These coping strategies will help stop the downward spiral into sadness and depression that often happens when you feel broken hearted. I can almost guarantee you’ll notice an immediate lift in your mood and energy levels!
In How to Get Over a Broken Heart, I describe four “tasks of mourning.” It’s really important to work through those stages and process your grief, so you can heal and move forward in your life. Here are the most important coping strategies you can implement in your life after losing someone you love, plus examples from my own life.
What advice have you already received about the importance of adopting healthy ways to cope? Before you read my tips, take a moment to think about what you already know. Tell me – I welcome your big and little thoughts in the comments section below. The answers are in you; you just need to make time to hear the still small voice. These coping strategies are about taking that time and listening to your own wisdom and soul.
How to Cope When You Feel Broken Hearted
Briefly, my five coping strategies are:
- Morning Quiet Time
- Early bed time and quality sleep
- Yoga/Pilates one day, cardio the next
- Painting one day, playing my flute the next
- Paying attention to my triggers
Below, I explain how these coping strategies helped me cope everything from losing someone I love to surviving the death of a beloved dog.
1. Morning Quiet Time
I get up every morning at 4 am. No, I am not suggesting this is a coping strategy you need to adopt after losing someone you love! But, my Morning Quiet Time has been key to my emotional and spiritual growth. I’m happier, more peaceful, and filled with energy and passion. I need that time to reflect and recharge. For me, this means doing a devotion called Bible in One Year by Nicky Gumble.
How do you reflect and recharge? If you don’t know what fills your tank – or if you’ve been running on empty for days or even years – now is the time to adopt Morning Quiet Time as a coping strategy. It will help you cope with losing someone you love by giving you space and time to work through your grief.
2. Early bed time and quality sleep
If I’m in bed by 8 pm, I’m ecstatic! But usually it’s 9 pm by the time I actually hit the hay. Still this is early by most people’s standards. The earlier I go to bed, the happier I am in the morning.
The reason this is one of the most important coping strategies to adopt after losing someone you love is because sadness, depression, and despair is most likely to hit you at night. You may be fine all day…and then boom! Ten o’clock at night and you’re wracked with sorrow. You’re in a heap on the floor.
Get the right amount of sleep. For me, it’s seven hours (9 pm to 4 am), but I also have a 30 minute nap after lunch every day. Many people don’t have that luxury – I work from home as a full-time writer and blogger, so my schedule is fairly flexible – but most people have control over what time their head hits the pillow.
3. Yoga/Pilates one day, cardio the next
After I make a giant cup of coffee at 4 am and have my Morning Quiet Time, my husband gets up. It’s about 5:20 am, and we do a 15 minute session of yoga or Pilates. We have a large selection of DVDs, and we just cycle through them. This makes exercise acoping strategy that’s easy to do because we don’t have to leave the house! I listed my favorite ones in Best Yoga DVDs for Weight Loss, Stretching, and Energy.
I actually don’t alternate Yoga/Pilates with cardio, like I do with my flute and painting (see the next coping strategy). I do cardio – which for me is a 25 minute run up and down five major hills in my neighborhood – on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The other days are Pilates or Yoga, with a day off every week or so.
If you’re grieving or just plain blue after losing someone you love, don’t underestimate the importance of staying physically healthy! Those healthy endorphins from running, stretching, and taking care of your body will help you heal.
4. Painting one day, playing my flute the next
This is my newest and most favorite of all the coping strategies on this list. After my workout, I either paint or play my flute. I alternate days. I like painting better because I can feel the good energy and positive vibes flowing through my body. I literally feel snap crackle pop rushing through my veins! I play jazz or blues music – actually, right now it’s Classic Christmas songs from the RadioTunes channel – and paint for 45 minutes.
I taught myself to play the flute about three years ago, and am slowly improving my skills and technique. I haven’t taken any music lessons; I just buy Flute Practice books with accompanying DVDs. Soon, I’ll be volunteering at a residential care center for seniors and playing for them!
Finding the right creative outlets is a fun way to build coping strategies into your life. You can paint or play through your grief or disappointment. This will help you emotionally detach from someone you care about by allowing your subconscious mind – or your conscious thoughts – process the pain you feel.
5. Paying attention to my triggers
This is one of those “coping strategies” that you can’t really schedule into your day. Rather, it’s a skill that I learned when I was actively recovering from an eating disorder. By paying attention to what triggered or led me to binge eat, I learned what made me sad. It was always sadness that made me do unhealthy things to my body.
Knowing your triggers is an important coping strategy because I’ll help you build self-awareness and insight into your life. What situations or people cause you to melt in pain after losing someone you love? What drives you to drugs, food, shopping, or unhealthy risks? Pay attention to those triggers; learn how you feel when you take up the unhealthy habits that make you feel bad about yourself and your life.
If you’re having trouble dealing with the loss of a relationship, you may find What to Do After a Breakup helpful.
While I can’t offer advice, I do read every comment. Feel free to share your thoughts on these coping strategies for the broken hearted below. I encourage you to respond to other readers’ comments if you feel led, and to share your experience of coping strategies after losing someone you love. Writing often brings clarity and insight, and can help you process your feelings.
“The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind.” – Caroline Myss.
This article was originally called 5 Healthy Habits to Adopt After Losing Someone You Love.