Both men and women experience heartbreak after a split, but men can experience it differently. Depression in men can show up as physical symptoms such as headaches, sleep problems, fatigue, digestive disorders, and emotional symptoms such as irritability or anger and a loss of interest in work, relationships or hobbies. While the dark and often stormy weather of the Pacific North West won’t help, these tips might help you deal with the emotional fallout of a breakup.
1. Acknowledge Your Feelings and Act on Them
Men who are feeling down after a breakup often don’t talk about it.
There’s a prevailing idea in our culture that men shouldn’t talk about their feelings or express them. Regardless of how “strong” someone is, a breakup is going to evoke some emotional response. Men tend to overlook the symptoms and “power through” or, worse, develop unhealthy habits such as excessive smoking, drinking, gambling, or risky behaviors such as speeding and picking fights. To avoid this, first recognize that you’re feeling down or even depressed, then act on it in a healthy way. And, if appropriate, seek professional help.
2. Appreciate What You Have
Take A Few Moments and Remember All the Great Aspects of your Life
Instead of thinking about what you’re missing and what you can’t do, focus on what you do have and what you can do. Take a few moments to legitimately appreciate what is good in your life. Maybe you have some great friends or a job you love. Even if you think of something small, like a happy memory or the taste of a good cup of coffee, it helps your mood to remember the great parts of life. It’s going to be hard to get out of your unhappy mindset if you are always focusing on what you don’t have.
3. Choose the Right Company
Spend time with people who really matter to you.
Skip the large parties filled with small talk, and make plans with a few people that are close to you. And even if it’s less time than you’d want, make the most of it! For example, gather a few friends and play some ping-pong, shoot hoops, watch a game on TV, or even host a game night. You’ll feel less drained if you spend time with people who make you happy.
4. Do Fun Activities with Your Kids
Check the events calendars in your area and plan some activities.
Make a plan to attend a sports event or concert with your kids. Go see one of the many family-friendly community theater plays or head to the movies. You can also take a drive to nearby mountains and build a snowman in the winter, or head to the ocean during the summer. Washington has plenty of awesome activities for kids and adults alike!
5. Get Moving!
Go to the gym, go running or swimming, or consider trying yoga.
Choose an activity you enjoy doing and make an effort to go even when you least feel like it. Have you ever noticed that after a workout you’re in a great mood? That’s because exercise releases Endorphins which increase your overall mood. If exercising feels overwhelming, compromise to a shorter routine or gentler workout (less time, fewer laps, less challenging poses, etc), or plan to go with a friend to help hold you to it. Even doing a little bit of exercise can go a long way. Physical activity is a great way to work off negative energy from a breakup and increase the body’s production of feel-good hormones.
6. Indulge A Little!
Treat Yourself to A Special Outing!
You didn’t breakup with yourself. Consider getting a massage, a straight-razor shave, or a new haircut. Style yourself up: try smart new outfits, maybe buy a couple of new items or a new pair of shoes to refresh your look. Even a new pair of socks can make you feel like you are walking on clouds.
7. Go Exploring
Consider traveling to a new place or trying a new hobby.
Brave the weather, get out of the house and try something new: go on a hike or try a new nature trail or go skiing or snowshoeing. If you’d rather stay close to home, go to an art exhibit, or take lessons in something you’ve always had interest in.
8. Get Off Social Media
Spend less time online!
Social Media can sometimes make us feel bad (especially if we’re using it to check up on an ex after a breakup). Seeing status updates from couples having a fun while you’re sitting at home moping can give you a serious case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). To cure your FOMO, stop checking every comment on Facebook and every post on Instagram. You won’t be missing out! Use the extra time you’ll have to detox from social media and be social in person. Call a friend you haven’t heard from in a while (just not your ex). Or better still, get together in person. And when you’re with them, give them your full attention and put your phone away!
9. Give Back To Your Community
Choose one or more ways to help others.
Consider doing a different random act of kindness every day: hold the door for someone, let a car out in or through traffic, let another shopper get ahead of you in the check-out line, give up your seat on public transit, etc. Doing nice deeds for others can be an instant mood booster for both you and the person you helped!
Meditation is no longer just for hippies and Buddhists
It’s actually a common practice that has numerous health benefits such as lowered blood pressure, increased mood and improved concentration. If you want to try meditation, find a quiet, comforting place. Get comfortable and take some time to decompress and let go of what’s no longer serving you. Breathe and just be. Perhaps you could do this in a place of worship: the one in your neighborhood, or the one you pass every day on your way to the store. Or, you can just find a quiet place in your home. There are also meditation classes and plenty of phone apps to assist you in learning to effectively meditate. Consider joining a local meditation group or downloading a meditation app on your phone.
If you struggle with serious and continuous symptoms of depression, reach out to your healthcare provider.
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