Okay, so here is the thing, one time I wrote a breakup survival guide because I went through a rough breakup, and subsequently about seven people I really care about also went through rough breakups. So I put all my advice together as a care package of advice to honour their grief and help them along to the other side. I never posted it because it felt too vulnerable and it was more of a “I’m so sorry you’re feeling this way let me send you the link to my google doc survival guide” that I didn’t write with the intention of posting – but people really appreciated it so here we are.
Recently I stumbled upon the guide while going through a different season of grief- and I realized the advice is still good. And maybe I just care less about being vulnerable or maybe I just see the silver lining of heart ache is that I get to empathize better with others and maybe my experience and advice can help your heart feel seen. I said to my friend the other day that I feel like maybe positive side of grief is that when you get to the other side you can turn back and help call your friends forward through their own.
So here we are; my breakup survival guide.
I think often times when we are going through breakups or heartache it can be exhausting to be around people. We’re using so much energy to wake up and get our butt’s out of bed and through the day that sometimes we don’t want to be around people. Isolating yourself isn’t good, but forcing yourself to be with people when you don’t have the energy to be social isn’t either. So you have to find that balance. But the great thing about books is that they can be a voice of encouragement and hope to you and you can read them from the comfort of your bed in your sweatpants and a cup of tea.
Some books that have helped me through heartache, that I’ve shared with my friends are:
- Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
- If You Feel Too Much by Jamie Tworkowski
- Love Does by Bob Goff
- Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
- Hallelujah Anyway by Anne Lamott
- Scary Close by Donald Miller
- Rising Strong by Brené Brown
My breakup advice doesn’t stop at a book list. There are a lot of ways you can help yourself mend a broken heart. Like I said, isolating yourself isn’t good and I believe spending time with people who love you and make you feel good. I love the expression “people who feel like sunshine”, and I truly do have those friends who after I spend time with them I feel like I have a glow. Reach out to those people and let them love you.
Along with spending time with friends is having fun with friends. You might think, but Kaitlyn, isn’t that the same thing? No, not always, especially not if you’re going through a rough time. So once the sadness starts to pass, have so many fun nights with your friends. Go to your best friend’s house and lay on their floor while they make you brownies. Eat more ice cream than your lactose intolerant stomach can handle. Drink rosé on the beach and laugh too loud and remember all the wonderful surprises life has in store for you.
Journal, make art, find ways to express your thoughts and feelings so you can process them and then let them go. Buy yourself a plant, love it, tend to it, watch it grow, and remember that progress, growth and healing is a slow process. You won’t notice things change day by day, but month by month you’ll notice little changes and developments. Grow with the plant.
The most comforting thing I was told by my friends was that there is no rush to feel better. Which is pretty fucking liberating to be honest. You get to be sad for however long you need to, and you get to process for as long as you need to, and there is no deadline to feel ‘better’ (also can someone explain to me what ‘better’ is?). If you only need to be sad for a week that’s awesome but you can also still be figuring out where you are at months and months later. The top of your Breakup Survival To Do List should be to feel everything you need to feel.
Along with some book recommendations, I have some song recommendations for you too. Because a breakup isn’t a good breakup without a playlist to go along with it – right? Here are some of the tunes that got me through one of mine:
- Literally every John Mayer song ever written, especially the album The Search For Everything ALSO the album Battle Studies (specifically The Edge Of Desire)
- You’re Such A by Hailee Steinfeld
- 11 Blocks by Warbel
- Saved by Khalid
- Once by Maren Morris
- Gonna Get Over You by Sara Bareilles
- Tired of Talking by LEON
- You & Me by G-Eazy
- Think About You by LEON
- Latch by Sam Smith
- Over You by Zak Waters
- What’s Love Got To Do With It by Rose Cousins
- Let You Get Away by Shaun Frank
- Drunk Girls Don’t Cry by Maren Morris
- Best Thing I Never Had by Beyonce
- Too Good by Drake
- Yesterday by The Beatles
- If You Ever Want to be In Love by James Bay
- Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself by Jess Glynne
- Let It Matter by Johnnyswim
- I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me) by Whitney Houston (this will inspire you for the love to come)
If you want more tunes you can just listen to my hysterically mellow-dramatically sad breakup playlist on spotify, because why not.
The two themes to get out of this post are that it’s okay if you feel crappy, there is no need to pretend like you don’t when you get your heart broken. But it will get better and one day you might even be able to see silver linings to having gone through this. And secondly, don’t be afraid to lean on people. Let your friends be there for you in the sadness of the day and in the happiness that is waiting for you tomorrow.
I was given a lot of advice and encouragement from people in my life and I want to close by sharing some of those words with you;
“Don’t lose confidence in yourself, what you can do, who you are, and the reasons why so many people love you. Hold on to those things and the joy that makes you, you” – S.M.
“All I can tell you right now is that eventually, things will get better. Just take your time to get back to what you feel is normal. Be sad for as long as you need to be, take your time to heal and grow. Surround yourself with family, friends and things that make you happy. If it feels like nothing is helping, pray. Talking to God always helps when nothing else does.” – D.M.
“You need time. And to take that time and live through it. This time doesn’t have to be bad. This is life. And life is beautiful even in sadness.” – C.G
“Resist the feeling of wanting to fast forward through your life. You are capable of finding happiness every single day. You are the sun.” – C.G.
Posting this is kinda one of those “oh my gosh this is uncomfortably vulnerable” moments, because talking about heartbreak and admitting what cheesy sad songs I listened to means sharing a bit more of myself. It reminds me of the puffy-eyed, stoic girl I was for a few weeks of 2017. But I’ve been told by friends that this advice helped them. And maybe you are going through a hard time, or maybe your best friend just got blindsided by a breakup and you have no idea what to say. So this is for you, this is for anyone who’s ever had their heart broken. This is me, sanding on the other side of grief telling you that it’s going to be okay.