Breakups are never easy, no matter how necessary they may be. From the raw pain of the initial emotions to the long months of trying to adjust to life without the one you once loved, the process can be excruciating. After all the dust has settled, though, it’s not uncommon to find yourself in a new realm of loneliness and exhaustion that can feel nearly as painful as the original heartache. This is what’s known as post-breakup burnout—and it's totally real, even if it's not commonly talked about.
Post-breakup burnout has a wide range of symptoms that typically lasts for several months before slowly lifting. At its core is a sense of exhaustion, both mental and physical, that can make even the simplest tasks feel insurmountable. People often describe feelings of being drained, listless, and unmotivated. Daily activities that were typically less than taxing all of a sudden require superhuman amounts of effort. Other potential signs of post-breakup burnout include difficulty sleeping, changes in appetite, difficulty focusing, and difficulty enjoying previously enjoyable activities.
It’s important to know that experiencing any or all of the above doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you, nor is it reflective of your worthiness. Relationships take an emotional toll on a person, and that toll needs to be respected just as any other kind of distress would be. To that end, there are a number of things you can do to ensure you’re treating yourself thoughtfully during this time and hopefully inspiring a bit of relief from the symptoms:
1. Prioritize Sleep and Nutrition
The proper amount of sleep and stable nutrition are essential for overall wellbeing, especially during times of increased stress like after a breakup. A healthy body and mind are more equipped to handle challenging emotions, so aim to give your body what it needs by getting plenty of restful sleep and eating foods that nourish you and your individual needs.
2. Plant the Seeds of Self-Care
Be sure to carve out time for activities, both big and small, that make you feel cared for and seen. Some easy suggestions are getting a massage, taking 30 minutes to write in a journal, going for a casual walk to get some fresh air, drawing an intentional bath with epsom salts, or pampering yourself with a face mask. Whatever it may be, you deserve to set aside a few moments just for yourself.
3. Limit Contact With Your Ex
It may seem counterintuitive, but even if you and your ex remain amicable, it’s wise to resist the urge to talk to them more frequently than necessary. This means you may need to adjust the terms of your communication for awhile to ensure your mental health is being respected. For some, this may mean transitioning to email exchanges only and for others, it may mean temporarily cutting off all contact until you have some more healing space and perspective.
4. Lean Into Your Support Network
It’s natural to withdraw for a bit after a breakup to process your newly changed world, but remember that having some extra love and support can offer a much-needed source of comfort. Stay open to family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances who have been wanting to extend help during this time – they are likely closer than you may realize.
Prioritizing yourself and allowing yourself to experience the full range of emotions that come with a breakup is key to moving through post-breakup burnout in as healthy and intentional manner as possible. With a little extra self-care and guidance, you can begin to heal and eventually feel inspired to take the reigns of your life back into your own hands.