Blind-Sided by a Break-up? Seven Ways to Take Charge of Your Life

When one partner suddenly calls it quits, the realization that your relationship is over can be traumatic. At times it may feel like you’ll never be happy again, or at least for a very long time. While there’s no magic cure for a broken heart, taking action can empower you, boost your self-esteem, and promote physical health as well. Here are seven healthy actions to help you on your way to healing:

1. Commit to be Fit: Renew your commitment to your own well-being with a consistent exercise routine. Walking, running, strength training, yoga, Zumba, etc. expend calories and release feel-good endorphins that regulate your mood, relieve stress, and help you sleep more soundly. Accountability is key, so consider joining a fitness club to get professional guidance and oversight. You may also find a community of like-minded people who are working toward the same fitness goals.

2. Mind What You Eat: It’s easy to binge on snacks when you’re suddenly single. Make a point of shopping for healthy options and filling your pantry and refrigerator with ingredients to make yummy, easy to prepare meals. Instead of going through the drive-thru and super-sizing your order, peruse Whole Foods or Trader Joes and treat yourself to grass-fed beef or locally-sourced, fresh organic produce.

3. Guard Your Sleep: When you’re waking up at 2 a.m. with thoughts racing about your uncertain future you’re less likely to be productive throughout the day —and more likely to become depressed. Talk to you doctor about whether a prescription or over-the-counter sleep aid could help you reclaim those Z’s.

4. Face Your Finances: Money is the cause of anxiety for many people. Overcome your fears by hiring professional help. Ask friends or family members for their recommendations, and don’t be afraid to “interview” advisors until you find one who fits your needs.

If you have a financial advisor, apprise him or her of your split and create a post-divorce strategy to keep your financial goals on track. There may be adjustments to your lifestyle post-divorce. You may be faced with choices (such as selling your marital home or liquidating your 401K) that require the opinion of a professional.

5. Schedule Wellness Check-ups. During this stressful time, it’s more important than ever to do everything you can to take care of your physical health. Set and keep those annual exams! Many preventive exams and diagnostics are covered at no cost by most insurance providers. Be sure and tell your doc about the changes in your life and talk to her about any physical or emotional concerns. (See #2.)

6. Talk About It —Appropriately: Talking about your pain and loss with a licensed professional counselor is a great way to work through the stages of grief. If you don’t have a therapist, many employers have Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), which provide free counseling sessions to employees and their family members. EAP even provides a list of approved therapists near you to choose from. Check with your human resources department or benefits handbook for details.

7. Expand Your World: When you’re feeling low, it’s easy to isolate. (Which may make you feel lower!) Seek out community and plan positive activities. Reconnect with friends you may have neglected while you were married. Join a book club or other group that focuses on an activity you love. Find a church or spiritual organization that’s a good fit for you. Now is the time to do what makes you feel happy.

These positive actions can make a big difference to your mental and physical well-being right away. Feel less than motivated? Remember, going through the phases of grief is normal and expected when a relationship ends. Give yourself time to cycle through all the emotions. But you don’t have to wait to begin taking steps to build your new life. They say “time heals all wounds,” but approaching your life with intention may just hasten the process.