Few things in life are more painful than the end of a relationship, whether it’s a marriage of 20 years or a romance of just a few months. There are no hard and fast rules for getting over it: your psyche needs time to mourn what you’ve lost and heal.

That takes more time for some people than for others. In some ways, a broken heart never truly heals. But with time and a liberal amount of self-evaluation, you will recover.

Be There For Yourself

It’s easy to beat yourself up after your heart has been broken—to berate yourself for your naiveté, chide yourself for perceived mistakes or worry that you’ll never be happy again. Don’t allow yourself to fall into that trap. It’s natural to feel sad: you’ve lost something that meant a great deal to you, and you need to allow those emotions to come out. But neither should you succumb to negative thoughts or beliefs about your future. Work on identifying unrealistic negative thoughts or times when you’re beating yourself up for no go reason. When you spot these thoughts or moments, try shifting to a more positive mode of thinking: find something to feel optimistic about and look to the future, not the past.

No Contact

If you’ve been hurt, you need to stop the pain before you can properly heal. Every relationship leaves artifacts, from pictures to knickknacks to little items that symbolized your love. Get rid of them. Box them up and hide them somewhere where you won’t be tempted to look at them: the garage, the basement or a self-storage facility. Hide your ex’s contact info, or get rid of it if you feel you can. Don’t respond to phone calls or email, and don’t give into the temptation to contact him or her. Doing so only keeps the wound from closing.

Look for Opportunities

While you shouldn’t think about another relationship until you are fully healed, you can look upon this time as a chance to explore new sides of yourself. Take up a new hobby: something you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t. Learn to paint, keep a journal or engage in something you love like gardening or video games. Many experts recommend a regular exercise program. Not only does it keep you healthy and maintain high energy levels, but it helps take your mind off the stress of a lost relationship. Go home for awhile: spend a few nights in your old room at your parents’ house and get in touch with the child you once were. The more at peace you are with yourself as yourself, the more readily your broken heart will heal.