Breakups are hands down the worst. On an emotional level, when you’re heartbroken, you feel like you’re never going to be happy again. On a practical level, you might lose friends, furniture, or even your apartment. The turmoil after a breakup feels like being tossed around in a tiny boat in a sea of emotions, heartbreak, and annoying logistical problems.
While a broken heart often feels like it will last forever, I’m here from the future to tell you that it won’t. And one way that you can help speed up the heart-healing process is by making some life upgrades that will not only help you feel better but will also give you something other than feeling miserable to focus on — like yourself.
“It's really important that after a breakup you become your own best friend,” Antonia Hall, MA, psychologist, relationship expert and the award-winning author of The Ultimate Guide to a Multi-Orgasmic Life, tells Bustle. “We're all doing the best we can in life, and it's imperative that you advocate for your own best interest, which begins with the messages you're telling yourself. Know that you deserve the best, and that begins with treating yourself the way you deserve to be treated.“
This list of 11 life upgrades to make when you’re getting over a breakup is by no means exhaustive, but really just a jumping off point. Read it, think about it, try a couple, and then gift yourself the time and attention of thinking about what would work best for you.
1Get A Haircut
Sure it's a cliché, but the breakup haircut is a very real thing. Nothing says “I’m over it!” like a fresh ‘do, whether it’s lopping of a few inches or going for a new color. It’s also a relatively quick, relatively cheap, potentially drastic way to take control and make a major change during a time when it can feel like everything is out of your control.
2Try Out A New Exercise Routine
Now before you even go there, I’m not talking about a “revenge body,” whatever that even means. I’m talking about exercise’s ability to boost endorphins and make us feel good. Always been curious about yoga? Ready to finally try SoulCycle, after years of your best friend raving about it? Think you should probably know WTF pilates actually is? Now’s the time.
3Take A Class (Or Five)
After a breakup is a great time to learn a new skill, so do a little searching around on Google or Facebook (or go old school and just like, ask people you know) and see what classes are offered in your area. Learn how to do dope shibori dying. Take up Thai cooking. Start finally speaking Spanish properly. You get the idea.
Even better? Find a recurring class, so you have somewhere to be every week. Then you’re doing yourself the double good of not only learning a new skill but also forging new social bonds.
4Set A Personal Challenge
This one is hella vague on purpose and, honestly, can include pretty much anything else on this list, but I wanted to highlight it on its own. Setting a personal goal is a great way to keep you focused on something other than your heartbreak. Think about an area in your life that you’d like to improve and set yourself a goal. But remember: Start small. Trying to do ALL THE THINGS ALL THE TIME is a great way to burnout and fail to do any of the things. Incremental growth leads to long-term change.
5Commit To Talking To Old Friends Once A Week
A lot of people find that when they’re in a romantic relationship, they neglect their other relationships. Platonic friends tend to fall by the wayside when you’re deep in love with someone new and it can be hard to get back in the rhythm with them even after you’ve gotten into a rhythm with your significant other. So one great way to upgrade your life after a breakup is to reach out to those old friends — and keep reaching out. Schedule calls. Have friend dates. They’ll be glad to hear from you.
6Buy A New Mattress
Or a new bed set, if the price of a new mattress is out of reach for you. Point being: Treat yourself to something new for your bedroom. Chances are you have a lot of memories associated with your current bedding (or your ex got it all in the split), so a breakup is a great time to upgrade your bedroom game.
7Throw A Dinner Party
Or a series of dinner parties. The goal of this upgrade is fill your home with love, laughter, and awesome people during a time when you probably need a little extra of all of the above. If you’re going for a series, consider a theme like “famous artists” or “around the world in five meals” or even “emojis.” Because, why not? The point is to eat good food and have fun.
8Have A Sexual Adventure
Sex advice columnist Dan Savage is fond of saying that the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else. You may or may not find that to be the case, but remember: A sexual adventure doesn’t have to involve anyone else if you don’t want to. Treat yourself to a really nice sex toy. Explore a new type of porn. Or, if you are into the “get under someone else” model, make sure you do so safely. Reconnecting with your sexuality is a great way to move forward and learn something new about yourself post-breakup.
9Foster Or Adopt An Animal
I’m not suggesting going out and adopting the first pup you see, of course. If you’re going to adopt an animal, please remember that it’s a commitment for that animal’s entire life. But getting a furry friend is an awesome way to give and receive love after a breakup. And fostering is an awesome way to do it without that long-term commitment I was talking about.
Giving back by volunteering your time or services not only helps your community, it also makes you feel good and is a great way to meet new people and forge awesome social connections. And on those days when all you want to do is lie on the couch and feel sorry for yourself, being beholden to other people can be a great motivator to get up and get going.
11Make A New Budget
Finally, a breakup is a great opportunity to take control of your finances. Whether you shared finances with your ex or you just have some goals you’ve been putting off, sit down, take a look at your income and the amount going out, and come up with some new financial goals. Maybe you want to save for a new bed. Or a trip. Or whatever. Point is, it’s all you now, boo.
Breakups are hard. Breakups hurt. Breakups have to be taken one day at a time. (Dammit, there I go with the clichés again!) But breakups are also an amazing opportunity to make some life changes that aren’t about your ex. So, go. Do it. This time is for you.