A breakup is one of the top 10 life events that causes the most stress. Whichever way you break up, the fallout can be emotionally devastating and psychologically draining, leaving you feeling dazed and confused. Love might be blind but a breakup can leave you feeling blindsided, not knowing which way to turn. Getting over a split, whoever or however it was initiated, takes time- but there are ways you can lighten the breakup burden.

When a romantic relationship fails you can feel a range of emotions from hurt and lonely to angry and resentful. Here are 20 breakup tips to help you on the road to recovery:

  1. Don’t suffer alone – It is natural that when you are in pain you want to withdraw; it’s a coping mechanism. Internalizing pain can be damaging though, so open up about what you are going through or at least how you feel.
  2. Focus on loving YOU – Before any breakup there is often an intense pre-split period which in itself can take over your life. Now you need the focus to be back on yourself. Do something nice for you and you alone, like get a massage or take a trip, to acknowledge that you are a special person who deserved to be loved.
  3. Reflect on life lessons – Every experience is a learning curve and some lessons can be painful. The important point is that you learn something about yourself that can help you develop and grow.
  4. Look at the bigger picture – In times of trouble it is easy to lose perspective and let a difficult situation cloud everything in your life. This is not about downplaying your pain but about seeing how it is a part of a bigger whole.
  5. Understand that a partner is not the be-all end-all – Whether you have been in a long-term relationship or are a serial monogamist, it can be scary to be suddenly not one of a twosome. Remember, it is possible to be single and happy.
  6. Keep other relationships going – Dealing with a relationship ending can have a knock-on effect on how you communicate with your family and friends. Make sure that you don’t keep loved ones at too much of a distance, as you need a support network.
  7. Stay busy – It might seem cliché, but when you have a lot going on you are distracted from obsessing about your pain.
  8. Don’t fight your feelings – Keeping busy is not the same as ignoring what will undoubtedly be a mixed bag of emotions. Let your feelings flow and don’t over-question or judge yourself for what you feel.
  9. Give yourself time – Time is a great healer. When you are on an emotional rollercoaster you sometimes have ride it out.
  10. Avoid trigger people, places and situations – Friends of both of you, romantic spots where you spent happier times, and watching romantic movies; you might want to call time on all of these for a while until you feel a little more resilient.
  11. Look after your health – Exercise is a great way to boost your mental health with some feel-good neurotransmitters, and can help you sleep better too.
  12. Let go of negativity – Resentment can be like a ball of internal fire. However, even if you feel that your partner did you wrong, somewhere down the line you need to stop holding onto these destructive thoughts.
  13. Write your thoughts and feelings down – While many people can relate to the pain of a breakup, every separation is personal. You can often make better sense of what you are experiencing by putting pen to paper. Write a list of how you feel and a list of how you want to feel. Look at how you can get there.
  14. Realize risk-taking behavior exacerbates your misery – Alcohol, drugs and risky sexual liaisons all spell more trouble if you are already struggling to feel good and get your life back on track. This may mask your problems for a while but when they eventually surface the bite might be that much more intense.
  15. Create structure in your life – When your whole world seems to have been pulled out from underneath you it is not surprising that you can feel adrift, unable to keep your balance or your life on an even keel. Add as much structure and routine as you can to create a rescue buoy to grab hold of as you battle the choppy waters of your breakup.
  16. Listen to yourself – When you are going through a split there are often arguments, accusations and recriminations, or possibly the deafening sound of silence. Turn your attention to your inner voice; it is there to help you.
  17. Create new life plans – However miserable, when a relationship ends there is space for new beginnings. From sadness can come hope for the future. Start making plans to which you can look forward.
  18. Grieve for what you have lost – Losing a relationship can be as painful as losing a loved one. Grief is sometimes a necessary process, and you need to embrace all the stages from anger to acceptance.
  19. Believe that you can and will move on – When the road ahead looks dark and frightening, you have to remember that at some point the sun will come up. Remembering when you felt distraught in the past and got over that feeling can help you realize and understand that you can do that again.
  20. Seek counseling if you need extra support – Counseling services are not only for people struggling with keeping a relationship going, but also for those struggling with the tangled knots of thoughts and feelings that can follow a split.

When a relationship ends it is important not to see this as a failure. Whether there is no love lost or you feel you have lost the love of your life, there are ways of untangling complicated emotions and fragile feelings that will benefit you in the future.