A breakup can be painful because it’s not just the loss of the other person in your life. It’s a loss for you – for what you wanted from the relationship and what you’d hoped the future would hold.

The relationship represented your belief that the other person was right for you. A breakup signifies the crash and burn of something that was once good. As a result, you can go through feelings of grief, anxiety and more.

You’re suddenly thrown into a different way of life. What you do from the moment of the breakup on is different. You won’t be doing the same things you once did. Shifts are happening everywhere – from where you live if you shared a place – to who you hang out with if you shared a circle of friends with your ex.

What was once a given for you has now become a question mark. You may wonder where you go now, what you’ll do, who’ll you’ll love and who’ll love you in return. Even if the breakup was something that was initiated by you, that doesn’t mean that it was easy for you.

Regardless of whether the ex is someone who’s been in your life for many years or someone new, going through a breakup can affect you in a myriad of ways. You might feel physically sick.

You might experience crying jags, depression, numbness and more. There is no way to determine how you’ll be affected by a breakup or how long it’ll last. But there is a way you can cope with a breakup.

You can use self care strategies, which are ways to deal with what happened to you in a positive, healing manner. Recognize that you’re going to experience different emotions and that they can hit at any time.

Understand that they may ebb and flow depending on the day and sometimes the hour. This is a stripping away of what was once your life. You might feel the stages of grief – most people do.

You may also wonder about where you go from here and how you’ll find your way back to yourself. All of this is a natural part of the process. Coping with a breakup means you need to look out for yourself.

Self care is especially important during emotional upheaval because your emotions affect you physically. There are numerous ways you can practice self care during this time.

Get your emotions out so that you can deal with them. You can do this by talking to a friend, a counselor or through journaling. Don’t try to stuff your emotions down. This only delays the inevitable.

Stick to your health care routine. Make sure that you eat right and exercise. Don’t eat (or not eat) your emotions. Some people binge eat after a breakup and some people skip eating altogether. Both are unhealthy ways to deal with the emotions.

Focus your attention on everything that’s positive about you. Build yourself up mentally. Use affirmations. Be kind to yourself. Dwell on the good in your life – not what’s upsetting or negative. Get involved in something that makes you feel happy – even if it’s something as simple as going for a walk with your pet.