With the holidays coming up, one of the worst things that can happen is a breakup. One of my best friends recently broke up with his on-again, off-again girlfriend. I listened as he poured out his emotions day after day. They ranged from angry, bashing, to sappy remembrance. They took about as long to end things as Kourtney and Scott did (with just as much drama, might I add). Being on either side of a breakup is hard, but it's important to maintain some perspective through all your moping and self-pitying. While the circumstances of every breakup are different, many of us exhibit the same symptoms: not knowing how to cheer ourselves up, worrying that we'll burden friends with breakup talk, and suddenly finding ourselves with a lot of free time but zero attention span. If you’re familiar with Ross’ 5 Stages of Grief, all of this is normal.
So based on extensive research — that is, getting dumped and talking to friends who have been dumped, mixed in with my graduate studies — I've compiled a list of things to do in the weeks and months after a breakup. A huge problem people make is trying to get over breakups too quickly or the methods they use to heal. Some self- medicate with alcohol, while some believe that the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else. This is bad advice and in no way a healthy way to heal or cope, especially if the relationship was significant. If you're looking for a challenge, turn this list into a day-by-day challenge, and I guarantee you'll feel a little better by the 30th day. Of course you won't entirely feel put back together — these things take time — but they are steps in the right direction!
1. Itemise why you think the relationship ended. Make sure to not focus on what they did wrong, but also how you contributed to the demise.
2. Write an angry letter to your ex, and then rip it up.
3. Block your ex on social media. It might sting at first, but you can’t get over someone you’re constantly seeing (especially if they’re taking it much better than you, or they’ve moved on). In this case, what you don’t know, can’t hurt you.
4. Make a break-up playlist. Adele and Sam Smith are perfect choices when mending a broken heart.
5. Be a little cliché and eat some ice cream out of the tub, but don’t eat it alone. Call over a friend and share the calories.
6. Have a do-nothing day. Don’t shower, answer your phone or do anything productive. Binge on your favourite TV show or Netflix. You need your down time.
7. Make a feel-good playlist that has nothing to do with romance whatsoever.
8. Tell people what you need from them. Your friends and family can’t help you heal if you don’t tell them how you’re feeling or what you need to feel better.
9. Have a lunch date with your best friend at your favourite spot.
10. Exercise and eat well. There’s no need to neglect your body now that it’s over. You’ve gotta get back out there and you need to look your best when you’re ready.
11. Get rid of your ex's things that you're still holding on to.
12. Pray. I know that not everyone is Christian or religious, but if you are, you understand the healing power of prayer. Get yourself into a calm clear-headed space and ask God for guidance on your next course of action.
13. Do something you've never done before — this could be as simple as eating at a new restaurant or trying out a new hiking trail.
14. Dine by yourself. Even if it’s just lunch in McDonalds, embrace your new singlehood.
15. Remind yourself to laugh. It’s not that serious. Seriously.
16. Go shopping. Don’t spend outside of your budget, but treat yourself to some new wardrobe or a new book. Anything you’ve been eyeing for a while. Little rewards are good for motivation and self-esteem.
17. Rearrange some of your furniture. Give yourself a little change!
18. Do something for someone else today! Volunteer or pay it forward.
19. Stop talking about your ex. By now, you should’ve gotten everything out of your system. Dwelling on the breakup will never bring you peace and happiness. Focus on your new life from this point on.
20. Start reading an empowering book to learn how to do that!
21. Get a little crazy tonight with your friends and post a fun picture on Instagram.
22. Start planning your future again. Now that it’s over it may feel like everything you planned is over too, but it’s not. Sit down and write out you’d like to be and what you’d like to have accomplished two years from now. You may find that your plan only needs a little bit of tweaking.
23. Do something fun that your ex never wanted to do.
24. Take an online course. The workload is a great ‘distraction’ while giving you an opportunity to gain or perfect your skills.
25. Perfect your craft. Use this time to pour yourself in your work (especially if it’s on the creative side) and create beauty from your pain.
26. Sign up for something that would require you interacting with other people and stick to it.
27. Introduce yourself to someone new. Don’t go into it with the goal of starting a relationship. Just learn to communicate again.
28. Flirt a little. Don’t throw yourself at anyone, but don’t necessarily turn down anyone’s advances. Lunch and coffee is fine, but don’t go any further than that.
29. Write a letter to your ex, forgiving them for how everything went down. Then rip it up.
30. Now that you’re a little more clear-headed, make a list of everything you'd want to be different in your next relationship, and don't forget it!
Feel free to repeat steps as needed and don’t feel like you’ve failed if you don’t complete it in 30 days. Everyone heals differently so when you’re ready, you’ll know!