While music can be great for healing the soul, it’s not enough on its own to truly help anyone move on fully.
That’s why we reached out to experts Barbara Santini, a psychologist and relationship advisor, and Dr Tony Ortega, a clinical psychologist with 28+ years of experience, for advice on what else you can do.
Together, they shared their 8 important pieces of advice to help you move on after a difficult breakup.
1. Focus on recovery
It’s fairly common to want to feel normal again as soon as a breakup happens, instead of dwelling on the past and the way you feel. But setting yourself a point in the future by which you have to be back to normal can actually be detrimental in helping you recover.
Even though setting yourself a timeline can feel like a source of hope and guidance right now, it’s far more likely to disrupt the healing process. So, instead of thinking about how you might feel better in three months’ time, actively focusing on what you can do in the recovery process right now is far more beneficial.
2. Don’t ignore feelings
It’s completely normal for us to experience feelings of betrayal, sadness, embarrassment, rejection, fear, or relief after a breakup. You shouldn’t worry about feeling any mix of these emotions, but neither should you repress or ignore them.
Repressing these emotions is just going to delay the healing process, in some cases perpetually, and it won’t help you get over an ex in the long run.
So, rather than suppressing what you’re experiencing in order to get over a breakup faster, you should instead try to welcome what you are feeling instead. It might be painful, but acknowledging these emotions is the first step toward recovery.
From here, you can try strategies like journaling or meditation to help connect with these feelings on a deeper level and process how and why you feel the way you do. Some of these strategies may work better than others, so trying a couple of different ones can be a good idea to help find the best one.
3. Be kind to yourself
A particularly important thing to acknowledge when getting over a breakup is that you need to be kind to yourself. This means taking care of yourself, but also not being hard on yourself if you need a day where you indulge or feel overwhelmed.
Self-care involves focusing on your hobbies or things that make you happy, spending time alone to combat negative feelings, or maybe even taking time to help support others. But most importantly, make a point to do things for you, and only you, as and when you feel the need.
4. Don’t overdo it
In counter to our third piece of advice, while staying busy looking after yourself is a good idea, you don’t want to overdo it. It can be tempting to always keep busy, but breakups are exhausting, so ensure to not forget about those much-needed rest days where you can just unwind without the hecticness of life getting in the way.
5. Forgive your ex, but more importantly, yourself
Perhaps the most challenging step in recovering from any breakup is accepting that you need to forgive both your ex, and more importantly, yourself.
It’s incredibly challenging to get over a breakup if you don’t forgive either of you. In forgiving your ex and yourself, you’re laying the groundwork to avoid frustration and resentment later in life that can disrupt the healing process and even affect future relationships.
Taking this step forward and starting the process to forgive can be a huge help towards healing, and you don’t need to worry about doing this in person. Just a simple internal acknowledgement and acceptance of forgiveness can go a long way.
6. Find a new direction in life
This is another important step to take. If you were living with your partner, it’s often a smart idea to move out and relocate so you can give yourself the separation and space you need.
Finding a new direction in life can also mean changing your circle of friends, especially if they’re closer to your ex than you. It can be difficult to make a decision like this at this time, however, so it is important for you to take your time while slowly pushing yourself to take small new steps.
7. A clean break
Unhealthy relationships have a tendency to consume a large portion of our identity. This makes it so important to have a clean break by minimising or eliminating contact with your ex, and potentially waiting some time before you seek out a new relationship. Even if it’s just temporary, it’s important to give yourself space to reset and recover.
Last, but not least, it’s important to avoid as much gossip as you can about your ex. Avoiding their social media is a good start, but it can also include telling mutual friends to not update you on what your ex has been up to.
This is a key step in helping you to disassociate from your ex-partner and subsequently helping you to move forward. For a successful break, unfollow, mute, or block them on social media, and don’t lurk on their social media pages or stalk them online.
Doing this will go a long way in helping you to re-establish your personal identity as a single person - this may only be necessary for a short time but vital to one’s well-being.