Last updated:

May 12, 2024


 min read

Helpful Tips for Moving on After a Breakup and Starting to Heal

From acknowledging your emotions to cultivating supportive connections and rediscovering your identity, this guide offers practical tips to help you navigate the journey of healing with resilience and grace.

Written by
Kanika Kant

Experiencing an unforeseen and unwelcome breakup can lead to significant psychological turmoil. It might leave you feeling as though you've been dealt a blow to the gut or blindsided and left reeling. Common emotions include feelings of rejection and self-doubt, alongside a sense of being immobilised. Despite well-meaning encouragement from friends and family to move on, studies in neuroscience indicate that this process can prove immensely challenging, particularly in the initial months.

Studies using fMRI scans have shown that identical brain regions were activated when individuals viewed pictures of their partners and when they experienced physical pain (Kross et al., 2011). However, this does not imply that breakups directly cause physical pain. Instead, it suggests that your brain is signalling the significance of both experiences, urging attention to their emotional impact.

A gender distinction also appears to emerge, indicating that men tend to engage in distraction and avoidance of emotions, while women are inclined towards obsessing and ruminating (Choo, Levine and Hatfield, 1996). This contrast might stem from societal norms wherein women are often socialised to shoulder greater responsibility within relationships, prompting them to dedicate more time to contemplating what transpired or reflecting on potential alternate actions.

Impact of Breakups 

Additionally, studies indicate that the partner who initiates the breakup typically links it with positive outcomes, such as experiencing a sense of relief, decreased anxiety, and a hopeful outlook. Nevertheless, they frequently report negative emotions, including feelings of guilt, regret, loneliness, and a sense of responsibility for leaving their partner behind. Conversely, the partner who is left often experiences emotions such as shock, hopelessness, depression, and a significant blow to their self-esteem. 

Evidently, the impact of a breakup extends across various aspects of an individual's life apart affecting them emotionally, physically, socially, and cognitively. Physical symptoms such as fatigue, changes in appetite, and sleep disturbances may manifest due to the emotional distress caused by the breakup. Social dynamics may shift as individuals withdraw from social interactions or struggle to maintain connections with friends and family, potentially leading to feelings of isolation. Cognitive functioning may be impaired, with individuals experiencing difficulties concentrating, making decisions, or remembering things due to rumination and intrusive thoughts about the relationship.

Strategies to Cope 

Coping with a breakup can be one of life's most challenging experiences, stirring up a whirlwind of emotions and uncertainty. However, with the right strategies and support, it's possible to navigate this tumultuous period and emerge stronger on the other side. 

Acknowledge Your Emotions

Wanting to feel better immediately after a breakup is a natural response. However, an essential aspect of the healing process involves acknowledging and processing your emotions, as well as allowing yourself to grieve the loss. Whether your relationship seemed perfect or was riddled with difficulties, experiencing a breakup often leaves you seeking understanding and closure. It's crucial to recognize the significance of the loss and its impact on you.

Instead of suppressing your emotions or attempting to convince yourself prematurely that the breakup was for the best, it's important to embrace vulnerability and grant yourself the time and space to express your feelings. According to research, crying serves as a form of self-soothing, helping to restore emotional balance when we feel overwhelmed. Whether you shed tears openly or privately, it's essential to allow yourself to release your emotions fully. 

Prioritise Self-Care

Self-care is essential for coping with a breakup, providing support for overall well-being. Make it a daily routine to engage in calming and soothing activities. Consider incorporating practices such as meditation, yoga, journaling, listening to music, progressive muscle relaxation, taking a walk, or any other activity that brings you comfort and relaxation. Explore new interests and engaging activities that bring joy and fulfilment into your life. Experimenting with new hobbies can provide a sense of excitement and rejuvenation. Additionally, establishing structure in your daily routine can offer comfort and stability during this transitional period.

Establish Healthy Boundaries

One of the most challenging consequences of a breakup is the uncertain nature of an on-again, off-again relationship, which often exacerbates heartache (Dailey et al., 2020). However, this doesn't imply that it's unnecessary to address unresolved matters or have discussions with an ex, as closure is essential. Additionally, while reconciliations are not out of the question, it's crucial to approach them thoughtfully. Reconciliation boundaries entail establishing clear expectations and limitations if considering rekindling the relationship, ensuring personal boundaries are respected.

Establishing boundaries is paramount in coping with the aftermath of a breakup. These boundaries serve as crucial safeguards for emotional well-being and provide a framework for navigating the complexities of post-relationship dynamics. Communication boundaries involve clearly articulating needs and limits with the ex-partner, determining the extent of contact permissible. Social boundaries require managing interactions with mutual acquaintances to minimise discomfort. Emotional boundaries necessitate delineating conversation topics to avoid triggering painful emotions whereas physical boundaries involve creating distance to safeguard against inadvertent closeness.In sum, these boundaries offer a roadmap for preserving self-respect, fostering healing, and promoting growth amidst the breakup aftermath.

Physical Exercise

To alleviate dwelling on heartache, immerse yourself in activities that keep you occupied and connected with the world. Research indicates that physical exercise serves as one of the most effective self-help remedies for depression. Exercise triggers the release of endorphins and serotonin, fostering a positive mindset. Conversely, excessive isolation and comfort-seeking behaviours hinder optimal brain function.

Combat inertia by initiating movement—whether through leisurely walks in your neighbourhood, gym memberships, or trying out new sports. Engaging in these activities not only introduces you to new people but also encourages the cultivation of fresh relationships, redirecting your focus away from negative thought patterns associated with pain. 

Reflect and Learn

This involves introspection and gaining insight into oneself, the relationship, and the breakup experience. Reflecting allows individuals to understand their emotions, identify patterns, and acknowledge areas for personal growth. It's an opportunity to process the breakup, including the reasons behind it and the associated emotions such as grief, anger, and sadness. Learning from the experience involves recognizing what went wrong in the relationship, taking responsibility for one's own actions and choices, and considering how to approach future relationships differently. In fact, studies indicate that keeping a breakup journal can alleviate stress, enhance problem-solving abilities, and promote better health outcomes by bolstering T-lymphocytes, a type of immune cell (Altrows, 2001).

Cultivate Supportive Connections

Meaningful relationships form the foundation of a fulfilling life. While the end of one relationship may feel daunting, nurturing other connections can provide solace and reaffirm the presence of love in your life. Spend time with friends, cherish moments with family, and find comfort in the companionship of pets. You might contemplate selecting a Breakup Buddy—opt for someone empathetic and capable of navigating the mood swings and unpredictable moments you may throw their way. Seeking connection and embracing love from various sources can be invaluable allies as you navigate through the process of healing and recovery. 


Navigating the aftermath of a breakup requires a multifaceted approach that encompasses self-care, social support, and professional guidance. By prioritising self-care activities, setting healthy boundaries, and engaging in meaningful connections with friends and family, individuals can begin to heal and rebuild their lives. 

Additionally, considering therapy as a resource can provide invaluable support. By booking an appointment  with Rocket Health’s qualified and empathetic therapists can provide a safe space to process emotions, gain insight, and develop coping strategies tailored to your individual needs. By addressing deeper issues in therapy, you may cultivate healthier habits and mindsets, fostering the potential for more fulfilling and satisfying relationships in the future. Remember, healing from a breakup takes time, patience, and effort, but with the right tools and support, it is possible to emerge from this challenging experience with newfound strength and resilience.


Altrows, K. J. (2001). Structured Journal Writing for Recovery from Romantic Relationship Loss (pp. 1280-1280). National Library of Canada= Bibliothèque nationale du Canada, Ottawa.

Choo, P., Levine, T., & Hatfield, E. (1996). Gender, love schemas, and reactions to romantic break-ups. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 11(5), 143.

Dailey, R. M., Zhong, L., Pett, R., & Varga, S. (2020). Post-dissolution ambivalence, breakup adjustment, and relationship reconciliation. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 37(5), 1604-1625.

Kross, E., Berman, M. G., Mischel, W., Smith, E. E., & Wager, T. D. (2011). Social rejection shares somatosensory representations with physical pain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(15), 6270-6275.