Breakups are tough—but the following weeks, months, sometimes years, are even tougher. You’ve given a little bit of yourself to this person and this relationship, and then it’s all suddenly gone. And you’re left to either pick of the pieces or leave them scattered on the floor. Which do you choose? Choose to pick up the pieces and put yourself back together. You can move forward and thrive after a breakup—and we’re going to help you do it.

Look at the Bigger Picture

Clinical Psychologist Melanie English says post-breakup you depends on your ability to learn from the past, but most importantly to look forward to the future. “Surviving a breakup means being future-focused and a big part of this is how you see yourself. Are you a pessimist or optimist? Can you celebrate that relationship, but also let it go?” She goes on to say that you must look at the breakup as a minor hiccup in the grand scheme of life—something her father taught her as a young girl:

“According to him, each relationship you have is like running a race. You have to learn how to pace yourself and breathe, and you have to put in work. You may also fail, run out of steam, or finish behind where you thought you wanted to be. The important thing is that each race is training and you can’t easily skip from one training to the next. Each race or each relationship you have should help you become stronger, more adaptable, and more capable. Having so many races under your belt helps you run your marathon.”

Build Yourself Back Up: 4 Tips

The ground you’ve stood on for the duration of your relationship has erupted and left you shaking. Now you’re unsure of your foundation and need to build yourself back up—here are four helpful tips for doing so:

1) Allow yourself to grieve and close that chapter.

Heidi McBain, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, says, “it’s important that people spend time grieving the loss of the relationship, by reading about the subject, talking to a friend or therapist, and so on. It’s also important to figure out what happened with this relationship (your part) and what you’d like to do differently in future relationships. Looking more deeply in these areas can help you grow and mature as a person, so you don’t make the same mistakes/repeat the same negative patterns in the future with a new partner.”

2) Begin a journey of self-love.

It’s also incredibly important that you learn to lean on yourself during this difficult time. “Become your own best friend. Be kind, thoughtful, accepting, respectful, encouraging, patient with yourself,” says Stefan Deutsch, Therapist and Life and Executive Coach. “The reason a breakup is experienced very painfully is because the person is totally dependent on the other for love. Once you learn to love yourself, you can more easily accept that others are not perfect and may want out of a relationship. And don’t jump into the next relationship so quickly—get to know the person and make him or her a friend. That way you will find out a lot about who they are and whether or not you want to (or they want to) invest a lot more time.”

3) Track your progress moving forward by journaling.

You can also come to terms with your emotions by journaling. Additionally, doing so will help you track the progress you’re making along the way. “Journaling is one of the best ways for you to analyze your thoughts and emotions and come to terms with them in a positive way—rather than relying on a vice or emotional crutch (such as a rebound),” Caleb Backe, Health and Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics, explains. “A break-up journal can help you channel your anger, frustration, sadness, regrets, positive feelings, everything, into a written form which means you can track your progress post-breakup and come to terms with your feelings in a healthy manner. This can also prevent you from doing something you might regret later—like binge-drinking, doing drugs in excess, or sleeping with strangers to help boost your ego.”

4) Get to know yourself again.

And finally, you should take this opportunity to get to know yourself again, as explained by Erin Parisi, Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Addictions Professional: “We are all influenced to some degree by the person we’re into. We hear they like long hair, so we start growing it out, even if we prefer it shorter. Why not get a new haircut post-breakup? Or a new dye job? We start listening to their favorite music, checking out local places they like, watching their favorite spots. What about looking for things that you would be into, that maybe you hadn’t tried before? Bring a friend along. Try surfing or paddleboard lessons, take a day trip to see something obscure, get a new tattoo or piercing, submit an art piece to a local show or start volunteering for a worthy cause. Not only will these things help you grow, but they introduce you to new people, new parts of yourself, and take up some of the mental space that the old relationship did. When you’re adding new and exciting things to your life, it helps take the focus away from something that isn’t there anymore.”