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Breakup Advice: 22 Things to Do After a Breakup to Feel Great & Hate Less!

In need of breakup advice? You’ve come to the right place for both the best breakup advice to heal you and the ones you must ignore for your own sanity!

what to do after breakup advice

So you’ve just experienced a breakup, and it feels like you’ve been in a high-speed emotional car crash. Your heart is in turmoil, your thoughts are scattered all over the road, and you’re wondering how you’ll ever pick up the pieces. Sounds grim, doesn’t it? But hey, don’t lose hope.

Just like there’s a recovery protocol for car crashes, there’s one for heartbreaks too. And that’s exactly what we’re getting into today: what to do after a breakup.

Whether you’ve been in love for five months or five years, stick around because we’re about to navigate the twisty roads of post-breakup life.

[Read: First week after a breakup – the hardest parts and 15 steps to survive and heal]

The Psychology of Why Breakups Hurt

If you’re reading this, you’re probably knee-deep in a sea of emotions. Look, breakups suck. There’s no sugarcoating it. But understanding why it hurts like heck can actually help you heal. So, what should you do after a breakup?

Well, your brain treats this emotional chaos kind of like physical pain. And that’s not all, it even goes into ‘fight or flight’ mode.

Let’s break down the science behind this so you can pick up some awesome coping strategies.

1. The immediate aftermath—fight or flight response

Believe it or not, the same neural circuits light up in your brain when you’re experiencing physical pain and emotional pain. Your brain doesn’t discriminate between a heartbreak and a broken leg. Ain’t that something?

Not only that, but your brain perceives the breakup as a threat, and, boom, you’re in fight or flight mode. Your adrenaline pumps up, your hands might shake, and you feel jittery. This is your ancient brain trying to “protect” you.

2. The dopamine dip

And oh, let’s talk about the brain’s “party pooper” moment.

Your brain got so used to the dopamine highs from being in a relationship that it’s now going through withdrawal like it’s missing its daily shot of “feel good.” [Read: Chemistry of love – how hormones make you feel love the way you do]

The Best Psychology-Backed Breakup Advice You MUST Follow

Look, when you’re navigating the complex maze of emotions post-breakup, it’s easy to get lost. What you need is a map, a compass, and maybe even a sherpa.

And that’s exactly what this section is for – the ultimate breakup advice and what to do after a breakup. No tricks, no gimmicks, just some good ol’ science-backed wisdom to guide you.

1. No contact rule

You might’ve heard of the no-contact rule, but let us tell you, it’s like the Swiss Army knife of breakups. Why? Because of something called attachment theory. Basically, your brain is wired to stick to familiar things, even if they’re bad for you.

Keeping your distance is the emotional equivalent of taking your hand off a hot stove. [Read: Attachment styles theory – the four types and 19 signs and ways you attach to others]

2. Emotional first-aid kit

Right now, your emotional bruises need some TLC, and we’re not talking about the ’90s R&B group.

Cue in stress coping strategies, like journaling or practicing mindfulness, to act as your emotional band-aids. These are your go-to’s for immediate relief when your thoughts start spiraling. [Read: 32 secrets to be present and live in the moment when life is speeding past you]

3. Leverage your support network

You know what they say, it takes a village.

The bestest, fastest, and healthiest way to get over a broken heart is to rely on your trusted support network. Your friends, family, and loved ones are there for you when you need them, so don’t ignore them in this time of need.

Text that friend, call your mom, or even join an online group—just make sure you’re not going through this alone. [Read: True friendship – 37 real friend traits and what it takes to be a good, loyal one]

4. Give yourself time to cry

Yes, schedule your tear-fest. Allocate time to be in your feels, maybe while listening to Adele’s entire discography. You’re not being dramatic, you’re being emotionally efficient.

Now, here’s the kicker: by setting aside time to cry, you’re actually giving yourself the emotional bandwidth to function during other parts of the day.

Think of it as compartmentalizing your sorrow so that it doesn’t spill over into every other moment. When the urge to cry comes at an inopportune time, gently remind yourself that there’s a “crying appointment” later and that you can fully embrace your emotions then.

This way, you’re not suppressing your emotions, you’re managing them like the emotionally intelligent human you are. [Read: 47 strongest ways to not cry at the wrong moment and hold those tears back]

5. Put your phone down

We all know where those thumbs are itching to go—your ex’s social media. Resist the urge, unless you want to derail your emotional train.

Now, you might be asking, “Why is it so darn hard to stop?”

Cue in the neuroscience: Your brain is hooked on the dopamine released when you see something—anything—related to your ex. It’s like nibbling on emotional junk food. But what’s really happening is that you’re reinforcing neural pathways that make it harder to move on.

So, how do you break this habit?

First off, delete or block them from your feeds. Out of sight, out of mind—seriously, it works.

Second, whenever you feel the urge, try a counteraction.

Do a set of push-ups, watch a funny video, or text a friend. Create a replacement habit that diverts the neural pathway toward something positive. It’s tough, no doubt, but think of it as emotional strength training for your brain.

6. Remember being alone isn’t the same as being lonely

Isolation and solitude have different vibes. Embrace the “me time” to rediscover your interests, catch up on hobbies, or just binge-watch that series you’ve been meaning to see.

Here’s the thing, your mindset plays a huge role in how you interpret your alone time. You’ve got to stop the pity party and reframe this as an opportunity rather than a sad, lonely ordeal. [Read: 45 secrets to be more positive and fill your mind with positive emotions 24/7]

In psychology, this is known as cognitive reframing. Essentially, you’re taking a mental scenario and viewing it through a different, more positive lens.

When you tell yourself you’re lonely, your brain believes it and you sink deeper into a self-fulfilling emotional pit.

Instead, say, “I’m taking this time to focus on me and my growth.” You’re essentially instructing your brain to activate those ‘feel good’ pathways, giving you the boost you need to genuinely enjoy your solitude.

What To Do After A Breakup – The Must-Knows!

You’ve been served the appetizer of why breakups suck. Now, let’s get into the main course of action: what to do after a breakup. We promise it won’t taste like unsalted cardboard.

1. The self-care regime

When you’re in the midst of asking what to do after a breakup, consider this: taking care of yourself isn’t just for aesthetic gains. In the field of biopsychology, self-care is proven to shift the balance of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins. This helps you pivot from a stress-response state to a more relaxed, focused state.

So go ahead, book that massage appointment, or treat yourself to a spa day. Your neurotransmitters will thank you for it.

2. Cognitive emotional regulation

Remember when you’re looking for breakup advice that you’ve already got a tool kit in your brain designed to regulate emotions. According to emotion regulation theory, one key technique is cognitive reframing.

A mantra can be powerful here. When the emotional waves hit, simply remind yourself, “I control my emotions; they don’t control me.” This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. [Read: Mantras to live by – 21 positive mantras that will transform your life]

3. The social media cleanse

One of the best pieces of breakup advice is to disengage from the attention economy. Going radio silent on social platforms helps your brain break the cycle of dopamine hits you get from constant updates and likes. This break allows your emotional system to reset.

4. Journaling

Still wondering what to do after a breakup? Try journaling. This technique is rooted in cognitive behavioral therapy *CBT* principles and allows you to rewrite your emotional narrative and helps you process what you’re feeling in a tangible way.

5. Get rid of your ex’s things

Don’t cling onto that old hoodie like it’s a life raft.

When you’re looking for breakup advice, don’t underestimate the power of your environment. You can’t move on if you surround yourself with knickknacks and reminders of your lost relationship.

So put it all in a box, and hide that box out of sight and out of mind. [Read: 17 science-backed secrets to get over a breakup you caused and not regret it]

Or, for a more cathartic option, you can never underestimate the healing power of burning their photos!

6. Avoid drastic changes

Tempted to dye your hair blue or get that spontaneous tattoo? Wait it out. Emotions are temporary, but some decisions are long-lasting.

In the aftermath of a breakup, advice often swings to radical changes. But hold off as high-emotion states can cloud your judgment, leading to choices you might regret.

7. Keep yourself busy

When it comes to what to do after a breakup, filling your schedule is more than a distraction; it’s a form of behavioral activation, a technique used to treat depression. Exercise, travel, learn to juggle—whatever it is, keep that mind occupied.

8. Be patient with yourself

Above all, your journey to feeling better isn’t going to be linear. Some days, you’re the star of your own rom-com; others, it’s a tearjerker. But that’s okay.

Your storyline is still unfolding, and trust us, it’s worth sticking around for the ending.

What You Should NOT Do

When you’re scrambling to figure out what to do after a breakup, it’s just as important to know what pitfalls to avoid.

We’ve heard breakup advice that sounds like a quick fix, but be wary—some choices will leave you in worse shape than before.

1. The rebound trap

We’ve all heard that the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else. But, our friends, decision fatigue is real, especially when emotions are running high.

Rebound relationships often put you in the position of making emotional choices when you’re least equipped to do so.

So, step away from dating apps until you’re ready to decide with a clear mind. [Read: Rebound sex – 21 reasons, signs, and questions to know if you’re ready for it]

2. Don’t rely on substances

Look, sipping on a glass of wine might feel comforting, but it’s not the elixir to heal your heartbreak.

According to the self-medication hypothesis, using substances to cope with emotions can lead to dependence. You’re not solving the problem; you’re creating another one.

3. Resist overthinking and ruminating

If you’re wondering what to do after a breakup, your mind might be buzzing with “what-ifs” and “if-onlys.” But be cautious.

These cognitive spirals are classic cognitive distortions that turn you into your worst enemy. Every thought isn’t a fact—remember that when your mind wants to play the blame game.

Breakup Lessons: The Silver Lining

There’s an underappreciated upside to breakups—the silver lining, if you will—that we often overlook when we’re scouring the internet for breakup advice.

In the midst of figuring out what to do after a breakup, these lessons can serve as your North Star, guiding you back to yourself and an even better version of yourself.

1. The growth opportunity

Okay, brace yourselves. Did you know that breakups can actually be catalysts for immense personal growth?

No, we’re not trying to sprinkle sugar over a pile of heartache. According to positive psychology, overcoming adversity often leads to character development, resilience, and a more nuanced perspective on life.

So, think of this breakup not as a setback, but as a setup for your personal evolution. [Read: 28 self-improvement secrets to improve yourself and transform into your best self]

2. Rediscovering yourself

You might have been a ‘we’ for so long that you’ve forgotten the ‘me.’ Well, honey, it’s time to reorganize that self-concept! Not like Marie Kondo-ing your soul, but sort of?

Self-concept reorganization is a thing in psychology that means redefining how you see yourself independently of another person.

Dive into that forgotten hobby, adopt a new skincare routine, or start learning a new language—whatever floats your newly single boat.

3. The value of being alone

Finally, let’s debunk this myth that being alone means you’re lonely. There’s a huge distinction between solitude and loneliness, and honey, solitude can be golden. [Read: How to be happy alone and 20 reasons why relationships are overrated]

Being comfortable in your own company has proven psychological benefits, like boosting creativity and enhancing emotional regulation skills. So, give yourself the gift of quality time with numero uno—you!

This Difficult Period is Only a Chapter, Not Your Entire Story

As you navigate through the aftermath of your breakup, remember that this difficult period is only a chapter, not your entire story.

You’re stronger than you think, and each step you take, no matter how small, brings you closer to a happier, healthier you.

[Read: 43 must-knows to deal with a breakup and move on from your ex-relationship]

So, whether it’s Day 1 or Day 101 post-breakup, let’s get one thing straight—you shouldn’t stop living your life. What to do after a breakup isn’t just about recovering from emotional pain; it’s about forging a future where you’re the protagonist, shaping your destiny with intent and confidence.

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Preeti Tewari Serai
Preeti Serai
Preeti, the founder of LovePanky, is an eternal optimist and believer in the beauty of love and life. With an exhaustive experience in love, relationships, and ...