5 Ways to Avoid Depression After a Break-Up

The break-up of a relationship ranks as one of the most stressful life events- it’s up there with the death of a loved one.  After the initial shock, when you may feel like you were just hit by a truck, sadness and loneliness often take over.  You may feel “a part of you has died,” and your whole world has fallen apart. The ability to concentrate and get motivated may be hard to come across.  You may also find yourself remembering and missing things you used to do with your partner.


Brain research shows that rejection experiences in a break-up can activate the same areas of the brain that physical pain or distress do.  Especially in women, a break-up can cause cardiac pain and shortness of breath.  The pain is both emotional and physiological, which means it can be very intense

Recovering from a break-up is not easy and can lead to severe depression; lowered immune system response; and even health problems.

As you recover from your break-up, you need to take care of yourself.  The following tips might be helpful in that process.


  • Express yourself- share your feelings

One of the best ways to deal with the pain of a break-up is to share your feelings with friends or family- people you trust.  The simple process of identifying and talking about your feelings is very soothing.  Studies show that talking about negative feelings can reduce activity in the pain-feeling portion of the brain.  Talking to others not only feels good, but also releases opiates, which are natural “pain-killers,” and helps you process and manage the emotions generated by a break-up.

  • Give yourself time to grieve

Allow yourself to be sad about the loss of your relationship, rather than trying to rush into feeling well again.  People who refuse to face the pain of a break-up get involved in rebound relationships before working through the painful issues of the past relationship.  They tend to project their pain and desires onto their new partner, substituting their previous partner and not seeing the new person for who he/she really is.

Give yourself time to grieve- the process may be as painful as mourning the death of a loved one. Breaking up is a loss and the only way to come out of it healthy and with peace is to grieve properly.

  • Consider having a conversation with your ex-partner

You may be able to have a final discussion with your ex-partner to help you understand what caused the break-up and express any pent-up issues and feelings.  However, this may not be something your ex-partner is willing to do or it may be too painful for you to do.  In this case, research shows that having an imaginary conversation, where you express all your feelings and say goodbye, can help you move-on.

  • Sleep

Sleep is one of the best ways to deal with stress and avoid depression, yet it can be hindered by emotional distress.  The day’s residual pain, sadness, and anger can make it difficult to sleep well.  If you wake up too early, or can’t fall asleep, take notes in order to identify a recurring theme.  That will help you figure out how get stress and anger under control during the day.  Try keeping a regular sleep schedule- going to bed and waking up at the same time each day- you will feel more refreshed and energized than if you sleep the same number of hours at different times.  Create a relaxing bed-time routine.  Regular exercise and relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation may also improve your sleep

  • Exercise

Working out, running, and even brisk walking release opiates, which can help you deal with stress. Studies show that cardiovascular exercise can be as effective in dealing with mild to moderate anxiety and depression as antidepressants.  So, get up and put your running shoes on!

It is natural to feel sad as you are grieving the end of your relationship.  Remember to allow yourself to experience and process your own thoughts and feelings, no matter how painful they are- it will allow you to move forward.  If you feel helpless, have low self-confidence, or think you are worse than you were, you may benefit from professional help to alleviate your feelings and avoid a deeper depression.

Don’t wait too long before intervening- when one door closes, you need to find the window that will allow you to go through and heal.

If you want help in dealing with relationship break-up call me at (281) 267-1742 for a FREE ten-minute consultation.


Dr. Irena Milentijevic is a licensed psychologist who specializes in helping mothers and those hoping to be mothers overcome stress, loss, and depression.  Her offices are located in Houston and the Woodlands, Texas.  Visit her website:  www.DrIrena.com to get her free report, “Moms and Mom Wannabes:  10 Ways to Overcome Depression and Reclaim Your Sanity.”


Dr. Irena offers online therapy for women and couples in Texas and New York City. She uses research-proven method, known as Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) to help couples develop and maintain the emotional connection and support each other through stressful times. She has helped highly distressed couples be available and responsive to each other, access their resiliency, and strengthen their relationships.

If you would like to schedule a session, email Dr. Irena for a free 10-minute video consultation: irena@permalink.com or call (281)-267-1742.

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{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Akash upadhyay April 3, 2017, 7:19 am

    Thank you so much…

  • Taylor Hicken May 9, 2017, 4:03 pm

    I’ve grieved for many things in my life, but I’ve never grieved for the loss of love. I’ve never been in a serious relationship before, but my sister has. And her long-term boyfriend just broke up with her, she’s been having a really hard time coping. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to find a way to help her fight this depression.

  • Nidhi May 29, 2017, 2:04 am

    Thank you for sharing this information. I really need very much this information. thank you again.

  • Nidhi May 29, 2017, 2:07 am

    Good information regarding break up. thank you so much for sharing this information.

  • Need help July 17, 2017, 12:25 am

    I want to break up from my cheating relationship

  • Amand October 3, 2017, 8:01 pm

    I can’t cope with the pain of my break up. Can’t eat or sleep, i feel depressed. Can’t sleep without the sleeping pills. And to make things worse i think i’m getting addicted to them. How can i make myself feel better and sleep better?

    • Irena October 23, 2017, 1:02 pm

      Dear Armand,

      I understand that break up can be really painful. It may help to find someone you can talk to how you feel. It’s a big burden to keep it all in.

      All the best in your recovery.

  • bala November 16, 2017, 10:36 am

    my love is failure I’m very stressed and depression I want recover but I feel always thinking about my blessy she is my gf we relationship breaked up now 4 half years love I can’t forget her always I’m imagining her we spend times we went bikes she gave me gifts she take care me she she gave me life but now she is not god is ter I dono because my love is help helpless she should be happy forever I pray to God she should live 100years bye from Bala i won’t marry any girl because she is my wife in my dream thank for u information but it’s not cure me bye

  • Mahira January 28, 2018, 1:06 pm

    Its has been 2 months tht me n my partner broke up wd each other ,nd m nt able to forget him,I don’t knw wht to do,sometimes I feel to call him nd ask him to come back
    I was with him fr two nd half years ,nd so many memories I made wd him,tht comes into my mind….
    Every single second wdout him is a struggle for me ,I don’t knw wht to do,m really very depressed ,I need help …..

  • Kriti April 11, 2018, 6:58 am

    I used to be a cheerful girl.. But one accident took place in my life. That was the day,in marriage hall, when i looked into his eyes. He was so happy coz he was the groom n i was a guest..
    Since that day i have been watching him with someone else and dying everyday.. He knows but he’s helpless. I m suffering from past 8 months. M literally on the verge of dying.. no one to talk too..

  • Katrina April 23, 2018, 12:26 am

    dr_mack @yahoo. com…… restored my relationship, my boyfriend came back to me, i took him back and I am now settled with my him…….

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