Invest In You
Breakups suck. Whether you initiated it, or never saw it coming, there’s nothing fun about losing someone you cared about. But, before you try to bury your feelings in a tub of of ice cream (or three martinis), try to think of this as a time to be selfish and invest in you. In Eastern Medicine, the focus is on finding balance in your mind, body, and spirit. Take a few tips from these ancient practices to get good with yourself again.
You know how when you’re heart is broken, you physically feel terrible too? While in the West, we often think of our emotions and body as separate entities, in Eastern Medicine there’s an understanding that they are all related. In fact, an imbalance in one aspect of your life is sure to impact the other aspects of your life. Enter – acupuncture.
One of the core treatment-types in Eastern Medicine or TCM, acupuncture has been practiced for thousands of years to help ease symptoms of all kinds of different conditions. The small needles are strategically placed along the body to help rebalance your energy and/or release blockages.
Emotional and mental distress are viewed as symptoms of an imbalance with one of our internal organ systems in TCM, so broken hearts can treated through acupuncture. Shown to release the hormones dopamine and serotonin, these are actually the same feel-good ones released when we fall in love. When we lose someone we care about, it can be difficult to think we’ll ever feel happy again, but experiencing the same rush of positive hormones without the association of our former flame can help us realize that there’s more out there for us.
When it comes to specific points, it’s very likely that your acupuncturist will be working to release blocked energy around your heart. In TCM, the heart is more than just a commercialized symbol for love, it’s believed that many of our emotional experiences stem from our hearts. Many acupuncturists will place needles along the Lung’s Luo Channel, which typically comprises points on the edge of the hand near the thumb and two points on the palm (HT-8 and PC-8).
Surprised that these acupuncture points are on your hands? The hands are strongly connected to feelings of desire, obsession, and longing. When we want something badly, we reach for it, grab, or hold onto things we care about. Those reactions symbolized by the hands link back to the feelings of the heart.
Herbs for Healing Heartbreak
Just like one fun night out won’t rid you of the sadness, it’s rare that one type of treatment solves your problems. Many acupuncturists will also suggest herbal remedies depending on the symptoms of heartbreak you’re feeling. If you’re feeling emotionally exhausted and struggling to move on, hawthorn might be the herb for you. This medicinal herb is said to strengthen the heart, manage blood pressure, and lower cholesterol. Essentially, it acts as a general heart health boost which might help you process the loss more quickly. Hawthorn berries can be eaten raw, turned into jam or desserts, brewed as a tea, or taken as a supplement.
For those who can’t stop replaying the relationship in their minds, anxiety and insomnia might be a big part of your post-breakup life. This lack of sleep can lead to some serious health issues, mood swings, and generally feeling yucky the next morning. To calm those racing thoughts, combine lemon balm with chamomile. Adding a few teaspoons of lemon balm to chamomile tea before bedtime is a soothing option.
We might have just discovered the real reason they’re always handing out roses on The Bachelor. Rose is actually considered a medicinal herb in TCM and is said to help with many symptoms of heartbreak. Studies have shown that regular use of rose essential oil can relieve insomnia, nerves, mild depression, fatigue, and ease anger or resentment. It’s generally seen as an herb to assist in processing grief and open the heart to possibilities of a fresh start.
The Breakup Diet
Eating your feelings is real. Before you reach for the phone to UberEats yourself to death, let’s walk through some of the TCM-approved foods to make your breakup better. Food is the primary source of nutrition for our bodies, and certain types of food help treat each organ and various diseases.
To strengthen a weak heart, many TCM practitioners suggest stocking up on red and bitter foods. You’ll want to try red berries, tomatoes, peppers, apples, red meat, and watermelon. Consider also adding plenty of kale, broccoli, and spinach to your plate. The good news is, moderate amounts of dark chocolate and red wine have also been said to support a healthy heart so invite some friends over and enjoy a nice glass or two.
Lifestyle Shifts After Separation
The final element of the TCM Post-Breakup Plan is lifestyle adjustments. It’s no secret that life looks a little different without your significant other in it. Rather than letting that absence feel like a total loss, consider the new opportunities you have to fill that space. Are there activities you used to love to do that you haven’t made time for in a while? What about friends you miss but haven’t met up with recently? A breakup is the perfect time to analyze your life from a big-picture view and add or remove aspects that don’t serve the best version of yourself.
Consider talking with a therapist or life coach, joining a support group, exercising, or trying a new hobby. Reading books, writing, practicing mindfulness, and treating yourself to days devoted to self-care can also help during the post-breakup days. It can also be a good idea to reduce time on your phone or laptop to help you avoid social media stalking your ex or feeling the pressure to tell the world about your change in relationship status.
Create a daily schedule that is designed to surround you with positivity and an environment built for healing. This will prevent you from staying in your pajamas all day. Plus, you’ll find once you make yourself do fun things – SURPRISE you’ll actually have fun. Trust us, make yourself do things and you won’t regret it.