5 Ideas for Recovering from a Long-Term Breakup

5 Ideas for Recovering from a Long-Term Breakup

Breakups from long-term relationships can drain you, but there are ways to break out.

Breaking up with someone after years of dating can be one of the most painful experiences a person endures. With long-term relationships there is always thought to the future. Maybe this is the one. When that relationship ends, it feels like the entire world comes crashing down. Everything you once believed is now false. And on top of that, you have to start all over with someone else. That is, if the experience didn't scare you off from dating forever.

The good news is that time does heal all wounds, as the old saying goes. The even better news is that you can accelerate that recovery timeline by immersing yourself in activities and people that take your mind off your ex and put it on the path forward. Here are five ideas for putting the pedal to the metal on your road to recovery.

1. Make it a friends weekend

Nights out with the guys or gals can be a nice way to relieve some stress, but nights always end too early. And once you go home there are plenty of reminders of your ex -- and you might see even more of them after a few drinks. Still, nights out are a good way to get your mind off things for a little while. What's better is making an entire weekend out of if.

This requires plenty of planning, especially if you're well out of college and have -- gasp -- actual responsibilities. But most people can get off work for long weekends, so take advantage and plan something where you and your friends can go nuts and get your mind completely off your ex. Maybe you'll still see those reminders when you get home, but you'll have memories of an unforgettable weekend to help you tune them out.

2. Start something artistic

Many people claim they don't have any artistic talent, when what they really mean is that they haven't tried pursuing any artistic goals. The truth is that we all have artistic capabilities. We just haven't tapped them. The period following a breakup might be the best time to test your mettle. Even better: if you've already pursued artistic goals, you can refocus your efforts and really dig in.

Creating art forces us to concentrate deeply. No one wrote a story while multitasking. The further you get in your project, the deeper the focus. Soon enough you'll find yourself waist deep in it. Your thoughts will randomly turn to your project -- meaning away from your ex. And at the end you'll have something tangible to show for your efforts. Let it be symbolic of your moving on.

And remember: even if you don't think you have any talent, that's no excuse to not give an effort. Everyone can read and write the English language. It might take a while to learn the craft, but you already possess the tools to write.

3. Improve your home

This is something I personally did to get over a breakup from a two-year relationship. Every time I came home I'd see reminders of my ex. Yet I didn't want to just chuck them. They were part of my house's decor, part of its ambiance. What I needed was a project to repurpose those little trinkets. What better way than to undertake a full-blown home improvement project. Just like an artistic project, a home improvement project requires focus and concentration, which are the best cures for an ailing heart.

You can choose any type of project you want. I chose my kitchen, since I spend plenty of time in there. After researching kitchen remodel ideas I got started. The work took a long time, and it cost me a few dollars out of my paycheck. But in the end I had a brand new looking kitchen that I didn't remind me at all of my ex. Life has been much better since then.

4. Start a new routine

Routines are great, because it allows us to accomplish important tasks without really thinking. We don't have to sit down and plan after we get into a routine. We just do it. Unfortunately, routines can get old and stale. After a breakup, it's easy to fall into a poor routine that leaves you fatigued and apathetic. While we all deserve some of that, it has to end at some point. This is the perfect time to dive into a new, exciting routine.

Sit down with a notebook and pen, and write down all the things you would like to accomplish in a given day. Then write down what hours you'd like to be working, what hours you'd like to reserve for leisure, and what hours you'll accomplish personal tasks. Then start arranging. It can take quite some time, which is good. Starting a new routine is largely about the process of creating routine. Once you've created it, you'll spend plenty of energy following it at first. But once you get into a rhythm, you'll feel like an entirely new person.

5. Exercise more often

Emotions run high after a breakup. You feel some of the ups, but they only accentuate the downs. But instead of wallowing at home, why not make productive use of those emotions? Physical activity can help refocus our minds, and our emotions, onto something productive. Instead of feeling bad about ourselves, we can choose to start exercising and subsequently start to feel good about ourselves.

The exercise doesn't have to be anything long or grueling. In fact, high-intensity intervals can help you burn calories while at the same time achieving a higher level of fitness than long, slow exercises. You'll need some serious concentration for these, too. But once you're done the endorphin rush will certainly brighten your mood. Exercise enough, and you'll start to put those negative emotions behind you.