Everyone who's gone through a painful breakup knows how much of a toll it can take on your body, mental health, and spirit. You also know how difficult it is to separate what you're going through from the rest of your life. The world unfortunately keeps spinning when all you want is everything to pause while you heal, which is why focusing on self-care becomes even more critical than ever after a breakup, according to the CEO and founder of Mend, Elle Huerta.
The website and now an iOS app that Jessica Alba had a hand in developing with Elle is like a personal coach for heartbreak. Users check in each day to receive audio training and care tips and can even track their progress as they go. The idea of Mend first came about when Elle was searching for breakup advice online one late night in her 20s after experiencing a breakup of her own. But everything she found was either cliché or didn't resonate with her personally, and as a result, she created Mend as a website for others also dealing with heartbreak.
So when I spoke with Elle about the most important things to do after a falling out, she explained how you should almost treat it like an illness. Anyone who's felt nauseous or sick after a breakup knows how it can absolutely affect you physically. And similarly to how you wouldn't put yourself through more stress while recovering from the flu, for example, you should take care of yourself at the end of a relationship.
"And it's not in a selfish way, but I do really think you have to turn inward and focus on the basics," Elle told us. "I really think that heartbreak can be so traumatic, so you sort of have to act like it's triage."
Your instinct might be to reach for the ice cream (or the wine) and sulk until you feel better, but you're actually slowing down the healing process by doing so. Here are three essential must dos Elle suggests instead:
- Get enough sleep: Acknowledge that your body is going through a lot, and make sure you don't neglect proper sleep. You won't feel any improvement the following day if you're sleep-deprived, cranky, and exhausted.
- Eat healthy foods: Junk food may be comforting in the moment, and while it's totally fine to allow yourself to indulge, you need to make sure you're nourishing yourself. Just because your heart hurts doesn't mean you need to punish your body.
- Stay connected to loved ones: Having a support system is so critical to your healing process. Don't underestimate the power of a girls brunch or a call with a family member. Even when you just want to be alone, you'll feel better being able to share what you're feeling with somebody else.
"You really have to focus on just the basics before you can really even start to reflect on the breakup and make sense of it," Elle said.
Another helpful activity she recommends is to release all your thoughts and emotions into a journal. Even if journaling isn't quite your thing, you'd be surprised at how cathartic it can feel to pour everything out.
"We don't realize the conversations that we're having with ourselves inside of our heads all day, and we become so used to that voice," she said. "So I think it's really helpful to actually externalize those thoughts and sort of reflect on what you're saying about yourself, and then you can really start to change the narrative once you've done that."
You won't get over it overnight, but start off small and focus on yourself, and let time do its thing. We promise you won't always feel like this!