7 Steps to Surviving Heartbreak

Jillian Turecki — New York based yoga teacher and certified life coach — on how you must move through to move on.


Can you remember the last time your heart was broken? Mine broke three years ago during my divorce. During that same time, my heart was also breaking due to other things (we’ll get to that in another post!) — and these steps helped me move through that pain, too. So whether you’re splitting with your significant other, happily coupled, or single — read on.


Before I delve into the steps, I want to tell you this: nothing I share with you is going to take away the pain, especially if you’re in the thick of it right now. Remember: pain and suffering are very different animals. Pain is an inevitable part of life, an organic part of the human experience. This is why all spiritual leaders, books, metaphors and masters describe pain as something to accept, something to surrender to… something that will pass. But suffering is different. Suffering is when you have deep pain you feel you can’t control. The moment you feel powerless to change your circumstance is the moment you suffer.


But here’s the truth: there is so much we can’t control – especially in a break-up. But, there is a lot we can control. So, although pain is a fact of life, suffering is optional. Right now I want to talk about preventing all unnecessary despair. There are steps, actions and shifts to your thinking that can be taken to ease your transition into this (often) abrupt new life. Below, seven ways to move on by moving through.


How you grieve is your business

I will warn you that avoiding your feelings all day long will only delay and amplify your pain. However, I think distracting yourself at times during the week is necessary. A lot of people are of two camps: distract or feel everything. I say both. Do NOT avoid your feelings, but don’t think you have to be wallowing in pain all day long. Distract yourself with: hanging with friends, trying new activities, watching a movie, reading, writing. If this heartbreak is fresh, go into a cave and lick your wounds if you need to, but come out for air periodically. If you need to talk about it obsessively, find a friend who will listen and then take moments of silence. Feel your feelings AND MAKE ROOM FOR OTHER FEELINGS TOO. Joy is always available to you —  even if it’s fleeting. And so is RELIEF. Seriously, it’s ok to feel relief.


Get help

There are people in your life who love you and want to be there for you even if they don’t know how. (Forgive them for that). So round the troops. Call your tribe. Even if it’s just one person. You cannot handle this on your own.


Move your f*cking body

Three years ago I lost my marriage and my mom was on her deathbed. I could barely lift a finger —  I was so fucking wiped all the time for an entire year. But thankfully I have a dog that needs to be walked. So, I walked. A lot. I breathed deeply when I remembered to. If you’re tired, walk and breathe. If you’re the opposite with pent up anxious energy, get your ass to the gym, go to a yoga class, or jump rope and dance in you apartment. Do something. Anything.


Change the meaning

If you’re in the throes of heartbreak, I bet you’re focusing A LOT on the other person and playing a story in your head on repeat. But here’s what you may not know: you actually have a choice as to what this loss is going to mean. Yup, re-read that sentence again. Trust me. For example: This experience could mean that you’re unworthy, unlucky in love and life, fucked up, a failure, stupid, mean, bad. All of which are extremely limiting thoughts that are bullshit even though you believe them. OR, this breakup/loss can mean you are being pulled to grow past your comfort zone. It could mean you’re meant to take a different direction in life that will be more fulfilling and meaningful to you. It could mean you’re meant to see, feel and know your strength. You see, if you give this event an empowering meaning, one that is meant to grow you, then growth is what you’ll focus on. And when we focus on our own growth and progress, fulfillment follows.


Date yourself

Now’s the time to get in touch with YOU. Your values, your principles, your beliefs. And not the ones you have been conditioned to have and believe based on your environment, but the ones you want to cultivate right now. What is truly important to you? What old wounds or stories of your past are still controlling you and what you believe? What do you value at the highest at THIS time in your life —  not last year or last week? Write them down. Make a list. When you shift your focus AWAY from the other person/relationship, you will grow. Remember this: Growth = progress = fulfillment. You can grow and still grieve. You can be sad and lonely, but if you know you are evolving you will feel fulfilled in spite of your pain.


Create a future to look forward to

I believe we all need something to look forward to, and when we can’t imagine a brighter future, this leads to suffering and despair. It’s unfortunate that we’ve been conditioned to believe that our future just happens to us. NO. We have to create the future we want. Will there be delays and detours? Yes. But there will be nothing worth mentioning if you don’t create. As out of control and confused you may feel, move towards something. Maybe it’s a career change you’ve been dreaming about one day making, or an epic travel experience, or continuing education, or joining a club or a group of some sort. Or perhaps there is a person or organization you’ve been wanting to serve in some way? Whenever we give back, we get out of our heads. And getting out of our head is the ticket to healing.


Recognize moments of Grace

I think of grace as moments when life feels like it’s giving me a gift. But often these gifts go unrecognized because they appear seemingly small. But no matter what your belief system is about the universe I promise you this: you are being gifted all the time, and the more you wake up to them, the more love you will feel. For example: On the day after my husband unexpectedly called it quits I was sitting on a bench outside my apartment building in complete shock and intense despair. My neighbor, who happened to be a coach, found me, sat down, and we started talking. I won’t burden you with all the details here, but that evening marked the first day of my new life.  


Feeling better is not a linear road. It’s rocky then smooth, then rocky, then smooth and so on. But if you really follow these steps, things will begin to improve, and eventually you WILL get out on the other side so much better. Stronger, for sure, but better. Happier. Wiser. Certain. Give yourself time. Don’t rush, take it day-by-day. This is all a process.You will move forward. You will move through. You will move up and on and into the great and beautiful unknown and it will be amazing. You are loved.


Here’s to the journey.

All my love,



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