Our relationships are like brush strokes, unique in shape and form, in shades of dark and light, in levels of density, thickness and depth. Brushstrokes, like our relationships, exist as an entity in themselves, yet they combine to create one unique painting, one whole that becomes the narrative of our lives. When these relationships we hold so dear start to disintegrate, it can be an extremely stressful and painful experience, shattering the very foundations of what we thought we were.
The stress of breakups can cause a range of disruptions in your life, altering everything from your health to your relationships with others. But there are ways to prevent or reduce the stress felt during these periods of your life, either leading up to, during, or after the breakup. Here are some easy tips for dealing with stress and ultimately transitioning you into the next chapter of your life.
Prior To A Possible Breakup
1. Prevention using open communication
Non-violent communication can help deal with issues that arise throughout your relationship. That is, not the usual arguments where both parties continue to state their own, unyielding opinions. Non-violent communication means listening with an open mind and without being consumed by your own perspective. Open communication can also be particularly useful when discussing issues about finances.
2. Think about yourself and your finances
How can I think about money and finances when my relationship is coming to an end and I am an emotional wreck? There are times when emotion takes hold in a relationship and you can’t see a situation clearly. Events have occurred that may have changed your view of your spouse, or have made you rethink where you stand in the relationship. Love, that mysterious and unfathomable creature, can take hold of you with its many related emotions, rendering you unable to think beyond the situation at hand.
Discussing the idea of putting a prenuptial agreement in place allows couples to openly communicate about finances, preventing extra stress in the future should the relationship come to an end. A prenuptial agreement can assist couples who are thinking of getting married by providing them with a legal document clarifying what would happen if the marriage were to end due to separation.
During the course of the breakup
Perhaps you’ve decided your paths are going in different directions and the relationship is no longer serving either or both of you. This period of time can be extremely stressful, highly emotional and can take its toll on your physical and mental health. Here are some tips to reduce stress in throughout this period.
3. Take care of your health
You may not feel like looking after yourself whatsoever, but this is an extremely important time to focus on your health. As much as it’s hard to do, avoid a Bridget Jones like all night ice-cream splurge, or drowning yourself in excessive alcohol. This should be a time to nurture yourself. Your stress hormones will be running at an all time high, suppressing your immune system, leaving you susceptible to catching colds and viruses.
So eat well, eat loads of fresh food like veggies, fruits and whole grains, drinks lots of water and avoid processed or sugary foods if possible. Exercise daily. It doesn’t need to be a heavy powerlift at the gym or a 20km run, but even just a walk or jog in the park and some stretching can help your blood circulation and make you feel much better. So get up and go for a walk… right now. Keeping your immune system well-supported and the exercise throughout this period will also prevent you from weight gain, and you certainly don’t want that right now!
4. Spend time with friends and family, community, support
Even though you might feel like curling up in a blanket and escaping from the rest of the world (which is also much needed), ensure you keep in contact with friends and family and make the time to see them. It will help you to bounce ideas off others. Sometimes seeing things solely from your own perspective means you may not see the bigger picture. Friends and family can help you to feel connected and supported.
5. Acknowledge your fears
Fear can often be the underlying cause for arguments, fuelling so many of your emotions. Losing someone, for whatever reason after a relationship, tends to ignite feelings of loneliness, fears that you might end up alone. Take a look at the thoughts that continue to plague you; analyse them critically, understand them and realise that many of those emotions are connected to fear. Understanding these fears will enable you to let them go, to open up new ways of thinking and move forward with your life.
6. Letting go
Letting go doesn’t necessarily mean the letting go of your relationship, it can pertain to the letting go of unnecessary emotions, the ways of being and your habitual thought patterns. Has something been happening repeatedly in your relationships that you are not addressing? Is there a pattern of thinking that could be related to the way you see the world that keeps coming up in your relationships? Perhaps it’s time to acknowledge these thoughts. Let them go to pave way for more productive, positive thoughts and possibilities.
7. A note on social media
Be aware that social media can play a major part in exacerbating your feelings, as well as creating tension between mutual friends you and your ex may have had. A good way to reduce stress in this period of time is to unfriend or, less harshly, unfollow your ex. This will prevent you from continually going back and looking at their page or accounts and preventing the urge to contact them. Try to avoid posting about the situation on social media. Instead, contact friends privately if you feel the need to speak to someone about what you’re going through.
Recovering after a breakup
8. Give yourself time
Allow yourself to grieve the loss of the relationship. Although getting active and being around friends and family is critical, so is taking some time for yourself and to think about what has happened. Give yourself some time to think about the situation, what your options are and to find yourself again. It’s not a good idea to jump straight onto a dating app and find the next person who can fill that void and distract you from what’s happened. It simply will not work, and you might end up repeating the lessons you should have learned in your last relationship.
9. Reflect on what’s happened
Take a pen and paper and write whatever comes to mind. Write down what’s happened, how you feel about it and any thoughts that you have about the situation. Almost like you’re having a conversation with yourself. As you write you’ll notice the thought trails that go through your mind as they go through a natural series of emotions. You may start with detailing the situation and your emotions, but slowly you will see that once all of those thoughts are written down, you are able to see them and process with a slightly more detached perspective. What may have started as sadness, fear and anger may move into a more reflective and calm perspective of the situation, even if it happens slowly over a period of time. This is great inner work, and doing this daily will enable you to move into new territory as thoughts pave the way for forgiveness, compassion and movement into new directions.
10. Learn from the experience
Ask yourself some questions when reflecting on your actions in the relationship. It’s always easier to blame the other person for absolutely everything without taking the time to look at the one thing that you (in theory) have control over: yourself. Think carefully about the following questions and write down your answers. These questions may provide you with a change in your perspective and allow you to step back and see the bigger picture.
● What did you learn about yourself?
● What was the lesson you were supposed to learn from the relationship?
● How can you ensure the same situations don’t happen again?
● How can you change your behaviour in the future?
● What are you actually looking for in a relationship?
● Are any of these things tied to other areas of your life, e.g. family, past experiences?
● What other areas of your life can you now focus on that you may not have been able to do before?
If your engagement has been called off
The calling off of an engagement and the deciding of who gets to keep the engagement ring can be an emotional and stressful experience. It’s important to remember that it is not the end of the world, even if it feels like it. Try some of the tips above and just like any other relationship, give yourself time to heal. Whether you purchased the engagement ring or you were the one proposed to, there are a few ways the courts can decide who gets to keep it after a breakup if you didn’t go through with the wedding.
Whether it’s taken a few weeks, months or years, there will come a time when you start to move forward with your life. Don’t worry if you’re not ready as it’s ok to take as much time as you like. When you feel like you are ready though, take it slowly. Start saying ‘yes’ again to invites out with friends, to joining new social groups, to doing the things that you loved once before. Remember that you did exist before this relationship and you will still exist long after it ends. Allowing yourself the time and the space to reflect upon and learn from your past relationships, instead of constantly reverting to the same emotions can help reduce stress caused by breakups, providing a healthier state of mind and preparing you for the next exciting chapter of your life.
Rachel Ryan a legal writer for legaltemplates.net. Rachel specializes in providing professional, diverse and creative articles, equipping individuals with the perfect tools for a variety of legal issues. When she’s not writing awe-inspiring content, she can be found contorted in an almost impossible yoga pose, meandering through a half marathon or sipping on the latest supergreen smoothie.