Stage 1: Denial
- "Stay" by Rihanna ft Mikky Ekko
- "Someone Else" by Miley Cyrus
- "Tremble" by Nicole Millar
- "The Garden" by Mirah
- "Breezeblocks" by alt-J
- "Denial" by The Vaccines
- "Haunted (Acoustic)" by Taylor Swift
What to do when you're in denial:
- Make and get rid of an "ex box." Gather everything your ex gave you or that you got together or that reminds you too much of them and take it to a donation center. Keeping that stuff around will only make it harder to accept that they're gone, and it'll only serve to make you sadder during the depression stage.
- Start thinking about your future without your ex. Instead of dwelling on what you'll be missing, imagine new possibilities and opportunities presenting themselves.
- Whenever you catch yourself saying, "I can't believe...", remind yourself that it's true. Be open to accepting reality as it is: this will make the recovery process quicker and easier.
- Take at least 45 days off from talking to your ex. Hide them on social media, ask your friends not to talk to you about them, and delete their texts from your phone. That whole "but we can be friends!" thing can work, but only after time. It is essential that you take time off from the relationship before you even think about rebuilding it as a friendship.
Stage 2: Anger
- "My Song 5" by Haim
- "FU" by Miley Cyrus and French Montana
- "Back to Black" by Amy Winehouse
- "Hang Me Up To Dry" by Cold War Kids
- "Take It All Away" by Cake
What to do when you're angry:
- Gently avoid your ex. I know people say you're not supposed to go out of your way to avoid seeing an ex, but if seeing them is going to put you in a worse mood or trigger you to blow up at them, it's completely fine to avoid. Eventually you'll be able to see them in passing, even if it's a little awkward.
- Go out. Put on your hottest outfit, get ready with Nicki Minaj on, and meet your friends for dinner or dancing. Acting on your desire for revenge in a passive and harmless way, by looking your best and flirting with someone new, will bring you a sense of relief. Plus, going out is a great way to distract yourself from unwanted emotions.
- Practice calming exercises. Do deep breathing (I recommend breathing in for 5 seconds and breathing out or 7), drink some decaf tea, meditate, color, etc.
Stage 3: Bargaining/guilt
- "Wrecking Ball" by Miley Cyrus
- "Back In Your Head" by Tegan and Sara
- "Man" by the bird and the bee
- "Mercy" by Duffy
What to do when you're bargaining or feeling guilty:
- Examine the relationship rationally. Would your ex really have stayed if you'd cooked them dinner more or complained less? Or were there deeper, more complex issues that caused the breakup? Even if the breakup was caused by something shallow, do you really want to be with someone who won't take your bad with your good features? Remind yourself that no one is perfect, that no one can expect you to be perfect, and that your less-than-desirable traits do not define or destroy you.
- Forgive yourself. You may not have done your best, but you can do better next time. Forgive yourself for anything you keep telling yourself you did wrong: it's in the past, what's done is done, and what's important is that you move on instead of dwelling on what could have been.
- Own up to what's making you feel guilty in a safe space. Tell a friend what's been on your mind. Chances are, you'll receive the validation you need that you're not a bad person.
Stage 4: Sadness
- "Drive" by Miley Cyrus
- "Stay High (Habits Remix)" by Tove Lo
- "Never Ending" by Rihanna
- "I Get So Scared" by Miley Cyrus
- "Summertime Sadness" by Lana Del Rey
- "Landfill" by Daughter
- "I Gave You All" by Mumford & Sons
What to do when you're sad:
- Keep a list of all the positive or meaningful things that happen throughout the day. They can be as simple as noticing the beauty of a garden you walk by every day or as monumental as receiving a promotion at work. Remind yourself that, even in sadness, good things can and will continue to occur.
- Stimulate your 5 senses. Light a nice-smelling candle, eat some ice cream, snuggle up in a soft blanket, listen to your favorite music, or watch cute dog videos.
- Do something you love. Don't put pressure on yourself to immediately feel better in the process of completing the activity, but rather let this be an opportunity for you to dote on yourself.
- Give yourself space to be sad. Your emotions are valid and an important part of being human. Losing a relationship is never easy, and it makes complete sense to be sad in light of a breakup. Lean on the people in your life for support and give yourself permission to do what you need to get through this hard period of your life. Just make sure that by making way for sadness you're not fueling or encouraging it.
- Do the opposite of what you feel like doing. If you feel like curling up in bed, put on an upbeat song and dance around your room. If you haven't felt like eating all day, eat a PB&J. Resisting and even defying your sadness urges is incredibly difficult, but it really does help.
Stage 5: Acceptance
- "Going On" by Gnarls Barkley
- "Elastic Heart" by Sia
- "Nineteen" by Tegan and Sara
- "Kissing You Goodbye" by The Pierces
- "Love Myself" by Hailee Steinfeld
What to do when you've accepted the breakup:
- Just keep moving on. Keep your heart open to new loves and new losses. Find fulfillment in your life without your ex. Immerse yourself in your career. Start a new hobby. Travel. Don't look back.