Heartbreak Can feel like the loneliest thing in the world, but the truth is we’ve all been there and back, wiser and better for it. We discovered a new self-care app, Mend, after a friend’s recent breakup and were impressed by how helpful it actually was – especially because there is an element of community.
Mend is dedicated to the process of mending your heart after it’s been broken. It features daily audio check-ins, chat rooms, journaling prompts and plenty of relevant and relatable articles to keep your mind busy and your fingers away from texting your ex. We asked founder Elle Huerta for some of the best advice she’s come across during the ever-sensitive, overwhelming experience of a break-up. Pass it along to a friend in need of a little loving guidance…
I’ve been through nine breakups. Just like Ariana Grande, each taught me something about myself and one, in particular, gave me the inspiration to create Mend, a self-care app for heartbreak that’s being used by people in 195 countries around the world (heartbreak is truly universal!). You can think of it like a best friend who also happens to have expert advice.
How To Survive After A BreakupI knew that bringing the science of heartbreak to the forefront was crucial to the mending process. Sometimes all we need to know is that it’s normal to feel like a different person after a breakup, and why we feel the way we do. Below I’ve gathered some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way to help you feel better, faster, if you’re heartbroken.
Don’t medicate with sugar, caffeine and alcohol. After a breakup, you may experience more cravings than usual for junk food. This is because foods high in sugar (and fat) release happy hormones in your body, which you’re missing post-breakup. You may also want to rely on alcohol to help dull the pain or caffeine to pick you up.
But keep in mind that post-breakup nutrition is one of the easiest ways to help yourself feel better. Focus on nutrient dense foods (like nuts, seeds, smoothies, juices) if you’ve lost your appetite completely, and go for healthier alternatives (extra dark chocolate) if you’re craving sweets. Remind yourself that the temporary boost you get from sugar/caffeine/alcohol won’t be worth it on the other side — it’s the last thing you need when heartbroken. As Hippocrates said, Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.
Don’t forget the healing power of touch. Heartbreak feels like withdrawal, so even though you may want to shut yourself out from the world, the worst thing you can do is starve yourself of all human contact after a breakup. Make sure to see friends and family in person, even if it’s for quick visits.
Being around people will help replenish the feel-good hormones you’re missing from your ex. Don’t underestimate the power of touch to help you feel better post-breakup. Sit close to them on the couch. Give them a long hug. Ask your friend for a foot massage. Even a massage from a professional can have a major impact on your mood because it releases the same hormones you got from being around your ex.
Do schedule time to be sad and wallow. Heartbreak can be all-consuming, which is why you may find it difficult to get out of bed or be productive at work after a breakup. The good news is that it’s actually good for you to reflect on how you’re feeling, as long as you’re being structured about it.
You want to give yourself the opportunity to feel without letting it take over all the good parts of your life. Pick a day/time that’s convenient for you to observe your thoughts and emotions, write in a journal or even just cry and feel sorry for yourself. This will help you set some boundaries so that you don’t slip too far into wallow mode, but it ensures that you’re allowing yourself to grieve too.
Do enforce an ex detox. Going through a breakup is a lot like withdrawal — it has a real impact on your physiology and your neurochemistry. And just like when you’re trying to quit sugar, the best thing you can do is detox completely.
I recommend a 60-day period where you have no contact with your ex. It doesn’t mean you can never have contact with your ex again, but when you’re in the throes of heartbreak, it’s good to give yourself that time away from each other so you can each process the breakup. When you keep in contact with your ex immediately after a breakup, it can slow mending. It’s like continuing to re-open a wound that’s trying to heal.
Do build a mend monument. A breakup could leave you feeling defeated, so you’ll want to find something you can pour your energy into building and that’ll serve as a reminder of your growth as you mend. We call this a mend monument and it looks different for everyone — sometimes it’s training for a marathon, other times it’s doing yoga teacher training or taking a painting class. Whatever it is, set aside time to devote to it regularly and check in on your progress. You’ll be amazed at how this propels you forward.
Do allow rituals into your life. Research has shown that rituals improve outcomes, even when the person performing them doesn’t believe in rituals (isn’t that amazing?). Use this to your benefit post-breakup. Create rituals for yourself, big and small. A few examples…write down what you want to let go of and tear it up, light a candle every night when you meditate or listen to the same playlist every morning on your way to work to get yourself motivated.
Do seek out the support you need and let them know how to support you. Heartbreak can be equally extremely debilitating whether it was a non-relationship relationship (you know, the hallmark of millennial dating) or a long-term relationship, which is why it’s important that you seek out the support you need.
There’s no shame in needing extra support to work through the pain of a heartbreak, and sometimes that means looking outside of your inner circle. It can be helpful to tell your friends and family how they can be there for you in specific ways, whether that’s bringing over some takeout for a Netflix night or being your plus one to a party.
Do reflect on what you’ve learned. Just because a relationship ended doesn’t mean it was a failure. Each relationship teaches us about ourselves and prepares us for the next one. Sometimes the lessons aren’t immediately clear, but they unfold as time goes on. Make sure you ask yourself regularly, What am I learning about myself? What am I learning about love? Heartbreak can be a great teacher if we allow it to play that role in our life, and if we take the time to pay attention.
Don’t compare your post-breakup timeline. Don’t listen to someone who tells you to just get over it. Don’t listen to the person who tells you it will take half the time you were in the relationship. There are a million made up formulas for how long it takes to get over someone and none of them are right because it’s an impossible question to answer. Everyone moves through heartbreak differently, at their own pace.
Do take a social media detox. Not only is social media littered with reminders of your ex, it’s also a place where people showcase the best parts of their life (as Girlboss founder and CEO Sophia Amoruso likes to say, it’s the highlight reel), so you might find yourself bombarded by images of “perfect relationships” or “perfect jobs” and it may make you feel worse. Giving yourself a social media detox will open up more time for mending