So it happened: You and a significant other have broken up, and you’re not getting back together (or so your friends say). Even though being a couple treated you well, now it’s time to celebrate singledom for the moment with all the things to do after a breakup—and truth be told, there’s plenty.
Whether you initiated the decision, were completely blindsided, or parted amicably, you need to put the past behind you and just get moving. Some people will say you need a little alone time, and while that’s true, you also need to be with family and friends. Getting over your relationship can be easier if you have a mini checklist of things to do after a breakup that you can rely on when you’re stuck in your pajamas on a Friday night with a pint of ice cream in hand. (Don’t worry—wallowing is number two on the list.) Sometimes we all just need a little guidance.
Below find 15 things to do post-breakup that will get you back on your feet in no time.
Get rid of your S.O.'s stuff
Give it back, donate it, or burn it. We don’t care how you dispose of it, but you’ll never move on if you’re stuck looking at that picture of you two from a friend’s wedding photo booth (even if your hair did look awesome).
Wallow (a bit)
Remember—we said just a bit. Some of us have the bad habit of sitting in our own misery for too long (after the second day of not showering, pick yourself up, and get on with life). What this wallowing process does allow you to do is start the grieving process. If you don’t stop and process your feelings, you’re going to be picking out bananas in the grocery store a few months later and find yourself sobbing about a bruised piece of fruit (it’s called a delayed response).
Belt it out
We suggest doing this in the privacy of your own home with the door shut. Or you can do a tantrum yoga class in which you’re encouraged to channel your youth. Hemalayaa, the founder of this yoga method, relies on screaming, as well as chest-pounding and laughing, to get rid of stress in her classes. “I believe we are emotional beings, and there are times we need to express in order to let go of emotion, especially old stuff that is sitting in there, festering,” she says.
I’m the one in my pack who has the ultimate pleasure of taking my newly single friends out for a night on the town. My remedy for helping them cope isn’t just about dancing or vodka sodas—although those don’t hurt—it’s about getting dressed up and getting back out there again. A fun, let-loose experience is a spark of hope that you’ve still got plenty of good days ahead of you and lets you know there’s more to life than Seamless and chilling.
Treat yourself to a facial
It may sound kind of absurd, but a facial helps you clean yourself, inside out. After having a particularly bad dating experience—let’s just say if I held my breath waiting for him to call, I’d still be holding it—I dragged myself to the spa to use a gift certificate. It ended up being cathartic, as the technician literally popped and squeezed every one of my pores. And yes, I will admit this without shame: It helped me shed a few necessary tears, too.
Find a workout class you like
You need to find a way to release some nervous energy, so why not get yourself into shape at the same time? We don’t suggest you get carried away with a post-breakup body, but exercising a few times a week will be a natural pick-me-up (it’s all those feel-good hormones).
Talk to a therapist
Yes, it will help talking to your friends, but after a while, they’re going to get sick of it. To be honest, there’s only so many times they want to hear about how if your partner had done “this” or “that,” things would have been different. Sometimes therapy is tough love, and when it is, that means you’ve got the right expert.
Take a solo adventure
You don’t need a full-on Eat, Pray, Love experience for this to be helpful. Chances are you’re not as comfortable as you used to be when it comes to alone time. So grab your favorite snacks, attend a movie solo, eat brunch, people-watch with a new novel in hand, or even go on a short getaway when you feel like you’re up for it.
Do something your partner hated
Was there an activity you didn’t get enough of while coupled up because your partner wasn’t fond of it? Maybe it’s indulging in sushi, window-shopping, or even napping. Go ahead and make up for lost time (it will make you feel like you’re spiting your ex).
Avoid making major beauty changes for a few weeks
Bangs? Big chop? Although beauty changes can help give you the boost you need to get over your breakup, you may want to wait a few weeks until you’re in a better headspace before you go through with anything too drastic. In the meantime, experiment with a new lipstick color or treat yourself to a manicure to lift your spirits.
Watch a sad movie
If you simply cannot have a cry à la Cameron Diaz in The Holiday, sometimes you need to watch a sappy flick. My go-to happens to be Stepmom, which always leaves me sobbing by the end.
Plan a dream vacation
You need something to look forward to, and what is better than a trip with your mom, your friends, or even yourself? Check into a relaxing spa, go adventuring in a rainforest, or explore the next up-and-coming travel destination. By putting something on your calendar, you have something to count down to.
Find a new hobby
You don’t want too much free time just like you don’t want to constantly be on the go. The thing is that you need something to channel your energy into. Always wanted to pick up dancing lessons? Go for it. Want to re-create some dishes you saw on MasterChef? Get chopping.
Write a letter to your ex
Just don’t send it. Some therapists say this is one of the best ways to get things off your chest and receive a sense of “closure” (although, really, is there such a thing?). It may be difficult to do, but it usually ends up feeling like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders once you’ve finished.
Take a nap
This probably sounds so boring considering all the things that probably gave you FOMO while being with your ex. But the thing is that your body needs rest in order to rejuvenate itself. Be kind to yourself and remember that it’ll get better.
Up next: the definition of unconditional love.