Hey babes. My relationship of three and a half years ended yesterday. It’s okay, everything’s cool, I’m alright with it and actually kind of relieved – but let’s be honest; even the most amicable of break-ups can be tough to deal with. Here, for me as much as for you, are 50 suggestions for post-breakup self-care and processing. Take what works for you and leave the rest.
1. Gather up everything that reminds you of your ex, stuff it in a garbage bag, and either put it someplace where you won’t see it or just throw it away.
2. Get yourself dolled up. Makeup, cute clothes, moustache grooming, whatever works for you.
3. Take a long, hot bath. Bonus points for Epsom salts, bath bombs, scented candles, and/or soft music.
4. Search the break-up tag on 8Tracks and listen to some sympathetic mixes.
5. Choose a movie you’ve never seen from Bill Hader’s list of his favorite comedies, find it and watch it. (Lots of them are available on Netflix.)
6. Get lost in a good book. (Some recommendations from me to you: the Harry Potter series, the Divergent series, O: The Intimate History of the Orgasm, Under the Dome, After Hamelin, Hello Cruel World.)
7. Work on a creative project, new or old. Blog, collage, choreograph, write, draw, paint, etc.
8. Cuddle a sweet and understanding person, pet, or stuffed animal.
9. Beat up your pillow.
10. Play a video game. (I like Animal Crossing games during emotional times because they don’t require much brain power and you can’t die in them, so they’re not stressful.)
11. Make a list of things you can do now that you’re single that you couldn’t do while in your relationship. Re-read it any time you feel sad. (Some highlights from my list: post naked pictures of myself online, go off hormonal birth control, make out with cute near-strangers at parties.)
12. Write in a journal about what happened and how you feel about it. (If you don’t like physical journals, try 750 Words or Day One or a blog platform that allows for private entries.)
13. Call up a friend. Talk to them. Make plans.
14. Do some beauty treatments: face mask, deep conditioner, pedicure, etc.
15. Go to the store, pick out your favorite chocolate bar or ice cream, take it home, eat it slowly.
16. Do a Netflix marathon of your favorite funny show.
17. Do a massive purge of unnecessary stuff/clutter in your room or home.
18. Delete your ex from all social media platforms and your phone’s contact list.
19. Make a list of qualities you hope your next partner possesses. Visualize that person and let the idea of them lift you up.
20. Get yourself a new sex toy (or dig out an old faithful). Masturbate your heart out.
21. Get a spa treatment – a massage, mani-pedi, facial, etc.
22. Exercise, even if you initially don’t want to. It’ll help, I promise.
23. Meditate. Sit comfortably, breathe deeply and slowly, focus on your breath, let all thoughts float by. Do a YouTube search for “guided meditation” if you find it hard to clear your mind completely (and don’t we all?).
24. Put your headphones on, turn on some music that makes you happy, and go for a long walk.
25. Take a nap.
26. Let yourself cry. It’s okay.
27. Go through old e-mails or letters and find a really flattering, cheerifying one. Read it. Print it out and pin it up if you want.
28. If you’ve got ‘em, read old journals from a previous break-up you went through. They’ll remind you that everything gets better eventually.
29. Buy a corkboard, pins, and a few magazines. Cut out any pictures that make you smile and pin them up where you’ll see them often.
30. Write “This too shall pass” on a part of your body. Glance at it often.
31. Treat yourself to a cheap cosmetic pick-me-up, like a new lipstick, rollerball perfume, or nail polish.
32. Flirt with someone, just to remind yourself that you can still feel those feelings.
33. Repopulate your sexual fantasies.
34. Ask a friend to remind you of the good reasons for the break-up any time they catch you moping about it.
35. Drink wine. In moderation. If you can.
36. Make a list of all your best qualities and look at it if you ever start to feel valueless or unattractive. (Ask friends or family for suggestions if you’re having trouble coming up with things.)
37. Do something you used to find comforting when you were a kid, like eating Kraft Dinner while watching The Simpsons, or curling up under a hand-knit blanket while reading the Gossip Girl novels, or whatever.
38. If you have any jewelry or other tokens from people who love you (not your ex), wear it to give you strength. Periodically glance at it as a way of reminding yourself that you’re loved.
39. Stretch, slowly and gently, for a good few minutes.
40. If you’re really not feeling up to going out and seeing people, call and cancel some of your commitments. It’s okay to take time for yourself.
41. Reorganize your workspace, or another space you spend a lot of time in, so it’s more beautiful and simple and makes more sense and feels more calming to you.
42. Take a friend to a location that was significant for you and your ex and make new memories there.
43. Drink a hot beverage, slowly and thoughtfully. (I like what Leo Babauta has to say about tea rituals.)
44. Rediscover a hobby, activity, or aspect of your personality that you set aside to appease your (now ex-)partner. See who you can be without them.
45. Discover some new music by searching tags of your choice on Bandcamp, 8Tracks or Last.FM. (Some chill recommendations from my own music library: Sucré, Josh Garrels, Robot Science, My Brightest Diamond.)
46. Take some cute (or not-so-cute, whatever) selfies. If you want, use an app like FaceTune to beef up their attractiveness quotient. Post them somewhere public if you feel like it.
47. Decide what you’re going to focus your time and energy on, now that you have more of both to spare. Pick stuff that matters and is important to you. (Volunteering? Art? School? Working on your novel? Becoming a more spiritual person? Losing 30 pounds? Traveling?)
48. Get real with yourself about any destructive habits you have when you mourn and try to pre-empt them. If you don’t eat enough when you’re sad, get some foods that you love, so you will eat. If you tend toward any kind of self-harm, put a mental health professional or crisis line or nearby friend on speed-dial. If you tend to withdraw, tell a friend to boss you into hanging out with them even if you say no. Do what you gotta do.
49. Do something you know you’re really good at, even if it’s kind of a dumb or useless thing, to help restore your confidence in yourself.
50. Give yourself a hug. Be gentle with yourself. It’s gonna be okay.
What are some things that have helped you through break-ups?