Dealing with a Breakup in 9 Creative Ways

AI artistic representation of a breakup, separated man and woman in a desert, with broken gigantic heart-shaped suitcase, image by Midjourney/Ivan Kralj.

Dealing with a breakup usually involves dealing with a tsunami of emotions that can swallow us after we experience the end of a relationship we believed in. When we go through a heartbreak, we typically have to learn to deal with feelings such as loss, shock, regret, sadness, rejection, confusion, grief, anger, stress, self-doubt, loneliness… Luckily, there are creative ways to tackle the painfulness of a breakup.

In this article, you will learn some of the best ways to deal with a breakup! While not trying to be a profound self-help guide, I see this as an attempt to highlight human creativity in constructing projects that help us go through the end of a relationship more easily.

In a world where it’s more common to monetize holidays like Valentine’s Day through providing romantic travel gifts, for instance, these entrepreneurs focused on the market of those whose relationships did not survive.

Their products and services, activities you could partake in, will help you stop constantly thinking about your ex, detach yourself, let them go, move on, and find peace.

Before we jump on the path of healing the broken heart, let’s answer some essential questions about dealing with a breakup!

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Why does heartbreak hurt so much?

When a relationship ends, the release of happy hormones such as serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine is reduced, while stress hormones cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline get increased.

Love is literally like cocaine. It triggers our reward system. When it’s suddenly gone, its absence can only turn on the panic mode

Studies have shown that breakups activate the same brain areas as physical pain does. That is why the hormones on the loose can make us experience emotions as physically painful too.

The changes in blood pressure and heart rate can, in rare cases, culminate in broken heart syndrome (takotsubo cardiomyopathy), the condition in which extreme levels of stress shorten breath and make the heart pump harder, creating chest pain.

Simply put, love is literally like cocaine, it triggers our reward system. As neurochemical addicts, we cannot just easily stop craving our love drug. When it’s suddenly gone, its absence can only turn on the panic mode.

Activating the same section of the brain as morphine, love acts like a painkiller. Removing love out of the equation doesn’t magically rewire our brain, whose neural circuits learned to be “in love” with a now-missing partner.

Healing a broken heart actually means adjusting the brain to new circumstances. And just like with adopting any new habit, recovery takes time. Breakup pain could, in a variety of intensities, last for weeks, often months. In rare cases, it can take years to fully heal a broken heart.

What to do when dealing with a breakup?

As the fastest way to recover from a breakup is through restoring the hormonal balance, science does have an exact answer to this question.

Woman in lotus pose, doing yoga in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia, in the backlight of the sun, photo by Jared Rice, Unsplash.
Yoga in Bali is always a good solution; photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

A good post-breakup care routine should include: exercising, meditation, sufficient sleep, sun exposure, healthy meals (especially a diet that includes cheese, soy, red meat, pork, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and seeds), social contact, body contact (hugs, massages), listening to music that excites you, expressing yourself through art or other hobbies, trying new experiences – travel experiences included. Getting out of town is always a great option!

What not to do after a breakup?

There are of course also things not to do after a breakup. You might be losing control of your emotions, and to avoid embarrassing outbursts, attempts should be made to preoccupy yourself with other things.

You should not waste your time on writing messages or making phone calls to your ex, stalking them on social media or in real life.

It’s good to avoid social media altogether, to unfollow or even block your ex, as well as their friends and close family. At least, use Facebook’s “snooze for 30 days” option. Constantly checking their profile, or scrolling through their Instagram images, will not help you in any way.

Avoid their physical proximity too; that means not visiting their home, office, or spaces they socialize at. Don’t settle with “staying friends” immediately.

There is this concept of the power of silence after a breakup. Distancing will help you clear your mind, get in control of your emotions, and empower you for your future love path.

As much as it first feels comforting, you should avoid sobbing for hours in front of your ex’s altar, going through memories while drowning your sorrow in alcohol and sniffing their favorite perfume.

Until you get yourself back together, don’t rush into dating new partners!

How to heal a breakup in 9 steps

Every recovery from a breakup is individual. In the process of letting someone you love go, try some of the 9 best ways to deal with a heartbreak!

1. Touch up your travel pics with the help of AI

Artificial intelligence is everywhere these days. Luckily for the brokenhearted, AI tools can even help us cope with photo memories of places we enjoyed with a person we try to forget now.

Picsart's Replace My Ex, AI tool that can replace a person, for instance an ex partner, with another object, for instance a dog.
“Good girl!”

Picsart came up with the AI Replace My Ex tool, essentially showcasing their technology that can replace objects in an existing photo with anything else.

So if you’ve been spending hours cutting out your ex’s face out of analog photographs, or trying to do the magic in Photoshop, AI Replace will cut your effort time, and deliver satisfying results.

Remember that time you posed together in front of the Eiffel Tower? Well, now it can be only you with – a baguette! Then that trip to Amsterdam, where you really liked how you turned out in that photo in front of the canals? Now, instead of putting your arm around your fiancé, you can be hugging a dog! Basically, the AI lets you replace your ex with anything, from a steak to a snake!

With Picsart’s tool, you don’t need to completely delete your common past. Keep the images where you looked cute, and remove only the excess baggage!

Enjoying the world without your ex is a trip worthy of documenting. And it's really not difficult: taking pictures of yourself when traveling solo is a skill that you can master easily.

2. Name a cockroach after your ex, so the zoo can feed it to an animal

San Antonio Zoo has a unique fundraiser, named Cry Me a Cockroach. For just 10 bucks, you can name a cockroach after your ex, and the zoo will make sure that it gets quickly consumed by some of their animals.

Visual with a cockroach and broken heart, promotion for Cry Me a Cockroach fundraiser by San Antonio Zoo, where customers can name a cockroach, a veggie or a rodent by their ex, and let the zoo animals eat it.
That guy won’t be bugging you again!

There are several tiers you can choose from, ranging from 5 to 25 dollars, which gives you the option to give your ex’s name to a piece of lettuce or a rodent, as alternatives.

While you can opt for the digital Valentine’s Day card that will inform your former partner they’ve been properly digested as an insect, you can even upgrade the experience.

For 150 dollars, the Texas zoo will send you a personalized video message of the feeding process, so you can e-mail it to your not-so-special someone.

Of course, you can also keep the indulgence all for yourself, knowing that you are not just helping the zoo’s wildlife program, but also your personal dealing with a breakup.

3. Donate your partner’s belongings to the Museum of Broken Relationships

Besides being a country with not less than five heart-shaped islands, Croatia is also the homeland of a rather unique love-themed institution – the Museum of Broken Relationships.

An axe from the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, Croatia, someone used it to chop their ex partner's furniture after a breakup.
Some people brutally chop off all the ties with their ex. With their axe.

Based in Zagreb, the museum exhibits personal objects as public treasures, items that symbolically marked failed relationships, accompanied by sometimes fascinating heartbreak stories.

Launched by a real-life broken couple, Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić, Brokenships became the repository of human love on a path from best dates to expiry dates.

In this extraordinary collection, one can find anything from lint collected from the partner’s belly button all the way to the axe used to chop the ex’s furniture.

The crowd-sourced museum is always on the lookout for new exhibits, so you can send your contribution. Getting rid of your former partner’s stuff will thus not only be a part of your personal emotional decluttering but also a participation in the collective emotional history.

Museum of Broken Relationships also collects heartbreak stories, so even if you do not have a particular object to get rid of, you can still leave your breakup pin on the map.

Listen to the museum founder explaining the ideas behind the exhibits of the Museum of Broken Relationships!


4. Do an at-home spa treatment with heartbreak candles

One of the best ways of dealing with a breakup is by investing in self-care. That means creating a relaxing space that will help restore your body and mind.

Put Miley Cyrus’ “Flowers” on repeat, soak in a nicely-scented bath, and enjoy your personal spa treatment at home, decorated with heartbreak candles.

Hertbreak candle by Malicious Women Company, candle named "I Do What I Want" ("infused with zero fucks").
Candle reminding you of the benefits of being free

You might be driven to fantasize that it would be great if the candles could be scented with fragrances such as ex’s tears. The black separation candle (The Original Candle Company) claims not only to melt the male and female figure but that it also acts as spiritual cleansing.

As we are trying to leave all of that behind, you might skip the witchcraft and instead go for women-empowering candles by the Malicious Women Company. More aligned with Miley Cyrus’ spirit, their hand-poured candles have creative names such as “I Do What I Want” (infused with zero f*cks) or “Not Today, Mansplainer” (infused with the well-earned confidence of free-thinking women everywhere).

Then again, there are entire breakup gift baskets, if you want to splurge in your personal spa completely.

5. Read heartbreak poetry

Inspired by the Museum of Broken Relationships, Mcsway Poetry Collective, the poetry club at McGill Univerity in Montreal, launched the Heartbreak Museum.

Journal Entry, collage by an anonymous artist, displayed in the online Heartbreak Museum, message saying repetitevely "I am", and a woman sitting on the beach with a paper cover saying "You break your heart to make it bigger".
A collage by an anonymous artist for the Heartbreak Museum

Unlike the Croatian permanent collection of objects, the idea of the Canadian museum was to become a digital space where poets and other artists could share their heartache.

If you’re in Montreal, you can join live love-themed open mic sessions. The organizer doesn’t put limits to the type of love their poets portray, calling up for “the good, the bad, and everything in between”.

The good news is that the poetry and the artworks from the 2020 edition of the Heartbreak Museum are available in the online feed.

So take some time off the self-pity, and see how others are dealing with a breakup! It could be as cathartic for you as it was for those who expressed their hurt through art. Maybe they can even inspire you to do the same!

6. Embrace profanity in a creative way

Sometimes, dealing with a breakup is easier if you just loose control and let your anger spill out creatively. Swearing in this period is totally acceptable.

Front cover of a swear-word adult coloring book for breakup survival "Have a Nice Life, Asshole" by Creative Collective.
Coloring books are not just for kids

As the title of Monica Sweeney’s publication says: “Let That Sh*t Go”. This “journal for leaving your bullsh*t behind and creating a happy life” is a part of the bestselling journals by Zen as F*ck.

By journaling positive activities and inspirations on these pages, the author promises you’ll find moments of profanity-laced catharsis and joy. While harboring grudges and plotting revenge takes energy, the bliss can be found in simply not giving a f*ck, teaches this journal for lifting one’s spirit.

If you prefer something a bit simpler, the Creative Collective made “Have a Nice Life Asshole”, the coloring book for adults that relieves breakup stress.

While it offers you mandalas, flowers, animals, and other stress-relieving patterns to color, the book is also packed with swear words aiming to empower breakup survival. In total, you can color 50 unique hand-curated best breakup insults.

7. Try travel packages dedicated to singles

The travel industry always knew how to respond to market demand. At some point, programs offering trips that promised couples quick divorce arrangements were especially popular.

Now, even AI recognizes solo tourism as one of the leading travel trends of the future. More and more resorts, cruise ships, and travel agencies market singles vacations – packages geared towards newly single guests.

Woman relaxing in a swimming pool, with macarons on a plate next to her, photo by Noah Buscher, Unsplash.
Sweeten up your life by traveling solo; photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash

Often, this could mean enjoying the amenities of a double room without a supplement for single occupancy. Sometimes, one could be receiving complimentary meals, entertainment, or activities such as speed-dating and private dance lessons.

These all-inclusive adventures typically offer a lot of independence, an opportunity to get away from everything in a relaxing spa, but also a chance to mingle and, who knows, maybe even stop being single! Remember that important advice though: no rushing into new dates!

Another interesting travel package could be something called a divorce celebration. These are mostly targeted at a collective of friends, the support group helping out the heartbroken member tap into a life without a partner.

Besides showering the divorcee with upgrades, presents, and even strippers, divorce parties usually include some kind of farewell ceremony. This can be any type of symbolic closure, from breaking a piñata with the ex’s face on it to burying a wedding ring in a small coffin.

If you want a creative idea to restore your broken soul, why not travel to the world's best heart-shaped islands? Some of them are on beautiful exotic locations!

8. Join a breakup-mending retreat

Dealing with a breakup is often much easier in the company of other people going through the same experience, especially if managed by a professional. While one should never feel odd about seeking the support of a private therapist, there are retreats composed around group sessions.

Girlfriends standing in a wheat field in Mexico, forming shapes of hearts with their fingers, photo by Melissa Askew, Unsplash.
You are not alone in experiencing heartbreak. Find others dealing with breakups, and grow stronger together! Photo by Melissa Askew on Unsplash

One is the Mend Away retreat, an intimately sized 7-day program for people recovering from a breakup or burnout. The organization founded by Ellen Huerta enables you to unplug at the idyllic locations, and it typically includes yoga and mindfulness classes, group coaching workshops, as well as excursions. So far, Mend Away retreats have been held in Spain and Portugal.

Then there is Renew Breakup Bootcamp, gathering a team of relationship experts from fields such as psychology, behavioral science, and sex education. Led by chief heart hacker Amy Chan, author of the audio guide “Breakup Bootcamp: The Science of Rewiring Your Heart”, this weekend retreat in California promises to transform heartbreak into healing.

In the UK, the transformation therapy retreat for women is offered by the Heartbreak Hotel. Founded by the counseling psychologist Alice Haddon, the 3-day intensive group therapy happens at a remote spot on the top of a mountain in the Peak District. It comes with nourishing food and mocktails, yoga on the beach, nature walks, and fireside care.

From the United States to India, there are numerous yoga retreats that, even when not designed specifically for broken hearts, can have healing effects.

I think that affording a getaway is always a good investment. Here's how traveling saved me from going crazy!

9. Monitor your progress through breakup apps

Dealing with a breakup is a process that requires time. To keep track of your progress, you can make use of breakup-dedicated apps. Here’s a selection of 4 breakup apps:

Breakup Freedom app on the smartphone, helping users to deal with a breakup by not contacting their ex partner.
Counting no-contact days with Breakup Freedom

Breakup Freedom is an app imposing a no-contact rule with your ex, and checking up on you through a breakup tracker, as well as motivating you through achieving milestones. It also comes with quotes to help with heartbreak, from Oprah to Chopra.

Breakup Help – Mend Relation is an app enabling an instant chat with a relationship expert Miss. Zup, a 13-day breakup relief challenge, a love test, an in-app diary, and reading material on love, happiness, and health.

Break-Up Boss by Zoë Foster Blake, the Cosmpolitan’s relationship columnist, is an app version of a self-help book. For 8,63 Euros, it lets you pick your current state of mind, and answers it with a series of short essays, tips, and games (such as sending a fake text to your ex).

No Contact Rule is an app that manages your schedule for a month, making sure you’re on track with not contacting your ex. It also gives you guidelines on staying healthy, as well as allows you to share your heartbreak story with other users in the chat board.

Dealing with a breakup – Conclusion

No matter if it’s your first or your worst heartbreak, overcoming it is always a new and demanding process. Nobody gets better at handling breakups. If one feels like he/she does, that’s an alarm for visiting a professional. Having our world seem shattered in pieces is perfectly expected after we end a meaningful relationship.

Even if it could look different at the moment, healing a broken heart is not mission impossible. Heartbreak will not last forever. The science of heartbreak confirms that time does heal wounds, so you will eventually get over your ex too.

Whether it’s just spending more time in nature nearby, or finally finding the courage for that long-distance trip, dealing with a breakup by embracing traveling can be truly recuperating

In the period of healing, the best advice for the broken-hearted is to find other content to fulfill your excitement needs. Whether it’s finally creating time for hobbies you always wanted to pursue, spending more time with friends (finding some, if you don’t have them), or just getting back to cherishing your body through movement, nourishment, sleep and relaxation, the time after a breakup is perfect for restoring your better self.

Breakups can often end abruptly, with no real explanation, which can be especially haunting for a heartbroken. After the initial urge to experience closure (rituals such as burying a ring or sacrificing a cockroach named after an ex, are symbolic examples of letting go of the person who possibly just didn’t care as much as we did), it’s important to focus on oneself.

Changing the environment can help. Whether it’s just spending more time in nature nearby, or finally finding the courage for that long-distance trip, dealing with a breakup by embracing traveling can be truly recuperating.

Our emotions don’t let us think clearly during the period when they boil. Breakups are not life-or-death situations. Even if you feel as if your partner meant life to you, there is your future self to think about too. We might not know if there is life after death, but there is certainly life after the death of a relationship.

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Dealing with a breakup can seem too overwhelming, but it only requires time. There are actually creative methods to heal a heartbreak, giving you the sense of closure. Try some of these 9 best ways to deal with a breakup!

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Ivan Kralj


Award-winning journalist and editor from Croatia

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