Privacy Policy Cookie Policy Terms and Conditions
Mind and Body

Self Care After a Breakup - Top 15 Tips For a Breakup Recovery

Let’s really look at all what self-care is, the benefits, suggestions, advice, and resources to help you with whatever is best for you. Some suggestions you’re probably aware of, but there’s likely some new things that you’ll find very helpful as you start your recovery. 


Kenneth Erickson


Feb 26, 2023

Self Care After a Breakup - What You Need For Your Mind and Body Health

  • The 3 Types of Self Care You Need to Work On
  • Self Care Ideas and How They Help
  • The Different Self Care Obstacles - Reasons People Put Off Self Care
  • Resources and Support to Get Your Self Care Plan on Track

Self-care is much more than just starting to workout or dieting. Sure, this is great for you, and we have them as options, but there’s much more behind self care than trying to look better. 

Let’s really look at all what self-care is, the benefits, suggestions, advice, and resources to help you with whatever is best for you. Some suggestions you’re probably aware of, but there’s likely some new things that you’ll find very helpful as you start your recovery. 

Here we go!

The 3 Areas of Self Care

Self care after a breakup, or even in an existing relationship, refers to the actions and behaviors that individuals engage in to maintain their psychological, emotional, and physical well-being, particularly in the context of their romantic partnership.

Think of it as taking care of your Mind, Heart, and Body! The goal of self-care after a breakup is to help you recover from this heartbreak more quickly and more effectively, by prioritizing your own needs and well-being.

1. Psychological Self Care

This is when you focus on maintaining and improving your overall mental health, cognitive functioning (what your brain is doing), and thought processes. By using some of these practices to calm or center yourself, you can develop and maintain healthy thought patterns, beliefs, and attitudes. Psychological self care can include:

Practicing mindfulness and meditation to reduce your stress and improve your mental well-being

  • Mindfulness is when you purposefully focus your mind on the present moment, calmly acknowledging and accepting your feelings with no judgement, to help manage anxious or negative feelings and emotions.
  • Once you're able to do this, you can then begin using behavior and though modification techniques to help with specific things like, worrying about what your ex is doing, whether you'll get back together, should you call or text, and all the negative thoughts and worries that creep into your head after a breakup.
  • Consider signing up for an online CBT support with, Calmerry, or trying an app like Sanvello. Both programs are designed to help you learn CBT techniques at your own pace and apply them to your daily life.

Engaging in activities that bring your joy and relaxation, such as reading, listening to music, or taking a bath.

  • The rationale here is multi-fold. These actions force you into the present, they are easy to accomplish which improves their usefulness, they're enjoyable and can remind you that you're still able to feel good, and they allow you an opportunity to move into your state of mindfulness.
  • Activities help occupy your mind - which makes it a very good option when reminiscing can lead to heart break triggers.
  • Reading is especially useful, with many books available that can help you understand more about the “why” and “what” you’re feeling right now. A couple great examples are:

The Breakup Bible: The Smart Woman's Guide to Healing from a Breakup or Divorce

The Mindfulness Workbook for Depression: Effective Mindfulness Strategies to Cultivate Positivity from the Inside Out

There are also resources aimed at your personal growth beyond or outside of the relationship. These can be helpful because this self-improvement time is about you only. It’s helpful at this stage to have something new in your life that isn’t shared with your past relationship and is all about you.

Related Articles:

The 26 Best Breakup Support Books and Why

Spending time with friends and family to build your “social” support team and reduce feelings of loneliness or isolation. 

  • Talking with friends and family for support and a sense of belonging during this difficult time can be so helpful. By opening up to supportive people who care and will listen, it lets your brain work through things differently as you express yourself out loud. You can get a different perspective on things when it's spoken.
  • Talking with friends and family cans help provide emotional validation and support.

Action will be a common theme in your self-care routine.

TRY THIS! Reach out to a good and supportive friend you haven't spoken with in awhile or a close family member. You don't need to jump right into things that are troubling you. Ask how "they" are? The right people will do the same to you. Hopefully this becomes an opportunity to discuss your situation, feelings, and to get out and interact with people.
  • If you don’t have a lot of options when it comes to family and friends then consider online support groups or meetups. We've provided some information and links below in our Resources and Support section below.

Seeking professional help, such as therapy or counseling, to address mental health concerns and improve overall well-being.

  • Not everyone has a pool of friends and family that they feel comfortable reaching out to, or meeting up with people they really don't know. When this is the case, consider a professional counselor or therapist.
  • If you need it, do it, talking it out always helps. It just needs to be with someone that is helping you, who is non-judgmental about your situation, especially with anything you may have done, and focuses on the future (positive) and not the past.

Setting and maintaining boundaries with your ex partner to ensure you don’t undo or unravel any of your hard work, especially if the contact is mainly beneficial to them and not you.

Related Article: What is Breadcrumbing? What it Means and How to Respond

  • Setting and enforcing healthy boundaries can help protect you psychologically, and emotionally, by promoting self-respect and demonstrating to yourself that you have the ability to maintain and exercise control.
  • This can also involve setting healthy boundaries with “yourself” such as, looking at social media, going to places you shouldn’t because it’ll trigger negative emotions, and other such activities that you should control better.
Think about the things that you know you shouldn't do and try setting some personal “internal” boundaries.

Try journaling to better understand the emotions and thoughts you’re feeling.

  • This is also a very, very helpful action, especially when you have good prompts, questions, and exercises that support. With the right prompts, techniques, and being open to opening up and being truthful with yourself, you can take control of your thoughts and create your own source of support specifically just for you.
  • It can provide useful reflection on your past relationship and guidance on forward movement and future opportunities.
  • Some journals and resources can help you with self-worth and behavioral techniques that modify the way you think about, view, and act on feelings and thoughts. 

Check out:

Prioritize your self-care habits, such as getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet

While some recommendations, like exercise and eating right also fall under physical self-care, it’s important to understand these habits and activities help on more than one level!

Prioritizing yourself is a conscious decision that improves your self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth. These are all important to your mental health. The great news, this could even be an opportunity to treat yourself and finally do some of those things that you always wanted to do!

  • Consider changing your space a bit. For sleeping, maybe this means some new comfortable sheets, pillows, and comforter! Sleep may be tough to come by early on, and there may even be some memories attached to the old stuff, so treat yourself and get a fresh start in the bedroom.
  • Make your living space more of a sanctuary where you can enjoy peace and relaxation.
  • When it comes to self-care habits - try to do things that become a routine, this helps with eating up time
  • Make these self care routines impactful, like improving skin or appearance overall. This helps boost self confidence, which is actually even more attractive than the skin brightening or wrinkle reducing benefits you’re achieving from your skin care routine.
  • And when you put together confidence and a fresh look,  all the better! These things build off each other and people - your ex, other people that are not your ex, and most importantly YOU - can see and FEEL.
Action is key, and some of these self-care actions don’t just involve taking a bath and writing down your feelings. Some of these, though possibly difficult in the moment, are simple demonstrations of control and discipline on your part. 

CHALLENGE: Try removing personal items from your past relationship, deleting pictures, deleting phone numbers, and unfriending or hiding social media posts from people that would trigger negative feelings or sadness. 

Remember this: Deleting, packing, or removing things from the past, doesn't change what’s happening in the present one bit. This action has no impact on whether your relationship gets a second chance or not.

Know this: What removing painful or triggering reminders does have an impact on is your self-respect, self-confidence, and  self-worth. Prove your conviction to put your mental and physical health above the feelings of the person that left you feeling this way.

Here’s a possible scenario:

You pack up all your ex's stuff in a box and store it over at a friend or family member's place. It’s not gone, so you can stop worrying about any lost memories.
You can’t be unintentionally reminded or tempted to go through or look at things, which is a good thing. You get the mental benefit of accomplishing something difficult and taking control in a very tangible way.
You’ll remember this feeling you got when you demonstrated your strength and took steps that put you and YOUR feelings first. If your ex comes back to you and you guys reconcile, great, you still have everything and that’s that.
If there’s no reconciliation, then you’re not continually taking steps backwards looking at reminders of a past that you can’t change. You can’t force, guilt, or even worse, beg people to do something they don’t want to do - like take you back and give you another chance.
This would be the opposite of self-respect, self-worth, and self-esteem. The way to look at it is, your ex had the OPPORTUNITY to be with a person like you, and they didn’t see what they had.

Sure, sometimes it’s not all their fault and people break up for a number of different reasons, but never forget that a relationship needs to be mutually beneficial, and they shouldn’t be the one to make that decision for you.

We can discuss a situation involving something specifically related to breaking trust in a relationship, which is a bit of a different story. But, we’ll save that scenario for another article. 

What is Self-Worth?

Self-worth refers to an individual's sense of value, significance, and belief in their own inherent worth as a person. 

It involves feeling confident in one's abilities, feeling deserving of love and respect, and having a positive self-image. Self-worth is not dependent on external factors such as achievements or validation from others, but rather is an internal sense of value that comes from within.

A healthy sense of self-worth is important for one's overall well-being and can influence how one interacts with the world and others. It can impact one's ability to set boundaries, make decisions, and take risks. Low self-worth, on the other hand, can lead to negative self-talk, self-doubt, and a lack of confidence.”

2. Emotional Self Care

Emotional self-care and psychological self-care are often used interchangeably, but they have some subtle differences. They’re both essential components of maintaining your overall mental health and well-being. 

While psychological self-care focuses on your overall mental health, cognitive functioning, and thought processes, emotional self-care focuses on recognizing, understanding, and managing your emotions.

It does this by using practices that help you become more aware of your emotional state, express your feelings, and cope with emotional stressors in a healthy way. Emotional self care after a breakup can include:

Practicing self-compassion and forgiving yourself for mistakes or negative experiences.

  • It's important to understand that as much as you'd like to be rational and "do the right thing" after a breakup, you are likely to do things that you may regret later.
  • During these times is when you need to forgive yourself and remember that you're going through a lot, but you'll be ok with time.
  • Remember that it's ok to cry and feel sad. Letting this pain flow out is part of the process, and it's ok.
What is Self-Compassion?

Self-compassion is the practice of treating oneself with kindness, care, and understanding, particularly in the face of difficult emotions or challenging circumstances. It involves extending the same level of kindness and empathy towards oneself that one would extend towards a close friend or loved one.

Self-Compassion Exercise #1

Try some role-playing: You play the part of a very close friend that's going through a really rough breakup. You know all the in's and out's of the situation because (s)he has opened up to you about everything.
What advice would you give this friend in their moment of sadness? What do you think they should do? We're typically able to give better advice that is based more on facts and reason, when we are able to detach from emotion which may cause us to not see things as clearly and make poorer decisions based on emotion.

Self-Compassion Exercise #2

Exercise: Try talking to yourself with kindness, care, and understanding. You can use some of the following phases or come up with something that's specific to you:

  1. "It's okay to feel sad about things ending with..."
  2. "I'm not alone, there's others just like me out there. Many people go through breakups and it's a normal part of the human experience."
  3. "I'm worthy of love and respect, even if this relationship didn't work out there's something better waiting for me."
  4. "I'm allowed to take the time I need to heal and will enjoy focusing on myself for now."
  5. "It's not my fault that the relationship ended. We both played a part, and I am not to blame."
  6. "I always tried my best, so it's ok forgive myself for any mistakes I may have made."
  7. "I am proud of myself for taking these steps towards healing and showing myself how strong I really am."

Engaging in activities that bring you happiness and fulfillment, such as hobbies or creative pursuits.

Just like in psychological self-care, it's important to engage in activities. Previously though, the focus was on activities that were quick, easy, and all about helping you focus your thoughts. Here we are looking at your more long term growth and development!

  • When you improve yourself and achieve goals, you will feel pride in accomplishment, increased self-confidence, and an overall sense of well-being. Did we also mention that many people find these qualities all very attractive!
  • If you've thought about making a career change, checking off your bucket list, or whatever life goal makes you feel excited and energized about the prospect of making it a reality, this could be your moment.
  • Start a blog, try out that side hustle, start planning that trip... Possibilities feel amazing, so start thinking about yours.

Practicing positive self-talk and focusing on one's strengths and accomplishments.

  • Telling yourself you can do something is a way of preparing your mind for success. This is the much better than talking yourself out of something!
  • Instead of coming up with a reason why you can't, be very deliberate about coming up with all of the reasons why you can! Remember, goals, confidence, attractiveness...? There are so many good reasons to tell yourself "I can do this".
  • Remember, goal setting and planning for future success is the easiest way to get started, and getting started - think ACTION - is the way these dreams become reality.

Seeking support from a therapist, counselor, or other mental health professional to process and manage emotions.

  • This one is always valuable so we kept it in this section too. One reason is that not everything is a critical mental health need. Sometimes we just need a little help getting on track or a motivational nudge.
  • Life, business, and relationship coaches are sometimes just what we need for our specific goal.
  • Always remember to consider speaking with a professional is you're really struggling with your thoughts and emotions.
  • Apps like Headspace and Calm offer guided meditations specifically designed for dealing with breakups and emotional healing.

Taking breaks from stressful or emotionally taxing situations and activities. Create your relaxing sanctuary or routine. 

  • Whenever those memories hit, or you're just having a rough day and you feel things welling up, have a routine that you can turn to.
  • Maybe it's lighting a certain scented candle and meditating or doing your yoga routine, whatever it is, be sure to give yourself a little feel good therapy.
“I used to enjoy taking a shower when all the feelings and memories hit. It became a sort of 'circuit breaker' that I could trip in order to move past things quickly and reset.
This was an action I could control, but that I also had to think about to complete. The distraction always helped. Then there was the relaxing part of the water pressure and the warmth, that helped me focus on my self soothing thoughts, which helped boost my feelings of self-worth, and refocused me on the many positive possibilities and opportunities in my future.
I would think about being in a much better relationship with someone else that I had yet to meet. Someone who is much more compatible with me. Someone who loves me equally as much as I love them. No more struggling to make it work.
Picturing this future opportunity and my own personal growth gave me the help I needed.”

3. Physical Self Care

This one seems pretty self-explanatory, so we'll try not to be too redundant and maybe just offer a few suggestions to help.

Physical self-care focuses on your body and what's needed to offset the effects of stress, wear, and tear.

The most talked about types of physical self-care are exercise, healthy diet, and sleep. We can throw in relaxation for good measure as it can also help your physical body to recuperate.

Examples of physical self care in a relationship include:

Eating a healthy and balanced diet that provides the necessary nutrients for optimal physical health.

  • Avoid fast food and skipping meals. If you need quick and easy options, consider some kind of meal prep service, plan, or healthy delivery.
  • Places like Marley Spoon or Green Chef make healthy eating more convenient during this time. These services deliver pre-portioned ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes to your doorstep, helping you maintain a nutritious diet and potentially learn new cooking skills.
  • Think about nutritional supplements and meal supplements to round out your efforts and help make sure your body is getting everything it needs.

Getting enough sleep and establishing a consistent sleep schedule to improve energy levels and reduce stress.

  • Now that you have your comfy new pillows and sheets, you're almost all set.
  • If you don't already use sleep sounds, consider some white, pink, or brown noise to help with sleep.
  • There's also some great meditation tracks available, such as Sleep Sounds which can be streamed from the new Echo Dot.

Incorporating physical exercise and relaxation techniques, such as yoga or meditation, into your daily routine to reduce stress and improve physical health.

  • Not everyone wants to go to the gym, but whether you stay home or head out, the goal is to try and stay consistent. Even 10 minutes a day is a win and will help you feel better.
  • Places like Orange Theory, Pure Barre, and CrossFit take the stress out of creating a routine, while also helping you meet new people.
  • If you'd rather stay in - you can go simple like using some stretching and yoga videos to cool home gyms and fancy equipment. Rowing machines, cycles like Peloton, and Exercise systems like Tonal or Mirror help keep you engaged.
“If you don’t typically work out or already have a routine, or even if you’re not feeling motivated to do your normal routine, pick something very easy and quick to complete from start to finish.
Try and set some regular times for these activities so you can plan around them and look forward to it. At the beginning of a breakup, one of the big struggles is having so much time with just yourself, especially when you’re not used to it. This augments the feeling of loneliness, which can trigger thoughts of your ex and more feelings of loss.
Staying busy and filling up your day with positive actions is an important aspect of self-care after a breakup.
Also, be kind and flexible with yourself, if you miss or cancel the time you told yourself you'd exercise or complete a task, it’s ok!
Swap it out with something easier, or just make it up when you can. Even just having it on your mind is a step towards completing it, and when you complete your self-care actions - think YOU are important and deserve it! - you'll feel mentally and physically better for it.”

Obstacles to Practicing Effective Self Care

Practicing self care can be difficult when going through a sad period or a breakup. Some of the most common  reasons, and things you should prepare for, are:

Lack of motivation

  • When you're feeling sad or going through a breakup, it can be difficult to muster the energy or motivation to engage in self care activities.
  • Try setting small, easy to attain goals to being with, and reward yourself for your successes. Then keep building from there!

Emotional Overwhelm

  • Sadness and heartbreak can be overwhelming and all-consuming, making it difficult to focus on self care. Reach out to friends or family for help getting started.

Feelings Of Guilt

  • It's common to experience feelings of guilt or regret after a breakup, particularly if one feels responsible for the end of the relationship.

Anxiety and Uncertainty

  • Breakups can create uncertainty and anxiety about the future, particularly if the relationship was a significant part of your life.

Negative Self-Talk

What is Negative Self-Talk?

Negative self-talk refers to the critical and negative thoughts and statements that an individual has about themselves. It involves repeating negative phrases or beliefs in one's mind, such as, "I'm not good enough," "I'm a failure," or "I can never do anything right."

This type of internal dialogue can have a significant impact on one's self-esteem, mood, and overall well-being.

Negative self-talk can contribute to feelings of anxiety, depression, and low self-worth, and can make it more difficult to engage in helpful self-care activities or to see one's own strengths and abilities.

It's important to recognize and challenge negative self-talk and replace it with more positive and self-compassionate thoughts and beliefs.

  • It's common to engage in negative self-talk during a breakup, which can make it difficult to focus on self care activities or view them as worthwhile.
  • You can achieve this transition from negative self-talk to more positive self care thoughts by being aware of your negative thoughts and patterns of thinking. Pay attention to your internal dialogue and write down your negative thoughts as they arise.
  • Once you’re aware of the negative self-talk, the next step is to challenge and reframe those thoughts. This can be done by questioning the evidence for the negative thought and look for any evidence that supports a more positive and balanced perspective.

What this means is… Turn that frown upside down. Remember our self-compassion exercise? Flip negative to positive!

  • Now, replace any identified negative self-talk with more positive and self-compassionate thoughts, such as "I am doing my best," "I am worthy and deserving of care," or "I am capable of learning and growing."

Remember that changing negative self-talk patterns takes time and practice, it also may be useful to seek some guided direction or support either from a professional or book resources, but with persistence and self-compassion, it is possible to cultivate more positive and self-care focused thoughts.

Difficulty Letting Go

  • Holding onto the relationship or the pain of a breakup can make it difficult to move forward and prioritize self care.
  • It can be helpful to understand the psychology of why it’s tough to let go, or to consider a future without your ex partner. This can be the case even if the relationship wasn’t really that good or healthy.


  • During a breakup, you may find yourself withdrawing from friends and family and feel isolated, making it difficult to seek the social support aspect of your self care needs. This can be such a big deal, even the Surgeon General has made combating isolation a priority.
  • There is a significant amount of value in these personal connections. They can sometimes help temporarily replace or fill the void you may feel from what you’re missing, and over time, new positive reinforcement pathways, think joy and happiness, can be created.
  • It can’t completely fill this void though. There is an opportunity to also include some inner self soothing, where you stop viewing isolation as a negative thing, but rather an opportunity to connect with yourself. There should be a balance between the need for physical time with others and alone time.

Low Self-Esteem

  • It's common to question one's self-worth and feel less confident after a breakup.
  • All this ties into a theme of breakups and confidence, and how the end of a relationship - specifically someone choosing to leave you - can take a toll. It’s easy to internalize and blame yourself for “not being good enough to keep someone” when the reality is that sometimes people just grow apart or were really never a good fit in the first place.
  • It's helpful to understand “how” two people that are not a good fit, for the longer term, could work out or even feel “right” in the short term.
  • This can sometimes be do to different attachment styles.

Changes In Routine

  • Breakups can disrupt your daily routine and leave you with a sense of uncertainty and disorientation. It can be very helpful to quickly establish a new routines for yourself. Make an effort to start being deliberate with your time and plan what you need to do whether alone and with others!

Breakup Resources and Education

Get a little deeper into the “Why” of your feelings, emotions, and other breakup related topics.

Here are some helpful resources that you can use to get a better understanding of what’s going on and suggestions about what to do:

Books and Journals

There are many books available on the topic of breakups, ranging from self-help guides to memoirs.

  • "The Breakup Bible: The Smart Woman's Guide to Healing from a Breakup or Divorce" by Rachel Sussman
  • "How to Fix a Broken Heart" by Guy Winch
  • "Getting Past Your Breakup: How to Turn a Devastating Loss into the Best Thing That Ever Happened to You" by Susan J. Elliott

Online Resources

  • FabFitFun: FabFitFun offers a quarterly subscription box filled with full-size premium beauty, wellness, and lifestyle products.
  • BetterHelp: BetterHelp provides online counseling and therapy services to individuals seeking support for their mental health.
  • Headspace: Headspace offers guided meditation and mindfulness exercises to help individuals manage stress and improve their mental well-being.


Listening to podcasts can provide valuable insights and advice on dealing with the emotional challenges of a breakup.

  • "Breakup Recovery Podcast" with Laura Yates
  • "Let's Talk Heartbreak" with Elle Huerta
  • "Where Should We Begin?" with Esther Perel (this podcast features real couples going through a variety of relationship challenges, including breakups)

Support Groups

Joining a support group, either online or in person, can offer a safe and supportive space to connect with others who are going through similar experiences.

Therapist or counselor

Seeking the support of a therapist or counselor can provide valuable insight and guidance on how to cope with the emotional challenges of a breakup. 

It's important to approach these resources with an open mind and be willing to try out different strategies to see what works best for you. Remember that healing after a breakup is a process, and it's okay to take the time and space needed to work through your emotions and find healing.


Taking care of your mind and body after a breakup is crucial for your overall well-being. Implementing self-care ideas and activities into your daily routine can help you navigate this difficult time, heal your broken heart, and ultimately feel better. 

Remember that you are not alone, and there are resources and support systems available to help you along the way. 

By focusing on your mental health, physical health, and building a strong support system, you can do better than get back to your former self, you can be the best YOU yet! 

Disclosure: This article was not written by a medical professional, unless specifically stated otherwise. Advice or support content is not intended to be either professional medical or mental health advice or recommendations. All support and advice is from direct and/or anecdotal contributor/author experiences and topic research. If you are experiencing a physical or mental health emergency or mental or physical abuse, please seek professional support. Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to us, at no cost to you when you decide to purchase a reviewed product.


Get Our Monthly Newsletter, Directly Into Your Inbox!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form
California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) Opt-Out IconYour Privacy Choices Notice at Collection