Step 1: Triage

Just broke up? Still broken up about it? Take some time. Cry. Hole up for a few days. Give yourself permission to do whatever you need to do* to get through this first stage, these first days.

Care for yourself, and indulge some, even if it means eating ALL the ice cream or drinking a little extra. Pile up in the blankets. Stare out the window.  Spend some time in a place that soothes your soul. Go home, wherever that is.

Take a break from social media. Contemplate the quiet, and embrace it. Let your brain come to rest. Listen to the sounds around you: birds chirping, water lapping against the rocks, the wind in the trees.

Call a friend. Have a Girls’ Night Out or a shopping day. Re-watch old movies or have a TV marathon. Reclaim a hobby or activity you used to love but let fall by the wayside. Tackle some projects you’ve been meaning to get to.

Know that you are unclear about where you are now and about where you’re headed. Listen to advice, but don’t act on it ’til you decide whether it’s right for you. As in medicine, the mantra here is, “First, do no harm,” but this time it’s for yourself.

Don’t let well-meaning people push you to do things you’ll later wish you hadn’t. Don’t let them talk you into rebound sex or into calling that old flame who’s been standing by, just waiting for a second chance. No bull-in-a-china-shop attempts at dating that cute guy in the bar where you hang out, and no major decisions–or decisions which could lead to major consequences.

Because when you do these things, you are more likely to hurt the people around you, which, in turn, causes more psychic damage to you, the last thing you need when you are already trying to heal. “Well, my wrist is already broken, so I think I’m just going to try a handstand right here.” First, do no harm, and then protect yourself as best you can from racking up more damage in the process.

The most powerful thing you can do for yourself, when you are finished crying and the silence has settled in, is to decide that it’s over, embrace it, and vow to make a conscious choice to love and care for yourself and to build a life that you love.

 

*Don’t do anything dangerous. If you feel that you are a danger to yourself, call your family, a friend, your priest, or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-8255 and TALK to someone.

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