind yourself of the positives that will come in the future (graduating from college, dreams of your ideal job, a running race, etc...). Remind yourself that life isn't over because of the break up, and you will be happy once again. 
  • Find a therapist or pastor to talk to. If you feel like some self-evaluation might be helpful, or if you are feeling depressed or suicidal, it would be helpful to contact a therapist or pastor to be a listening ear or provide some guidance. Therapy isn't just for "crazy" or "messed up" people. It can be beneficial for all people, regardless of how severe your problem is. Feeling sad from a break up is a great reason to see a counselor for a few sessions! 
Well, there you go! I want to again remind you that it is normal to be upset, angry, hurt, confused, _____ (fill in the blank) for weeks to months after, so give yourself the freedom to heal over time. You can't always control what's going on around you, but you can control how you react to it. You do have power, even when the situation seems powerless. 

Here are the other posts in this series in case you missed them!

Now it's your turn!
Looking back at all 20 steps for surviving a breakup, which seem the most "do-able" or helpful to you? What's something that has been more detrimental then helpful that you've done after a breakup? 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Activities To Do While Grieving

Last April I did a series on grief, and I decided to highlight that series once again and add a few more things to it. This also fits in a bit with the series on breakups that I've been doing, since going through a breakup is definitely a loss! At the bottom of this post I will post the links for the series on grief I did last year so you can go back and re-read (or read for the first time!) them. These posts specifically address myths and misconceptions of grief (there are many out there!), healthy ways to deal with grief, and some important things to keep in mind.
Today I'm going to expand on this by giving you a list of activities that may be helpful for you in your journey of grief and loss:

  • Create a collage using pictures and words
  • Construct a book that can be used as a journal or memory book
  • Write a poem, eulogy, or song
  • Create a memory box with important items from your loved one
  • Visit the funeral home, cemetery, or other important places
  • Write a letter to your loved one
  • Create a playlist of songs that can help you process the aspects of the death
  • Read books or articles on grieving
  • Create goals for yourself to engage in healthy behaviors
  • Process forgiveness if needed or if you are ready
  • Honor your loved one. Think of something that was significant to the person you lost, and engage in that (i.e. volunteering somewhere or picking up a new hobby)
  • Learn to identify and accept the range of feelings that you experience
  • Identify and work through any fears that you have about working through the grieving process (i.e. if I move forward in my life I'll start to forget the person)
  • Talk to others who knew your loved one to gain information about them
This is by no means an exhaustive list of activities, but there are a number of concrete things that are healthy to do here. Remember that grieving looks different for everyone, so try to stay away from comparing yourself to others who are also grieving! 

Here are the other posts I've done on grief:
What activities help you to grieve? What healthy behaviors are important to you to maintain while going through a period of loss?