Valentine’s Day may be a day for many to celebrate their romantic love, but for people experiencing heartbreak, it can be an incredibly distressing time. In fact, heartbreak can trigger a condition coined “broken heart syndrome”, for which searches have risen +250% over the past seven days.
Following a new nationwide survey revealing that the average person takes 9.16 months to overcome heartbreak, Compare The Market AU has teamed up with relationship and break-up coach Emmi Fortin, to reveal her top tips on recovering from a broken heart, including how to get through Valentine’s Day as someone who is in the midst of heartbreak.
How can heartbreak affect people mentally and physically?
Relationship breakdowns can be overwhelming, with 33% of people reporting increased stress and 25% reporting a dip in mental health due to their breakup. Emmi explains that breakups “are multifaceted events that include mental, emotional, and physical components. The mental part of a breakup has to do with the fact that you are going through overwhelming emotions, from anger and disappointment to despair and grief from the loss of a relationship and person.
“These thoughts and emotions affect our biology by triggering our body’s nervous system’s stress response. There are many stress chemicals being released during and after a breakup, along with others that can cause ups and downs depending on whether you are still in contact with your ex, triggers that come your way, and if you have healthy practices throughout your day to help work through these natural physiological responses.”
How can you heal from a breakup in a healthy way?
Finding coping mechanisms for the heartbreak can help speed up the recovery process. But what are the best ways to deal with a breakup in a healthy way over the long term? Emmi Fortin offers her top five tips:
- Go no contact. Encouragingly, 17% of those surveyed said getting rid of any reminders of their ex helped them move on. This is something Emmi highly advises, encouraging people to “disconnect from your ex as much as possible, whether that’s no contact or setting boundaries around times and frequency of communication for co-parenting reasons.”
- Allow yourself time to grieve. Grieving was revealed as the number one way people moved on from the breakup for 31% of Americans. Working through your emotions is an essential way to process what you’re feeling, as Emmi suggests: “Write about your feelings; you need to release them. You can write in a blank journal or use guided journals to get started. One great journal for this is The Breakup & Divorce Self-Renewal Journal.”
- Surround yourself with friends and family. Spending time with loved ones can help with the loneliness that comes with a breakup, with 23% of people reporting it as an important part of their recovery. Emmi suggests that you “surround yourself with people who grow you and with whom you can cultivate meaningful connections. Even though your reaction may be to self-isolate, one of the fastest ways to recover from a broken heart and reduce loneliness is to foster fulfilling connections with others as frequently as possible.”
- Get writing. With emotions running high, writing down how you feel can help you make sense of your emotions and work through your thoughts. As Emmi advises, you can even write it in the style of a memoir. “Write your personal story in the style of a memoir (you don’t need to share it with anyone if you don’t want to.) Not only does this help you see your situation through an objective lens, it also helps you process what you’ve been through or even envision where you want to be.”
- Ground yourself. Connecting with yourself can be a form of self-care, something Emmi strongly recommends doing. “Connect with your physicality as frequently as possible. Do things that ground you in your five senses: deep breathing, movement, mindfulness activities, and gratitude.”
How can people overcome a broken heart this Valentine’s Day?
As Valentine’s Day approaches, the advertisements and happy couples can be a constant reminder of love lost. So, how can those suffering from heartbreak deal with negative feelings during the holiday?
Emmi says, “I’ve always been a huge supporter of giving to the other people in your life that you love! Make handmade cards for your girlfriends, make a nice dinner for your sibling or parent, give your pet a day at the pet spa – whatever helps you feel the joy of giving to someone you love. You will frequently feel that love exchange in return, which is the point of Valentine’s Day.”
Commenting on the survey data, Hannah Norton from Compare the Market AU said: “Valentine’s Day is a day for celebrating romantic love and making that special person in your life feel appreciated. But, for people going through heartbreak, February 14th can be especially hard. Breakups are, for many, an incredibly stressful experience and can have a number of consequences for a person’s physical and mental health.
“It’s important to take care of yourself during such times and rely on safe coping mechanisms to get through the heartache.”