By Jamie Porter, health promotions analyst for Nebraska Medicine – University Health Center

According to popular lore and some digital data, we’re just about to enter one of the busiest times of the year for couples to break up. It’s often referred to as the “Turkey Drop” because it occurs during or just after Thanksgiving.

Some speculate that the spike in splits are due to college freshman coming to the realization that their high school sweetheart or long-distance relationship isn’t “the one” for them, and this is the first chance to break it off in person. Others claim the phenomenon exists because it’s the last humane time to break up with someone before March due to the number of holidays between now and then.

Regardless of the cause, dealing with the loss of a romantic relationship is hard. Here are some tips to help you cope if you’ve experienced a recent break up.

  1. Take care of yourself. Rejection and heartache is processed in the brain in similar ways to physical pain. Additionally, long-term relationships help to regulate biological processes. Breaking up with your significant other can cause real changes in physiological symptoms including sleep, heart rate, and appetite. Because of this, it is especially important to focus on taking good care of yourself and establishing a new routine. This means making sure you’re bathing regularly, sleeping adequately and eating nutritious food.
  2. Write it out. Journaling has extensive evidence to support its effectiveness in increasing peoples’ subjective well-being and decrease negative outcomes. Writing about the positive aspects of the end of a relationship has been shown to be especially effective.
  3. Limit digital contact. Seeing constant uninvited reminders of your ex can make it difficult to move on. If you’re not quite ready to unfriend someone on social media or delete their number, try unfollowing them. It doesn’t sever the tie, but makes unintentional reminders of potentially painful memories less likely to occur.
  4. Reach out to friends. Often, romantic relationships are the primary relationships in our lives. Take this time to seek emotional and social support by spending more time with your friends and family. You’ll feel supported and you’ll strengthen your existing relationships.
  5. Ask for help. Experiencing a break up can feel like grieving the loss of a loved one; it is painful, takes time, and ebbs and flows. If you are struggling, especially if you have prolonged periods in which you feel sad all of the time, lose interest in activities you normally enjoy, feel hopeless, and/or feel worthless, there is help available. Seeing a counselor can help you process the end of a relationship and solidify your identity as a single person.

If you need help with a breakup, Nebraska Medicine – University Health Center Counseling and Psychological Services can help. Call 402.472.5000 to schedule an appointment with a member of our team. Remember, your first four visits are no additional cost if you pay student fees. Learn more about CAPS by visiting our website.