A No Bullshit Guide To Self-Care After A Breakup - Max Jancar
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A No Bullshit Guide To Self-Care After A Breakup

By Max Jancar | Published: September 7, 2023 | 10 Minute Read | Recovery

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Proper self-care boils down to investing in five key life areas. These are sleep, diet, exercise, hygiene, and well-being. Take care of them, and you’ll feel much better about yourself and your current situation.

Let me unpack each area and give some practical tips on how you can rebuild or improve it.

1. Getting Your Sleep In Order

A couple of tips:

1. Get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. If you’re not hitting those numbers, you’re opening yourself up to a diminished ability to think, make decisions, and problem-solve. Not to mention memory problems, mood swings and temper tantrums, impaired physical performance, a shit ton of health issues, and, of course, a stymied sex drive.

2. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This helps regulate your body’s internal clock and establish a consistent sleep-wake cycle, which is overall a great benefit for your health.

3. Sleep in a pitch-black room. Invest in black-out curtains or a sleep mask, remove any device chargers that emit an LED light, flip your phone on its face, and cover any indicator lights on your other gadgets with tape or something. Kill the lights and deepen the darkness. Your eyes, even through closed eyelids, sense any light spilling into your room, which disrupts the release of melatonin from your pineal gland, and as a result, fucks up your sleep.

4. Sleep at the right ambient room temperature. The sweet spot is usually around a cool 65–70 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s about 18-21 degrees Celsius).

5. Avoid screens at least 1 to 2 hours before bedtime. Screens like those on phones, tablets, computer monitors, and TVs all produce a blue light that disrupts melatonin production much like high-intensity daylight does, making it harder to fall asleep and get quality sleep.

6. Use natural sleep aids. Melatonin pills, magnesium tablets, and chamomile tea are all effective and safe. As for nonedibles, try a white noise machine. It’s essentially a glorified speaker that outputs, as the name implies, white noise, which is proven to aid sleep.

7. Limit napping, especially in the late afternoon or evening. And if you’re for some reason so exhausted that you can’t help but nap, keep it short (around 20-30 minutes only) and avoid doing it too close to bedtime.

8. Manage Stress. This is a hard one to follow. Because, if you’re like most people, you’re probably stressing the fuck out right now. I get it. Breakups suck, there’s no doubt about it. But it’s your responsibility to reel in some of that stress in and deflate it. Thankfully there are a myriad of ways you can do this: meditation, journaling, gratitude practices, breathing techniques, and therapy, among many others.

9. Consume responsibly, especially 3-4 hours before bedtime. Meaning, avoid stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin, as well as anything with caffeine in it like coffee, tea, chocolate, or energy drinks. Also, cut back on stodgy foods like pasta, burgers, and steaks. And limit alcohol intake — better yet, quit altogether. All of these things interfere with your ability to fall asleep and cause nothing but discomfort during the night.

2. Taking Care Of Your Diet

In a nutshell, have a healthy one. This boils down to eating mostly unprocessed, natural, fresh foods that humans are biologically designed to eat. Foods like meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and fats. Avoid everything else — or at least limit it.

To be more specific, avoid or limit the following:

On the flip side, eat more of the following:

Note that the above are only guidelines, not unwavering rules you must follow. Take them seriously, but not too seriously. For the record, even I only follow these guidelines about 70-80% of the time — and I came up with them!

Why? Mainly because I give myself one cheat day per week where I can eat anything. You should probably do the same. I found it keeps the cravings at bay and your sanity in check. Think of it this way: every exercise plan has a built-in rest period. Thus, every diet, and, by extension, a healthy eating lifestyle, should have cheat periods built-in, too.

A Cheat Sheet For Putting That Bitchin' Broken Heart Back Together

This free cheat sheet will help you stop obsessing over your ex and provide over 40 therapy-approved tips to get you feeling like yourself again.

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3. Getting Serious About Exercise

This is the closest thing to a magic pill for health that I have found. It eases anxiety and depression, improves focus and mood, helps you sleep, causes you to lose weight, guarantees you live longer, and makes you more attractive. Oh, and it’s free and has no known side effects.

So I suggest you leverage this magic pill and make it a permanent habit of your day-to-day. Whether your goal is to lose weight, get in shape, or simply reap the various health benefits of exercise, here are some pointers if you have no idea where to start.

4. Straightening Out Your Hygiene

I won’t dwell on this topic for long because you’ve probably got it somewhat handled. But for those who don’t, here are some rapid-fire tips.

In short, be clean and presentable. A breakup is no excuse for being a slob. Remember: conspicuous precision in hygiene is a key signal of conscientiousness, which is sexy as hell.

5. Bettering Your Well-Being

Some tips for making a meaningful update:

1. Consider living on your own. If you still live with your parents but are of ripe age and have the means for it, get your own place. You’ll feel much more confident because of it. That, and your ex (or just about anyone) will take you more seriously for it.

2. Gather up some meaningful responsibilities. These can be getting a job, working on a business, child-rearing, studying, taking care of the environment, or contributing to the betterment of your community through volunteering, donations, or other forms of service.

3. Get your financial life in order. Earn enough money to live comfortably and manage personal finances responsibly, including budgeting, saving, paying bills on time, and avoiding excessive debt.

4. Take your work or education commitments seriously. Be diligent, punctual, and hard-working. Perform to the best of your ability and meet deadlines. Continuously develop skills and knowledge to improve your professional or educational growth. In other words, do something productive and meaningful with your life, something you can excel at eventually and that enriches you and others around you.

5. Recognize the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Prioritize your physical and mental well-being and create time for relaxation, hobbies, and meaningful connections. In other words, don’t be a damn workaholic. Diversify your identity instead. Care about a variety of things unrelated to work. So that if work ever fails you — you lose your job or your company goes bankrupt — you still have things in your life that you care about, sources of meaning that keep nihilism and with it, hopelessness, misery, and depression at bay.

Some Closing Thoughts

The last thing I’ll say about engaging in self-care post-breakup is that — contrary to popular opinion — it’s not selfish. It also doesn’t make you a narcissist, or a bad person. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

Self-care is, in fact, a necessity — a requirement. You must take care of yourself, all while taking less care of others. Sometimes dramatically less. Sometimes it even means cutting certain people out of your life. It’s either that, or letting the breakup eat you alive. And you don’t want to be eaten alive, do you?

Exactly.

So drown out the hate and self-doubt, and go apply what you’ve learned so far. Good luck.

A Cheat Sheet For Putting That Bitchin' Broken Heart Back Together

This free cheat sheet will help you stop obsessing over your ex and provide over 40 therapy-approved tips to get you feeling like yourself again.

Get The Free Cheat Sheet

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