Moving On: Practical Steps for Healing After a Breakup or Divorce

by | Mar 2, 2024 | Divorce and Life After, Life in General, Self Improvement

A broken heart. It is one of the most treacherous and painful human experiences. It hurts so bad that we can feel physical pain, and some of us even die from a broken heart.

You can’t eat. Or you over-eat. You can’t sleep. Some days you can’t get out of bed. Sometimes you can’t even think straight, and no matter what you are doing, you are most definitely thinking about the next time you can release your pain with a good ugly cry as you smile around others, hiding your hurt.

Divorce ranks as one of the most stressful situations anyone can go through. Dealing with a heartbreak is no small matter.

Roughly half of the marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. And roughly half of the ones that don’t still aren’t happy, which means an even larger percentage of relationships in general fail.

A Journey of Self-Love and Empowerment

Many of us face heartbreak at least once. Whether from a teenage romance or a marriage’s end, the pain can overwhelm you. 

Sadly, many lack the skills to heal properly. It demands awareness, patience, and time; no shortcuts exist. Even so, healing need not take a decade—it’s largely up to you. There’s a path beyond the pain, though no magic formula exists. Coping mechanisms can aid. 

Yet, within heartache lies a chance for profound self-growth. This journey isn’t just about moving past pain but facing it, rediscovering self-love, and embracing empowerment. It prepares us for a future where we love more wisely.

Explore further in my blog: Self-Love and The Art of Letting Go of Those We Love

Unlocking Inner Transformation

The first step on this path is recognizing that healing starts from within. Self-love is not just a buzzword; it’s the foundation of mental health, one on which we rebuild our shattered selves. 

It’s about acknowledging our worth, independent of anyone’s affection or, approval, or choices. Healing a broken heart is a process that involves time alone. Still, it’s crucial to strike a balance to avoid falling into isolation. Time alone should be a period of self-reflection and growth, not a sentence of loneliness.

Allow Yourself to Grieve

Embarking on the journey of starting over after the ending of a relationship requires a profound acknowledgment and embrace of the emotions tied to the ending. 

It’s crucial to allow yourself the space to feel and process the range of emotions that accompany such a significant life change. Understand that grieving the loss of what once was and the dreams you had with your ex-spouse is not only acceptable but an essential part of the healing process. 

Give yourself the grace to navigate through this emotional turbulence, recognizing that it’s a natural and necessary step toward moving forward. Embracing and expressing these emotions sets the foundation for personal growth and resilience in the face of the challenges that lie ahead.

Crafting a Constructive Support Network Post-Breakup

In navigating the emotional terrain of a break-up, building a constructive support network is vital. This network should comprise not just any companions or family members, but those capable of providing constructive feedback and genuine empathy. 

While friends and family are invaluable, it’s crucial to discern which individuals in your circle can offer the supportive energy you need. Avoid those stuck in their bitterness or resentment, as their perspectives may hinder rather than help your healing process. 

Moreover, remember the importance of being considerate towards your support circle. Constantly airing grievances or venting might strain even the strongest bonds. This awareness underscores the value of incorporating professionals, such as therapists or coaches, and support groups into your recovery landscape. 

These resources offer a dedicated space for unburdening emotions without overtaxing personal relationships. They bring a balance of professional insight and communal empathy, guiding you through coping strategies and emotional understanding without judgment.

Selecting your support network wisely, balancing personal connections with professional guidance, and engaging with empathetic communities form the cornerstone of a healthy recovery process. This multifaceted approach fosters resilience, promotes emotional growth, and smoothens the transition into a new chapter of life with grace and strength.

The Power of Self-Reflection

Self-reflection emerges as a crucial step in the wake of a breakup, serving not as a conduit for regret but as a platform for personal growth and understanding. It prompts us to introspectively examine our role within the relationship’s dynamics and to identify both our strengths and areas for improvement. 

This process isn’t about pinpointing blame but about cultivating a deeper awareness of our behaviors and emotional triggers. Recognizing these patterns paves the way for healthier and more rewarding future relationships.

Embrace accountability for your actions, recognizing that personal growth stems from understanding your contributions to the relationship’s end. This insight encourages a proactive approach to personal development, aiming to alter behaviors that may have contributed to past conflicts. It’s about shifting from a victim mindset to one of empowerment, where each experience becomes a lesson rather than a setback.

Reflecting on the relationship’s challenges and your responses to them can offer valuable lessons. Consider the recurrent issues and feedback from your partner, even if it was delivered in moments of hurt. Identifying patterns from past relationships can illuminate areas for self-improvement.

Contemplate not only what you seek in a partner but also what qualities you bring to a relationship. Crafting an “ideal partner” list can clarify your desires and boundaries, but equally important is striving to embody the qualities you value. This alignment of self-reflection and personal development attracts relationships that resonate more deeply with who you are and aspire to be.

Thought and Journal Prompts: 

·      What mistakes did you make along the way?

·      What do I need to forgive myself for

·      What steps can I take to heal and move forward?

·      What did you learn from this relationship? 

·      What were the good and bad qualities of your partner? 

·      What type of person would be the best match for you? Why?

·      What would you like to change about yourself and your life?

For a more extensive list of journal prompts, download my free handout here: Free Break-Up Journal Exercise 

Embracing Self-Growth Amid Healing

In the aftermath of a breakup, self-focus becomes paramount for healing. This period isn’t about rushing into another relationship but about personal growth and fulfillment. Stepping out of our comfort zones fosters growth and builds a life independent of others. 

While it’s tempting to dwell on the past, true recovery comes from focusing on our own journey. Redirecting energy towards self-improvement and setting personal goals can catalyze change. Whether advancing in careers or exploring new hobbies, these endeavors shift focus from loss to empowerment.

Acknowledging life’s positives, even amidst heartbreak, steers attention towards gratitude. Confronting emotions directly aids in processing and moving forward. Writing or discussing feelings helps navigate complex emotions, leading towards healing and self-discovery.

Shift focus towards happiness and take steps to mend your heart. You deserve the best life experience. Start today, embracing healing as the most effective and healthiest path forward.

Navigating Healing by Managing Triggers

In the healing journey post-breakup, recognizing and minimizing triggers is a crucial step. Daily encounters with certain places, sounds, or even objects can unexpectedly evoke memories, turning even joyful recollections into sources of pain. 

To foster healing, consider temporarily distancing yourself from items that are strongly associated with your past relationship. This might mean storing away cherished gifts or mementos from shared experiences until such time as they no longer bring sadness. 

Digital reminders can be equally distressing. Taking steps to remove or hide photos of your ex from your phone can help. On iPhones, utilize the hidden folder feature, or alternatively, move these images to a different storage solution. 

While it’s impossible to completely erase the past, reducing its constant presence in your daily life can significantly aid in your emotional recovery, allowing you to focus on moving forward and healing.

Release your ex

To embark on a path of healing, it’s imperative to release the bond with your ex. This act of letting go is not just about moving on; it’s about reclaiming your own life and space. Free yourself from the shackles of “what ifs” and the roads not taken. The person you fell in love with has changed, as have the circumstances of your relationship. Holding on only anchors you to a past that no longer serves your present or future.

Embrace a Clean Break Online

Blocking your ex across all social media platforms is a critical step in facilitating a healthy separation for everyone involved. Social media’s ease of access to an ex’s life, including their family and friends, can significantly impede the healing process. This measure isn’t meant to be permanent but serves as necessary space to navigate the post-breakup journey. 

Manage Time Spent Reminiscing

It’s natural to dwell on memories with your ex, especially the highlights. However, to foster healing, it’s beneficial to consciously limit this indulgence. Implement a structured approach by allocating specific time slots—perhaps 30 minutes a day—to reflect on your relationship and feelings. Schedule it as you would any other appointment. Over time, you’ll find your need to dwell diminishes, easing the emotional burden and freeing your mind for present and future engagements. 

This technique allows our mind to concentrate on immediate tasks, providing reassurance that it will have the opportunity to process the overwhelming and distressing event at a later time.

Confronting Denial

Denial is a common refuge following a break-up. Some may believe they’ve moved on, yet remain anchored in the aftermath, holding onto hope for reconciliation. This state of denial not only prolongs suffering but also prevents true healing and moving forward. Acknowledge your feelings honestly and assess whether you’re genuinely moving past the relationship or merely clinging to what was. Personal honesty is your compass in navigating the complex journey of letting go and embracing the path ahead.

You’re the only person who can tell if you’ve truly let go of the past.

Taking It One Day at a Time

Healing is not a linear process. There will be days of profound sadness and days of surprising joy. The key is to take it one day at a time, allowing ourselves to feel every emotion that comes our way. With each passing day, the pain will become a little more bearable, and the light at the end of the tunnel a little brighter.

Find Healthy Distractions

There’s a difference between accepting your grief and wallowing in it. The more you do, the less time you’ll have to stare at the phone, feel sorry for yourself, or stalk their social media thinking about the what-ifs. 

• Redecorate or rearrange your surroundings

• Purge your closets & remove the clutter

• Organize that sock drawer

• Create something new that you can enjoy with others

• Read a good novel 

• Start and finish that Netflix Series you’ve wanted to watch

• Reconnect with friends

• Journal

Crafting Your Soundtrack for Healing

Music, with its profound ability to resonate with our innermost feelings, can be a powerful tool in healing after a breakup. Curating your playlist allows you to select songs that uniquely speak to your journey through heartbreak, reflection, and eventual healing. This personal collection of tunes can range from melancholic melodies that let you fully experience your sorrow to uplifting anthems that inspire resilience and a renewed sense of hope.

Alternatively, if you’re seeking inspiration or a starting point for your musical healing journey, consider exploring a comprehensive playlist I’ve compiled. This collection features over 125 songs, spanning 60 years of music, designed to resonate with a wide range of emotions and stages of healing after a break-up. Whether you need a song that articulates the pain of loss, motivates you to embrace the next chapter, or allows you to reflect on the lessons learned, this playlist has something for everyone.

You can access this curated list here: Break Up Songs. Warning:This playlist contains songs with explicit lyrics. Dive into this musical library to find the tracks that speak to your soul, or let it inspire you to create a playlist that’s uniquely yours. Remember, music is a universal language that can guide us through our darkest moments and lead us back to light and laughter. Whether you explore my collection or assemble your own, let the power of music fuel your journey toward healing and growth.

Try Something New With Your Newfound Time

Step outside your comfort zone and grow. You can keep your previous social schedule and routines, and you can consider adding to it. You won’t find any solutions while sitting on the couch, staring out the window feeling depressed.

Get yourself out of your head and back into the mainstream of life. Challenge yourself to learn something new or pursue a hidden passion. To illustrate, consider the following suggestions as examples of putting your toe in unfamiliar yet fascinating waters:

• Join a yoga class 

• Join a sports league

• Travel the state, country, or globe

• Learn a new skill

• Take a class or online course

• Schedule a makeover

• Update your wardrobe

• Hire a life coach

• Start that business

• Write that book

• Volunteer 

• Date yourself

Meet new people.  

A new life requires some new people. What types of people do you admire? What types of people fascinate you? Get busy contacting people you’d like to add to your life. Think about the places you’d find them and use that to your advantage.

Food for Thought:

New behaviors procreate a new life.

What better way could you spend your time?

Dating Again.

Give yourself time before dating again. How much time you require is an individual decision. But there’s no rush. When you begin dating before you’re ready, not only are you potentially creating additional challenges for yourself, but consider your dates, too! They might be getting more than they bargained for, which isn’t fair. Take the time you need to heal.

Navigating the Path to Reconciliation.

Reconciliation after a break-up is a nuanced journey that requires careful consideration and self-reflection. 

Suppose your ex-partner reaches out suggesting to stay friends or meet up. In that case, listening to your feelings and assessing your readiness for such contact is essential. Time apart, typically 30 days or more, can significantly help simmer down egos, gain clarity, and foster a new perspective on the relationship.

This period of separation allows both parties to reflect on their contributions to the break-up, encouraging a move away from the need to be “right” and towards mutual understanding and responsibility. It’s a time to evaluate personal growth and consider whether reconnection could benefit both individuals involved.

– When receiving an invitation to reconnect, such as a casual coffee meet-up, weigh your emotions and readiness. Are you prepared to see them? Is maintaining a friendly relationship something you genuinely desire, or does it serve a deeper hope for reconciliation?

– Trust your instincts and prioritize what feels right for you. The decision to rekindle contact should align with your personal healing process and emotional well-being.

– Remember, in cases where the relationship involved emotional or physical abuse, maintaining distance is often the safest and healthiest choice. The priority should always be your safety and recovery.

Reconciliation is not a one-size-fits-all process. It requires both parties to approach the possibility with openness, honesty, and a willingness to address past issues constructively. By taking time apart, you allow yourselves to grow individually and, potentially, to rebuild a healthier connection moving forward.

Avoid making your situation worse.  

Self-sabotage can manifest in many ways. This isn’t the time for emotional eating, excessively drinking or sleeping, using drugs, or Jumping into a rebound relationship. Get your feet back on the ground and avoid doing anything that can make your challenging circumstances harder. 

Many of us aren’t aware that we can sometimes be our own worst enemy through the vehicle of self-sabotage. Realize that you deserve so much more than staying stuck in an unhealthy relationship with yourself too. Maintain your routines as best you can. It’s easy to fall into a slump and allow the quality of your life to deteriorate. It’s only a recipe for more sadness. 

Read more about Self-Sabotage in my Blog: Do Your Routines Serve or Sabotage You

Download my eBook: Empower Yourself: A Woman’s Guide to Self-Sabotage

Forgive. Forgive. Forgive. 

You can’t truly move on until you’ve forgiven yourself and your ex. This may take time. But you’re only really free once you’re able to forgive.


Navigating the aftermath of a break-up isn’t merely about moving past a relationship; it’s an opportunity for profound self-discovery and growth. This period invites us to forge a deeper, more meaningful relationship with ourselves, finding strength in our vulnerability and embracing the love we deserve from within. As one chapter closes, we’re presented with the chance to embark on a journey filled with self-love, healing, and the promise of new beginnings.

Embrace this transformative phase by engaging in activities that foster self-improvement and joy. Whether joining a fitness club, exploring new hobbies, or simply enjoying the company of friends and family, every step you take is a stride towards a future brimming with potential and happiness. This is your moment to reimagine your life in ways that resonate with your true self, creating a fulfilling and exciting path forward.

Remember, while heartbreak is a universal experience, it offers a unique opportunity to rediscover your strengths and aspirations. Use this time to heal, grow, and open your heart to the endless possibilities that await. Here’s to a future where you emerge stronger, more resilient, and ready to welcome the love and joy that lie ahead.




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