28/01/2015 10:37 GMT | Updated 29/03/2015 06:59 BST

The Breakup Survival Guide (That Doesn't Include Positive Thinking)


From the thick of a breakup, it can feel like nothing makes a difference. Here are 10 things that will:

1. Unfriend him on Facebook. Right now. We'll wait.

He won't be posting sad selfies from the places you used to go. Anything else, you don't need to know about. If you're going to stay 'friended', just rip your heart from your chest, hand it over and tell him to squeeze. It will hurt less.

2. Don't make big decisions.

It might seem like a good idea to get 'Live Life' or 'Just Breathe' tattooed on your forearm but seriously, if you need these reminders so badly as to have them embedded into your skin, then you're in no position to make life-lasting decisions. Perhaps one day that tattoo, moving state or leaving your job will be great decisions but make them when 'Love the Way You Lie' stops playing in your head. 'Just gonna stand there and watch me bu...' Don't. Just don't.

3. Exercise

Exercise takes the fire out of cortisol (the stress hormone) and stimulates the brain to release endorphins (feel good chemicals). A caveat though: If the activity involves climbing up the stormwater pipe to look through his window, it doesn't count as exercise. It counts as stalking.

4. Don't drink-text. A couple of drinks won't make you Shakespeare. Or adorable. They just won't.

Alcohol is a depressant so best to stay away if you're on a downhill slide. If you are going to have a drink, protect yourself from the temptation to drunk-text. You're human. You'll want to. But don't trust the courage that's fed by a decent pinot. Give your phone to a friend and explain that unless you're sober, she's to feed it to wolves before giving it back to you.

5. Connect with your tribe.

They're the ones who'll sit through 'Love Actually' (again) and share your microwaved Indian take-away from the dodgy plastic container it came in last night (or was it the night before?) because you used the last clean plate three days ago. Being with friends and family feeds the primal human need for connection and boosts oxytocin (the happy hormone). Before they leave they'll stack the dishwasher and tell you about the salsa dancing classes they've organised for both of you. Don't argue. Just go. There's a good chance you're starting to smell like a week-long temper. Staying indoors will only make it worse.

6. Are you missing him, or the feelings you had when you were together? Clear the way to feel them again.

Recharge your space. Buy new sheets, pj's and scented candles. Get rid of anything that makes you think of your breakup as a loss - which it's not, because it wasn't there and probably hasn't been for a while. Otherwise he would be too.

7. Eat Healthy. Or Don't. Whatever.

Give your body what it needs. Eat healthy and regularly. Of course, the occasional crowd-pleaser bucket of fried chicken won't hurt. Everything in moderation. Or a delicious crunchy coating.

8. He's gone. He's not coming back. But you are.

Do something you wouldn't have done while you were with him. And no, that doesn't mean hooking up with Russell, the 40-something from next door with the gold bracelet and cheesy lines. He's not the only man to own a guitar and being able to play the first four bars of The Simpsons doesn't make him a musician. Learn Italian, buy new lingerie, plan a girls' trip to Morocco - or if you're budget's gasping for breath, a girls' trip to Marks & Spencer for your new lacy knickers will do fine.

9. Don't meet up as 'just friends'.

There's nothing in it for you. You're a strong woman who can deal with anything... until he introduces Sally, 'Sal', the pilates instructor who mentions the movie they saw together. Rational heads don't always spring from broken hearts. There. Said it. So when they go to the movies, you (quietly) go to 'What. A. Jackass. We've been untogether for three months which is five minutes in breakup years and now he's watching movies with some girl and did he ever really care about me at awwwwwwlllll?' Sound familiar? Maybe just me then.

If you can be friends, great, but often someone will want more. If he was outta there a few weeks ago it probably won't be him. If it is, then still 'no'. A few weeks is never enough time to 'find himself'. He's not a remote that slipped behind the couch.

If you're parents together, you'll have to at least stay civil. Fortunately you're a woman who loves your kids more than you'll want to hate any man so you'll be fine. You're phenomenal. That's why you're his loss. Remember that.

10. Respect the relationshp for what it gave you. Then let go.

Everyone who comes to us is there to learn from us or teach us. It might be over but that doesn't mean it wasn't important. It just means it's run its course and has nothing left to give. Use it as a step up to one that does.

The path to happiness and wisdom is littered with broken hearts, including our own. Keep going. It does get easier.

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