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How To Get Through a Break Up Without Affecting Your Work

Updated: Jul 11, 2019

by Michelle Heah. |

Hear that shattering sound? Yup that’s the sound of your heart broken into a million pieces, gut wrenched, soul crushed, your ego blown. You think about the ‘Our Wedding’ Pinterest board that you’ve been pinning wedding ideas for the longest time- and now you just want to delete the whole damn thing. (Actually don’t be rash; you’ll still have your dream wedding- just not with him, obv.)

This sudden loss of love is similar to experiencing the same intense feelings and pain you feel from a death in the family- the only difference being you don’t get the same leeway at the office. You are not entitled for compassionate leave for the death of your relationship with your ex, even though you need time to grieve; and the last thing you want is to be labelled as someone who lets your personal life affect your work.

Here are some survival tips to get through a breakup and also soldier on at work, from someone who has been there too.

1. Take time off (if you have to)

Throwing yourself back to work can be effective in keeping yourself busy. Your emotions will get the best of you and it’s important to maintain professionalism while you’re at work. However if you feel that you can’t keep your emotions in check just yet, now might be the time for a breather. Taking a few days annual leave allows you to have some ‘me time’ to recuperate and cry it out- in the privacy of your bedroom- and not locking yourself in the office toilet stall muffling your sobs, or worse still- breaking down in the middle of a team meeting.

2. Out of sight, out of mind

I personally find this very helpful in moving on - removing your ex from your social networks. This may be a tad extreme for some people, but if you keep seeing your ex posting status updates on Facebook or watching his IG Stories, you could mute their accounts. You’ll find that it’s easier to move on because there won’t be a subconscious reminder when you stumble upon their posts on your feed. It would also be a good time to Marie Kondo the anniversary gifts, dried flowers that you’ve been hoarding and Polaroid photos of your time together, and set it on fi- I mean, box it all away. Does it still spark joy? Definitely don’t think so.

3. Get a support system

Now is the time to connect with family and friends. These are people who have been there for you, even before you met your ex. Spending quality time with your loved ones will fill up the emptiness you are feeling post-breakup and bring a much needed boost of oxytocin (the happy hormone) you’ve been missing. Your tribe will be there for you with ice cream and Kleenex, and advice if you are willing to take it. Plus, your time spent with them could help you get you out of your room instead of sulking in your own room.

4. Switch up your routine

It is crucial to set new independent routines as part of the healing process. If your ex used to meet you for lunch on Fridays, have lunch with a co-worker instead. Usual routine after work is dinner at his place? Fret not! Pack your gym gear, grab your girlfriend and join a class after work (barre workout anyone?) to get some endorphins in. (Kickboxing would be a good outlet to release some pent up anger too, AND burn those cals).

Image: Camille Styles

5. Pamper yourself (As if you need a better excuse to do that)

You are exhausted from crying, you haven’t been sleeping well and your face is puffy and blotchy. It’s time to forgive yourself and show your body some TLC. Take a bath with some essential oils (e.g.: lavender, ylang ylang) which helps to calm the nerves and promote a good night’s sleep. Spend the night giving yourself a pedicure, while watching your favourite shows; moisturize your body with your favourite lotion, go through the entire Korean 10-step skincare routine (or not) and the list goes on. You do not need a complete makeover (think twice before you decide to hack your locks off) to have a sense of new identity, and refrain from permanent decisions like tattooing ‘Never love again’ on your forearm, bleeding heart and all. You only need to be kind to yourself.

6. Be well-groomed for work

Plucking a famous quote from Elizabeth Taylor (and adding a slight tweak to it) - ‘Put on some lipstick, pull yourself together, and hustle’. Showing up to work well groomed is an extremely effective way of starting the day right. When you look good, you feel good, the mood and intention is set for the day, and even if you aren’t feeling a 100% on the inside, the old adage — fake it ’til you make it — rings true.

Ultimately, don’t think too far ahead. You only have to get through this one day at a time. Put one foot in front of the other, don’t look back, and before you know it, you are smiling a little brighter, the sun is out and the birds are chirping again.


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