Are You Struggling With Breakup Anxiety? Try These Helpful Coping Skills

By Sarah Fader |Updated August 16, 2022

Whether your relationship lasted two months or two years, the stress from its ending can be extremely tough and take a toll on your mental health. Navigating how to deal with the emotional turmoil can leave you feeling drained. Whether it is stress about the actual ending or over what comes next, this feeling is valid and you should take the time to process and heal it.

Going through a relationship ending and the associated post-breakup anxiety and distress that can accompany it is completely normal, and it’s important to be patient with yourself during the recovery process. You’re grieving someone who you loved, and loved you, so be gentle with yourself. The important thing to remember is that you’re going to be okay with time. The anxious feelings that surround the breakup will not last forever.

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The End Of A Relationship

When you’re trying to figure out how to deal with a breakup, you might find yourself asking some questions: “What if I feel like this forever?” or, “Should I get back with my ex?

These types of thoughts are perfectly natural. And although it’s also normal to seek immediate relief from distressing thoughts and feelings, this is a good time for introspection, self-reflection, and an opportunity to take good care of your mental health. The relationship ending leaves you with a new beginning, and although that might be anxiety-provoking the time following a breakup can be a place to reflect.

“What should I do after my breakup?”

Instead of immediately contacting your ex, take a step back and be real with yourself. Once you get beyond the feelings of rejection, you’ll remember that there’s a reason you broke up. Sure, there were things you liked about the relationship, but there’s a reason it ended.

And, it’s not a failure, it’s a breakup. People go through breakups all the time. Understandably, that does not mean it is easy, and you may be feeling anxious after a breakup, but this is normal, and you will find coping mechanisms to tackle the anxious thoughts and feelings. Breaking up with someone doesn’t mean that your mental health will never recover.

There was a reason this relationship did not work out, and you’ll learn from that experience. Maybe you don’t know what the reason is now, and that’s okay too. You don’t have to know, but you can start by accepting yourself. Whatever the thoughts are post-breakup, it is a time to remind yourself of who you are outside of a relationship.

You are now in the healing process and have the opportunity for immense personal growth, and that begins with introspection. When the “what if” fears start to grow, take a second to bring yourself back to the present moment and away from the thoughts of the breakup. Focus on today. What can you do today to help your well-being? Spending time practicing mindfulness can be really helpful with staying in the present and reducing stress.

People often ask questions like these about ending a relationship:

Is it normal to have anxiety after a breakup?

It is totally normal to experience anxiety after a breakup. If you are feeling anxious after ending a relationship, helpful tips include spending time alone to get back in touch with yourself and practicing mindfulness. If, however, you find it too difficult to manage your anxious thoughts, or if you are considering substance abuse, it may be time to look into therapy. A qualified mental health professional can help you securely process your anxiety in a safe environment.

How long does anxiety last after a breakup?

Can heartbreak give you anxiety?

Does breakup anxiety go away?

What are the 5 stages of a breakup?

Can a breakup cause PTSD?

How do you know if a guy is hurt after a breakup?

It’s normal to feel anxiety after a breakup. However, if the person you observe continues to feel anxious, experience social anxiety, or show low self-esteem for an extended period of time after the breakup, these may be concerning signs. Even worse, if you see this person engage in substance abuse, it’s time to intervene and get them in touch with mental health services. 

How do you get over an ex you still love?

Why is it taking me so long to get over my ex?

How do I calm my mind after a break up?

Time For Self-Reflection

Although it may be tempting, going straight back into the world of dating and relationships isn’t always the best idea. Right after a relationship, it is normal to be uneasy about being alone, especially if you were in a long-term relationship. That is where post-breakup anxiety stems from. 

However, take that time during the healing process to reconstruct yourself - that will help reduce stress.

Who are you outside of the relationship?

The saying, “hindsight is 20/20” is often true. Taking time to reflect on the relationship after it ends is a great way to learn more about yourself (and what will be important to you in future relationships). This is a crucial time to revisit the things you enjoyed before your relationship ended and take good care of your mental health.

You can go back to the gym to lower your stress levels or join support groups. You can spend time cultivating hobbies and being with close friends. This could be a time to start an educational course or class, write a book, or start a blog. Immersing yourself in something other than dwelling on your past relationship will help you see a future without your ex-partner’s involvement.

Finding Balance

A good friend may try to pressure you to go out and have fun and “forget” about your ex. Be careful with this.

It is fine to go out with your friends and have fun, but the anxiety after a breakup can leave you in a vulnerable state. You might make decisions that have lasting impacts on your mental health and well-being. Many people have made poor decisions post-breakup as a way to avoid their feelings or move on before they’re ready. 

Some of these decisions include rebounding or partaking in substance abuse. These decisions are not healing and do not fix the problem. In fact, they only make the emotional pain worse, since you’re avoiding it, and may even hurt your physical health as well.

Though you should take time to have fun and enjoy yourself, just be cautious with the activities you choose. And don’t forget to take some downtime to reflect and focus on self-improvement.

Truthful Thoughts To Leave Behind Heartbreak

Following a breakup, it can be comforting to entertain the idea of getting back together with your ex-partner. But, this is likely counterproductive to your efforts to move on.

  • Remember the red flags you missed that led you here.

It is difficult to move forward when you are clinging to the past. It’s important to keep in mind that the relationship ended for a reason, and going back is not likely to result in the happy ending you seek.

Clinging to the past and speculating about the future without acknowledging what is happening can be detrimental to your mental health.

If you experience chronic mental health issues such as anxiety disorders, the traumatic stress of a relationship ending may feel overwhelming or debilitating for you. The best thing to do at this time is to get professional support for dealing with your mental health concerns to prevent traumatic stress and an anxiety disorder from taking over.

It’s important to remember that even if you were not previously diagnosed with a chronic mental illness it is still possible and valid for you to feel uneasy post-breakup. The period post-breakup is unfamiliar to many people, making it a normal time to feel anxious. Reaching out for help from a therapist or counselor is a great way to find coping mechanisms to deal with the anxiety that comes with breakups.

“What if we get back together post-breakup?”

The important thing to note — is that you may be reunited with your ex-partner. But for this to be healthy, you both need time alone to digest and explore what went wrong and what you want to be different upon getting back together.

This is especially true if you or your partner is going through mental health issues like anxiety, or engaging in substance abuse.

“Are there solutions?”

There are various mental health services available for treating post-breakup distress or anxiety. This can include therapy as well as support groups. These groups will allow you to find people who may feel similar post-break-up anxiety or can relate to your story. 

You may also consider spending time alone. This may allow you to explore who you are outside of the relationship and find a way to move forward post-breakup. 

A therapist will also be able to work with you on focusing on yourself post-breakup to skill you with coping techniques for any anxiety that might come up.

Realize What You Already Have

At the beginning of break-ups, it is often difficult to look beyond the present (which may feel bleak) due to overwhelming feelings of loss and heartache. Because of this, your tunnel vision may only allow you to see the negativity of your situation.

  • Instead of focusing on the relationship ending or the anxiety post-breakup, redirect your energy to appreciating what you have.

You can be thankful for something small. It could be that you are grateful for a good friend, or maybe you appreciate a quality that you have to bring to others. Joining support groups for people with social anxiety or those dealing with traumatic stress can help.

Gratitude For What You Have

Compile a list of things you’re grateful for. Writing a gratitude list has been proven to boost your physical well-being and the state of your mental health. It will allow you to take your mind off the relationship ending or any anxious feelings and remind you of who you are.

A gratitude list does not have to be filled with unusual or unique things. Some of the best things to be grateful for could be right in front of you, everyday things. You might be grateful to enjoy engaging in activities like a warm day of sunshine, getting to sleep an hour late, or enjoying a delicious chocolate chip cookie. Taking time for yourself will help to improve your mood and mental health over time.

Coping Skills

You must keep a balanced perspective of your relationship to prevent the aggravation of (or development of) traumatic stress that can come from an anxiety disorder. It is easy to remember all the good times and worry you will never have that again. People who experience an anxiety disorder often focus on only the negative aspects of breaking up. But, with every relationship, there are good times and bad times.

In hindsight, especially when going through post-breakup anxiety, we tend to see things more favorably (with rose-colored glasses) than the actual reality of the situation. Staying in this state long-term isn’t good for our mental health. We have to learn to accept the good times as memories, not a sign that we will get back together.

Forgiving Your Ex

You do not need to make out your ex to be a terrible person to be able to get over them, you just need to allow yourself to remember what it was about the relationship that made it ultimately come to an end. The time post-breakup is a time for you to heal, a time for you to work on your anxiety, and reflect on who you are post-breakup.

Invest In Yourself - Online Therapy Can Help You Move On

Finding Emotional Support

It’s also important to find emotional support when going through a breakup. You are probably going to feel lonely during this time and experience self-doubt. Find a friend or family member who is understanding and compassionate. Sometimes talking about your emotions to people who care about you as well as just being surrounded by loved ones can have a great healing effect.

If this is not an option, or you need additional emotional support, you can always seek the help of a mental health professional as well.

When Should You Get Help For Your Anxiety?

For most people, time heals all wounds. Though they may feel overwhelmed or experience a hit to their self-esteem post-breakup, they eventually heal their emotional wounds and are able to move forward with life.

But not everyone is like this. For some people, a breakup can be a traumatic event, especially if they were very close to their partner and were with them for a long time. It is normal to experience more serious symptoms of anxiety after a breakup, such as anxiety attacks.

If your anxiety does not diminish with time, then you may be developing an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are adjustment disorders, meaning they can develop after all sorts of stressful events. If you are still experiencing moderate or severe symptoms of anxiety a few months after your breakup, then you may need to find treatment. 

These symptoms can include, but are not limited to:

  • Constantly feeling anxious, nervous, or restless
  • A consistent feeling of doom, panic, or danger
  • Rapid breathing
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Fatigue
  • Negative thought patterns
  • Increased heart rate
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Panic attacks
  • Low self-confidence

Though it is normal to experience these symptoms post-breakup, if you are still experiencing them months later, then you should seek help and treatment. Anxiety is painful enough as a mental health condition, but chronic anxiety can affect your physical health as well. 

That’s why it is important to get treatment so that you can feel healthy, happy, and calm again. One of the ways you can get help is by talking with an online therapist, such as those at BetterHelp.

Substance Abuse to Cope with Breakups

One of the more unhealthy-but-common coping mechanisms to deal with the anxiety which can accompany breakups is substance abuse. This is especially common among university students, who, due to being away from home, may lack their usual social support system which they would have gotten back home from their family, or a family member. They may have already been feeling social anxiety, due to being in an unfamiliar place and around new people.

However, while substance abuse can temporarily curb anxiety after a breakup, in the long run it leaves those who do it feeling worse, and can expose them to Substance Abuse Disorder and other health conditions. 

How BetterHelp Can Support You

Maybe you’re exhausted from the emotional turmoil of the breakup or the breakup is aggravating an existing anxiety disorder.

The effects of an anxiety disorder at this time can be hard to deal with. You’re having trouble getting out to see your friends. You don’t want to get out of your pajamas. It’s brutal to leave the house and go to work. “Breakup Anxiety” isn’t an officially recognized mental health condition, but it can sure feel like one.

If you’re living with an anxiety disorder — or dealing with other mental health challenges after a relationship ends — there is hope out there. Online counseling and mental health services are here for you.

The wellness professionals at BetterHelp care about your pain. Licensed therapists can help you get through the confusion and pain of dealing with a relationship ending and living with anxiety. They want you to heal from this experience. And you can, with the help and informed professional advice of a mental health therapist who understands how hard it is when a relationship ends.

You might not be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but your counselor can. Trust the skilled mental health professionals – they are here to help you. BetterHelp board-certified and licensed therapists can help you transition and find a way to improve mental health and rebuild yourself after your breakup.

The counselors at BetterHelp have seen many people in the United States that experience negative symptoms of mental health and social anxiety. When people visit BetterHelp therapy experts for chronic mental health issues and social anxiety, professional counselors can guide them through these tough times.

You can be sure that your online counselor will take great care of you and help you heal. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors in the United States, from people experiencing similar issues.

Counselor Reviews

“Jessica is an amazing counselor! She helped me get through a difficult breakup and coached me to add structure and balance to my daily routine and my life. She’s a great listener and gave me achievable steps to follow to reach the new goals I set for myself. I would recommend her to anyone seeking counseling.”

“Pamela has helped me become the person who I wanted to be after my breakup. She helped me see the light in the dark, and showed me that who I am is enough.”

Conclusion

Breakups are hard, but you don’t have to go through them alone. Online counseling and other mental health services can provide an invaluable service by allowing you to take your time processing the relationship and why it ended. You can gain new insights by doing this. Lasting and fulfilling relationships are possible – with the right tools. Take the first step today.

For more information on where to find a therapist that can help you, reach out to contact@betterhelp.com. You can also find us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, & YouTube.

If you’re curious if BetterHelp and online therapy are right for you, hear from a licensed therapist about when online therapy is appropriate:

Therapy Is A Personal Experience

Therapy is a personal experience, and not everyone will go into it seeking the same things. If you’re still wondering if therapy is right for you, and how much therapy costs, please contact us at contact@betterhelp.com.

Questions People Often Ask On This Topic:

Is it normal to have anxiety after a breakup?
How long does anxiety last after a breakup?
Can heartbreak give you anxiety?
Does breakup anxiety go away?
What are the 5 stages of a breakup?
Can a breakup cause PTSD?
How do you know if a guy is hurt after a breakup?
How do you get over an ex you still love?
Why is it taking me so long to get over my ex?
How do I calm my mind after a break up?

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