Even if your break-up has happened because you were wronged, hurt or cheated on, as devastated as you probably feel, there is always, ALWAYS something that you can learn. There are always ways you can grow. There are ways you can become a better person most importantly for you - and eventually when the time comes, for your next relationship. Here are a few ideas.
1) Help someone else. In the depths of despair, an amazing way to shift the focus is to help someone else. Donate to charity, call a friend and ask how they're getting along with that thing they're struggling with, smile at someone, give them a compliment. Doesn't have to be big. It will make you feel better and gets you out of your own head even for a few minutes.
2) Read. Educate yourself on something completely new. Even if the book isn't your cup of tea, you will still learn something.
3) Exercise. Exercise is one of the best things you can do to lift your mood and improve your health. Try not to make it a one hit wonder and schedule in some form of exercise every day for the next week. Do it week by week.
4) Be mindful of how you speak to others. You're probably feeling sad, tired, distressed and maybe even a bit hopeless right now. But make an effort to be nice. Be kind, listen and be gracious. Think about the words you use, they mean a lot.
5) Commit to not gossiping or bitching.
6) Be selfish. This time is also about taking care of you, so do something for yourself that is way beyond what you would normally do. Buy yourself something fancy, go for a pamper day, take a day trip to Paris. Watch something terrible on Netflix all day. Whatever you can feasibly do that you would usually make excuses to not do, do it.
7) Become curious and interested. (This will also make people curious and interested in you.)
8) Learn a new skill. Set yourself a goal that in 6 months with this skill, you want to be able to ...……………..
9) Drink a green juice every day. (Yawn.) Yes I know, totally boring and I'm cringing a bit writing it, but I'm not joking when I say it will change how you feel - and within a couple of days. Even if it's chucking in some spinach, celery, broccoli and apple. You only need to keep it basic to notice a big change.
10) Write down 10 ideas for absolutely anything every day. (Except ways to get revenge on your ex, that probably won't help!) I can't take credit for this one - James Altucher is the brains behind it but it's an amazing way to get your brain ticking again.
11) Learn to be grateful. Make a gratitude list every day and note down 5 things.
12) Set your standards. Break-ups provide massive opportunity to think about what we will and won't accept in the future. Not just with partners but with other people too. Do you notice patterns whereby you seem to always come off worse? Set your standards and commit to living by them. If you constantly seem to attract the wrong sort of people, there is something you can do about that. It's not bad luck. If you don't know what your standards are yet then spend time working them out.
13) We all have flaws. Think about something you know you need to work on and how you can make a start.
14) But don't give yourself a hard time either. Whatever you are feeling right now is ok.
15) Don't live your life through your social media feed. Learn to enjoy what's real and out there right now. Social media is fantastic, I love it don't get me wrong, but when the shit has totally hit the fan, it can be a real hindrance and we forgot half of what we see is through a fancy filter.
16) Get out of your music rut. Listen to something new.
17) Let go, have fun, be spontaneous.
18) Care about people - but don't care so much about what others think if this is something that has held you back. People are too concerned with their own lives to be too worrying about your choices. They really are. (Aside from possibly your mum but you have to let her off ;))
19) Place more importance on your sleep and more so, the quality of it.
20) Learn and get inspired by other people. Particularly ones who have overcome troubles or adversity if you're really struggling at the moment. I recommend TED talks on YouTube and I also listen to podcasts every day whilst I'm travelling or working. I love it - I learn something new every day. This really helped me during my break-up.
21) Sort out or define your image. Could it do with a shake-up or a wardrobe clear out? What kind of first impression do you want to make?
22) Read this.
23) Spend as much time around people who make you feel good and who you make feel good too.
24) Work out what you can do about any jealously you feel or insecurities you have. Where is that coming from and what does it reveal about what you really want for yourself?
25) Speak to yourself as you would speak to a friend. If you're having a hard time with feelings of rejection and thinking you're not good enough read this and this.
26) Find small ways to address how you are feeling physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. If the word 'spiritual' makes you wince, just substitute it for something that makes you feel more comfortable. Basically what I mean is those non-material things. I won't go too woo-woo on you but how can you feel more at peace and content with what you have right now and what can you do to amp that up.
I hope you find those useful. There are always ways you can become (an even!) better person after a break-up so take the opportunity that it offers you.
Exciting news! I'm also holding a free workshop in London on Tuesday May 19th called 'Move On, Feel Good, Date Better' which will look at moving on from past relationships, creating a life that fulfils you and makes you happy and tips and advice on getting back on the dating scene. It will be held from 7.30pm - 9pm, is free to attend and there are limited places so get your names down! I'm really looking forward to this and will be creating more in-depth workshops following it.
You can get your tickets here: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/move-on-feel-good-date-better-tickets-16842818323?aff=estw. I really hope to see you there :)