How long should it take to get over a breakup?
Going through a breakup can cause a wide range of emotions, including sadness and feelings of loss. But how long should the healing take?
First, “recognize that you are experiencing a loss and that grieving is normal,” says Vanessa Minor, licensed professional counselor and behavioral health professional development generalist at Aurora Psychiatric Hospital in Wauwatosa, Wis. “Just like any other loss, there is no specific time frame for getting over a breakup and varies from person to person. Hopefully, as time goes on, the pain will have a less significant impact as it may have in the early days, weeks and even months,” Minor says.
She recommends allowing time and space for healing, like how you would handle a physical injury. Take “self-care breaks” throughout your day if needed, being gentle with yourself. Get at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night, maintain a balanced diet and get in some physical movement.
Other ways to cope include connecting with your support network, such as loved ones or a therapist, sticking to a routine but also granting yourself permission to rest, and using humor to take your mind off of the breakup, Minor says.
And meanwhile, don’t isolate from loved ones, make impulsive choices or major life decisions.
Minor also says that if a person is experiencing a breakup and finds themselves still struggling and experiencing significant disruption in their lives beyond 3-6 months, it may be time to seek professional support.
If you or someone you care about are navigating this, changes to look out for in mood and behavior include:
- Normal functioning is significantly impaired. For example, missing important obligations.
- Thoughts of hurting themselves or others.
- Lack of interest in usual activities.
“You don’t have to wait until things gets bad before reaching out for professional support,” Minor says.
About the Author
Anna Schapiro is a public affairs coordinator at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She has a background in public relations and communications and studied journalism at Northwestern University. When she’s not working on internal communications for the organization, she enjoys cooking, reading and living in Chicago.