There’s no way to avoid it: breakups suck, even if you’re the one that has to do the dumping. But the period after ending a relationship doesn’t have to suck; it can also be an emotionally productive time for you to finally give yourself the excuse to stay in bed all day watching your favorite movies and giving yourself some much needed ‘me’ time. Everyone deals with breakups differently, of course, but if you’re not the kind of person who can brush yourself off and move on right away, don’t worry — that doesn’t mean that the way you’re handling it isn’t healthy. In fact, wallowing – if done properly – can be an important step in your process.
If you are fully behind the idea of wallowing, like Lorelai Gilmore was after Rory’s first breakup on Gilmore Girls, you probably won’t be surprised to find out that even science says it’s a good idea after you split with someone. Back in 2015, a study confirmed that wallowing is good for your emotional health, and if you want to be able to move on fully from your ex, it can be a crucial step in that process.
But wallowing doesn’t mean ignoring the world while the rest of your life falls to pieces. There are a few dos and don’ts you should follow while you’re trying to get over someone — unless, of course, you just want to be miserable forever.
1. Do be a little kinder to yourself.
There’s no better time to be nice to yourself than when you’re going through something hard, so remember to treat yourself like you would a BFF who’s going through the same thing. Buy a new face mask at Target for a little extra pampering, get the whipped cream on the Frappuccino, and most importantly, don’t beat yourself up for everything that went wrong in your relationship. Remind yourself of all the good and wonderful qualities you have that your ex is missing out on — there’s a good chance that list is very, very long.
2. Don’t let it affect school or work.
If you need to take one day off to grieve, take it — but don’t let this breakup be what sets your life spiraling out of control. You still have to show up for work and school, because one day, this breakup won’t matter… but making a mistake like losing your job or failing a class during this time could end up following you around for a long time after you’re over your ex.
3. Do lean on the people who love you.
Times like this are when you’re going to be most thankful for your support system, so don’t forget to use it. Wanting to be alone is perfectly understandable, but when you can manage it, invite a few friends over to wallow with you. Any good BFF will be ready and willing to come over and watch romcoms in bed with you all day on a Saturday, and it’ll probably cheer you up. Go get ice cream with your mom. Take your dog for an extra long walk. Just doing you is a big part of healing, but so is letting the people who love you make this breakup easier.
4. Don’t push your loved ones away.
It can be easy to isolate yourself during times of sadness, but this is the last time you need to be without the people that love you. Like we said earlier, be alone when you need to be, but don’t shut everyone out who wants to help you. Chances are good your friends and family are on your team and just want to help you however they can, and the last thing you want to do is ruin your friendships during a time when you need them the most.
5. Do have an endpoint in mind.
Unfortunately, you can’t wallow forever — and after a while, it’s going to get old anyway. Of course, nobody can really put a timeline on getting over a relationship, but the wallowing stage shouldn’t last more than a week or two – absolute tops. Have a point in the near future in mind where you promise yourself you’re going to start acting like a human again, and stick to it. Just like grieving the relationship is important in moving on, so is returning to your normal life.
6. Don’t obsessively check their social media.
It’s totally normal to be curious about what your ex is doing, so checking their Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat is fine every so often. Checking it obsessively — like, multiple times a day — is not, and it’s going to make getting over them even harder. If you don’t have the kind of self-control to keep yourself from refreshing constantly, those delete and block buttons are there for a reason, and you don’t have to feel bad about using them.
7. Don’t dwell on the breakup.
Distraction is your friend right now, because thinking about the breakup constantly is only going to drive you crazy. And above all else, do not contact your ex. Even if you’re thinking you want to give this relationship another shot in the future, immediately after a breakup is probably a good time to let things lie. Process the breakup before you try to talk to your ex again — it’ll be good for both of you, as hard as it might be not to text them.
And remember: no matter how awful things seem right now, this isn’t going to last forever. You’ll be happy — in a new relationship or not — again soon, but for now? Happy wallowing. Go eat some ice cream!