Shoebox Therapy: Healing After a Break Up
When a relationship ends, the pain can seem unbearable. The thought of moving on in life without the person you may have considered your best friend, or the person you thought would be in your life forever, is unfathomable. These break ups don’t even have to be from romantic relationships; friend break ups can be just as tough. Everyone has their own ways of dealing with a break up, including blocking them on all social media, exercising, learning from the loss, treating yourself, etc., but not everyone has heard of the Shoebox Method.
When I began volunteering with Crisis Text Line, one of my fellow counselors shared information with me about shoebox “therapy.” Shoebox therapy is a great way to deal with the stress and pain of a break up. There are two methods that can help you heal from a broken heart. You can use one method, or a combination of the two.
Method One: Write It Out
The first method of shoebox therapy involves a lot of writing. It says that every night before bed, write a letter to your ex-significant other. Write about how you feel, how they hurt you, what is bothering you that day, anything you think would help you. There is no right or wrong way to write this letter, and there is no length that this letter should be. You decide it all. Every day for thirty days, write this letter before you go to bed and put it in a shoebox. After the thirty days, bury the shoe box, throw it away, destroy it. Get rid of it in a way that will work for you. This method helps you get over the break up because it allows you to write about how you feel, that can help release the pain that your break up caused.
Method Two: Memory Box
The second method of shoebox therapy involves collecting things. Create a box that holds memories of your ex-significant other. This can be anything that reminds you of your ex. Pictures, articles of their clothing they left with you, something that reminds you of them, etc. Give yourself fifteen minutes every day to look through the contents of the box. Allow yourself to feel whatever emotions come up. Allow yourself to cry, become angry, and feel. This may be a good time to get out a notebook and try Method One. After you’ve allowed yourself time to look through this box, put it away, dry your tears, maybe do some mindfulness exercises to get your emotions back to normal, and move on with your day. Let yourself enjoy the rest of the day. Give yourself as much time as you need, then, just like in method one, get rid of the box. This method helps you allow yourself to feel, however, it sets aside time so that you are not holding on to these emotions all day.
Remember that it’s okay to feel after a relationship ends. You are human, and your feelings are valid. No one expects you to bounce back right away, so take the time you need to heal. Break ups are tough, but you can get through this.