Whether you're the breakup-er, the breakup-ee, or a party to a mutual split, calling it quits with your partner in love takes a toll on both your mind and your body. And though most of us have experienced first-hand that there's no instant cure for the heartsick, prioritising your health is your smartest moving-on move.
"Taking the time and extra effort to care for yourself and be conscious of your food choices will pay off in the long run," says Keri Glassman, registered dietitian and author of The New You and Improved Diet.
"When you’re finally over your breakup, you’ll come out looking and feeling better than you did in your relationship—and ready to move on to greener pastures."
Here's some expert-approved advice for soothing your suffering the healthy way...
1. Sweat it out
Every broken heart deserves a sweatpants-and-French-fries phase, but you'll only be hurting your health (and prolonging your pain) if you camp out under your covers for too long.
"As tempting as a day in bed watching Netflix may seem, going through a breakup is one of the most important times to ramp up those endorphins," says Glassman.
"Hitting the gym or pavement will get your heart rate up, which is a research-proven way keep your body in shape, boost your self-esteem, reduce stress, and ward off depression."
2. Control your environment
When you're in a sad state, it's easy to overindulge in comfort foods that'll only make you feel worse, so try to practice some self-love by avoiding situations where you're more likely to lose control (and opt for heart-healthy comfort foods instead).
"Instead of opting for dinner at a pizza or burger joint, plan a night out with girlfriends at that new healthy restaurant you’ve wanted to try," says Glassman. "Focus on enjoying each other’s company and you’ll end the evening feeling fulfilled in your friendships and happy with your food choices, instead of sluggish and ridden with food guilt."
3. Make smart swaps
When you're not feeling 100-percent, you need even more healthy nutrients, so experiment with making tasty alternatives to your favourite foods.
"Try swapping out your beef burger for a salmon burger, which is loaded with mood-boosting omega-3 fatty acids," says Rania Batayneh, author of The One One One Diet.
"Or skip the peanut butter ice cream and mix natural peanut butter into Greek yogurt—the extra protein and fewer sugar grams will keep your blood sugar and moods stable."
But don’t cut down on the carbs too much! "They contain 'happy hormone' serotonin, so if you eliminate them, you may find yourself binging on sugar to make you feel better," says Batayneh.
4. Get centred
Yoga does as much — if not more — to train your mind as it does to shape your body, and we could all use a little Zen when our emotions are raw. "Don’t underestimate the power of yoga to put you in a peaceful, meditative mindset and help you overcome heartache," says Glassman.
5. Focus on the future
A few packets of Tim Tams may ease heartache in the moment, but when you eventually get over your sad slump — which you will! — you'll feel bummed knowing you sabotaged all your hard work for temporary satisfaction that ultimately got you nowhere.
"Intense emotions can loosen our inhibitions around food and cause self-care to slip by the wayside, but this is a time to embrace the complete opposite mindset of this common pitfall," says Glassman.
"Instead, take this time to show yourself as much love as possible, starting with fuelling your body with healthy and nutritious foods." Then, start with these self-affirmation exercises to give yourself the love you deserve!
This article originally appeared on Rodale Wellness