When it comes to a breakup, there’s no handbook, there’s no guide, and there’s no set of answers that act like a magic wand with a cure for a broken heart.
Whether your breakup meant losing a partner of 2 years, 10 years, a legal separation, or a divorce with a custody battle, or anything in between, there’s a few things in common – hurt and heartache and the question, “Will this ever hurt less?”. Eventually; it’s going to take time, being proactive, and giving yourself permission to feel, heal, and grow. They say humans are like plants with complicated emotions – this is true; you need to find sunshine, drink water, and give yourself TLC.
Do you know the top things you owe yourself right now? Time to heal. Time to find yourself. Time to give yourself the power and the right to move on, move forward, and move toward creating a new life. Because, even plants sometimes get uprooted and have to find a new home…
Even amongst the pain and the chaos, there are some things you can do to empower, love, and celebrate yourself; yes, even during such a difficult time of grief and loss. Because, after all, whether you’ve been cheated on or are the one to end a relationship, it’s never easy to walk away from a future you once saw yourself having with a partner that was most likely your best friend and partner-in-life. And, I know it sounds so fucking cliche, and you’re going to want to punch me through whatever glowing screen you’re reading this on, but everything (okay, I’ll meet you halfway) MOST things happen for a reason. I know you most likely do not see or feel that deep in your heart yet, but you will. Have faith (and this doesn’t mean the religious kind, necessarily; have general faith that YOU’VE GOT THIS). Because, you do. Even if it doesn’t feel like you can even put one foot in front of the other right now…you will.
While there are a few obvious coping mechanisms that can help mend a broken heart, like friends buying you flowers, eating your favorite pint of Ben & Jerry’s, listening to sad songs on repeat, having a couple margaritas, going to yoga, or making yourself go walk in the sunshine to be around nature and fresh air, there are other things that may take a little more effort, but are well worth the reward: long-term healing.
What’s one thing no one tells you enough during a breakup or divorce? To LOVE ON YOURSELF NON-STOP throughout the whole process, otherwise, in the blink of an eye, your mental health and well-being will absolutely fall apart.
No one reminds you enough that you need to remember your self-worth, your value, and that you need to always try to find joy (even from the smallest things) amongst the pain; to try and find peace amongst the chaos – even when it feels absolutely impossible. And, some days, it will be impossible to hold your head up high or even hold it together, and that is okay. Feel the deep feelings, cry a big cry, sleep until noon, stay in your PJs for a weekend and don’t shave your legs for two weeks or wash your hair for 5 days…eat your favorite comfort foods, order pizza, and hide under the covers. BUT, don’t get in the habit of doing those things for too long. Remember, your mental health needs you to learn coping mechanisms. Don’t hide from yourself and the life you deserve to have; one person does not take that away from you, and neither does a failed relationship.
Healing is painful, change is scary, and growth is hard – and so is a breakup or divorce. SO, my friend Alexandra of The Splendid Path, formally known as Divorce Before 30, and I are bringing you 10 Ways to Find Healing Post-Breakup Or Divorce. You’ll find my 5 must-dos here, and her 5 here.
When it comes to giving yourself a little TLC during a time of grief, here are my top 5 must-dos:
- Go to therapy
- Gain financial stability
- Remove shared items
- Exercise and eat nourishing foods
- Pick up a new hobby, or get back into an old one
1. GO TO THERAPY
When a relationship or a marriage ends, you will most likely experience small or big feelings of grief, fear, anxiety, depression, loss, and more. Seeing a licensed therapist can help sort out your emotions that are probably all over the place. They can help give you back a sense of pride and confidence you may have lost before, during, or after a relationship and a breakup. Professional advice goes further than advice from your besties, because, they are a neutral party who want you to get better; they want to help you, and they want to make a plan for you to live your best life, through ways that have been studied and proven effective via research and scientific data. Do your friends want you to be happy and move on, too? Of course. But they can’t give you professional advice in a safe place where you can openly communicate all your thoughts and feelings with zero bias like a licensed therapist can.
Finding the right therapist is like trying samples at Costco; you’ll most likely hate a couple, find a couple that are just lukewarm, and love one. Don’t be afraid to go to the therapist buffet until you find someone who’s a good fit for you and your situation. For example, if you’re struggling with anxiety and depression, it can be helpful to find a LMFT (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist) who also specializes in CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) to help you with your relationship issues on top of getting to the root of where your anxiety and depression are stemming from / focus on a plan for you to move forward and feel better. You deserve to feel better. You will feel better. Trust the process, and know that having a therapist does NOT make you weak; it’s one of the strongest things you can do – to take care of yourself from the inside out.
2. GAIN FINANCIAL STABILITY
After a breakup, it can be a reality check to lose your co-dependency to a partner, emotionally AND financially. Used to splitting meal costs when you eat out or pick up groceries? Now it’s all you and your one-person income and paychecks. Used to splitting rent or the mortgage? Time to speak to a financial advisor about your options moving forwad. In debt? Let’s figure out how to pay it off; remember to baby steps; it’s the turtle that wins the race against the hare.
Were you a stay-at-home mom who’s partner brought home the bacon? It’s time to figure out how you’re going to stay afloat. CHANGE IS FUCKING SCARY. But, if you’re willing to make sacrifices, you CAN gain financial freedom again. Whether it’s refinancing a loan for a lower interest rate, making a plan to pay off your credit card, picking up a second job to keep your house or your car, it won’t be easy, but you.can.do.it. Start by scheduling a meeting with a financial advisor, and don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and family you trust to get their recommendations. Also, think of small ways that add up…can you sell clothes you no longer wear? Are you creative? If so, can you sell things on Etsy? Can you pick up freelance work or ask for a promotion at work? If you’re a stay-at-home-mom, look into child care or affordable pre-school options so you can re-enter the workplace. Can your family help out at all? Explore the best options for you and your new situation; don’t be afraid to ask for help.
3. REMOVE SHARED ITEMS
Marie Kondo the shit out of your house, now. This one is so important for your mental health and moving forward. Remember that Dave Matthews concert you went to together in college? Take the picture out of a frame and put it in a lockbox under your bed (or throw it away). That couch you both spent countless hours watching Netflix on? Sell it and get a new one. That stuffed animal he won you at a carnival? Burn it. Okay, maybe that was excessive…donate it to a children’s hospital. Those sheets you both curled up in the last couple years you had sex on 23498 times or ate breakfast in bed on? Or made babies in? GET THEM THE FUCK OUT OF YOUR HOUSE.
All of this may sound really negative and weird, but, I mean, do you want to sit around your house crying over all the things you see that remind you of all the memories you shared? Maybe for the first few weeks, but then it’s time to get empowered rather than sad and take your life back, sweet girl. Remember, we are focusing on moving on. Moving forward. Moving upward and onward. For YOU. Oh, I know how hard and painful this is, especially the mere thought of even getting rid of special relics; that’s why, you can always start by hiding things in a closet, your garage, storage unit, or under your bed.
When my ex-husband moved out, I took down all our wedding photos and put them under my bed after the first week; I was already crying myself to sleep without seeing our photos on the walls, so I took every.single.one. down. I cried, a lot. But it was oddly therapeutic to have things out of sight (even though they weren’t out of mind at this point). I saged the shit out of my house, I hung new photos up, I decorated it with all the bachelorette decor and colors and scents that I wanted. What did I do next? I put in a notice for my son and I to move out of the house we shared and move into a new rental house on the complete other side of town; my home was now just a house, and when I got rid of all our shared items, I closed an old chapter of my life and let the universe know I was ready to begin healing, and that was up to me to initiate. After all, during a breakup, the only one who can heal your broken heart is you (and time).
4. FIND WELLNESS: EXERCISE, JOURNAL AND EAT NOURISHING FOODS
Raise your hand and repeat after me: I solemnly swear to EAT during my breakup, even when I have zero appetite. And, if I don’t feel like eating actual food that requires both chewing and swallowing, I will make a protein shake or buy Ensure so I don’t whither away. I will promise to treat myself with love, which comes from nourishing foods, nature, and movement. I will try a workout class that’s intimidated me in the past. I will get zen AF in a local yoga studio I walk by on the weekends. I will go to my neighborhood farmer’s market and buy something to make a new recipe. I will treat myself to a mani/pedi and a massage. I will call a friend to go on a walk, a bike ride, skiing, or on an adventure with me to get the F out of my house. And I will tell friends if I am not okay and I will ask for help so I am not alone during this difficult time.
Did you do that? Did you read that aloud? Good, I’m proud of you. Now, repeat it: I solemnly swear to EAT during my breakup, even when I have zero appetite. And, if I don’t feel like eating actual food that requires both chewing and swallowing, I will make a protein shake or buy Ensure so I don’t whither away. I will promise to treat myself with love, which comes from nourishing foods, nature, and movement. I will try a workout class that’s intimidated me in the past. I will get zen AF in a local yoga studio I walk by on the weekends. I will go to my neighborhood farmer’s market and buy something to make a new recipe. I will treat myself to a mani/pedi and a massage. I will call a friend to go on a walk, a bike ride, skiing, or on an adventure with me to get the F out of my house. And I will tell friends if I am not okay and I will ask for help so I am not alone during this difficult time.
I need you to remember your worth and treat your body like the glowing goddess you are. A breakup will make you feel everything but beautiful, so I also want you to repeat this out loud AND write it down; I also want you to write yourself a mantra every.single.day and fill your mirror with sticky notes full of self-love (check out the #iamcollab hashtag on Instagram). Okay, back to your mantra; read this out loud:
I am stronger than how I feel in this moment in time where I feel so weak.
I am tired, so I will rest.
I am beautiful; I have a body I will respect and cherish.
I will get through this, even on the days I feel completely broken.
Because, I AM NOT BROKEN. I AM NOT FLAWED. This is temporary. I WILL HEAL.
I am worthy and have SO much to offer the world.
I am more than the doubt that sometimes goes through my head.
I am a good person filled with kindness.
I will give myself so much grace right now.
I AM NOT FLAWED. I AM NOT BROKEN. This is temporary. I WILL HEAL.
THERE ARE BETTER DAYS AHEAD.
5. PICK UP A NEW HOBBY, OR GET BACK INTO AN OLD ONE
Let your soul shine, you babe. There’s no time like the present, and I KNOW since you’re going through a breakup, you have time….yep, you do. All those moments you’re going to spend stalking your ex’s social media? Put your phone down right meow and allot that time to something productive, something fun, something creative; something for you…something other than trying to join a Law and Order investigative squad. You are not in the CIA, the FBI, or a private investigator, so give your fingers and your soul a break and find a positive outlet. Do you know what you gain when you stalk social media? ANXIETY. SELF-DOUBT. ANGER. DEPRESSION. YOU DO NOT DESERVE THAT and you are going through enough heartache; don’t search for another dagger.
Your mental health deserves a break. You deserve peace. You deserve healing. And, your life deserves to have something in it that you look forward to. Have you always wanted to learn how to play the guitar? Always wanted to take voice lessons? Dreamed of learning calligraphy or how to paint in watercolors? Always wanted to join a yoga studio or spin studio? Adopt a dog? There’s no time like the present, sweet thing. Getting back into an old hobby you put aside for a relationship, or starting something you’ve always dreamt about, is like sunshine to the body and spirit; vitamin D for the sou. No one deserves something bright in their life more than you do right now in this exact phase of life and in this present moment; chase those dreams, and make new ones.
I know this time is hard. I know this phase makes you feel broken inside. I know this time makes you feel insecure – about yourself, your past, and the future you envisioned. That’s why you deserve to find yourself again. Those 5 things above will help you do that, I promise, BUT you have to commit to them. Healing doesn’t happen overnight, and neither does success. You can only fail and stay stuck in one place when you’re not actively trying to move on. Lean on your friends, cry, fall down, and get back up; over and over again. And when you feel like you can’t do that yourself? Grab onto something to lift you up (NOT someone); put yourself first right now, be selfish, love yourself, and before you know it, you’ll see that one door closes so others can open. You probably won’t see that tomorrow, next week, or even a month from now, but you will.
YOU ARE STRONG. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE SUCH INCREDIBLE OPPORTUNITIES COME TO YOU. FIGHT FOR YOURSELF, YOUR WELL-BEING, AND REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE WORTHY OF HAPPINESS. Let yourself find it again. Let yourself heal.
Want to learn 5 more things that can help you heal and move forward post breakup? Head over to my friend Alexandra at The Splendid Path and read her 5 tips here at thespendidpath.com.
Want a sneak peek at what she has to say? Here are the things she’ll be chatting about:
- Take the trip you always dreamed about
- Plan a boudoir photoshoot
- Do an overhaul on your wardrobe
- Makeover your space
- Cut out any toxic people in your life
- Commit to “dating” yourself once a week
Cheers to the strong women who go through tough times; they are the ones who have stories to tell and will change the world. One day at a time, sweet girl. One day at a time. You are an incredible human being and this chapter of life is being written so you can enter your sequel.