I was really pleased with the response to my breakup post, so I decided that, although it is a bit frightening to “put myself out there” and discuss my personal life, I’m going to do it every once in a while.
As that famous quote from somewhere I can’t remember says, “If you’re not scared, you’re probably not doing it right.”
I’ve mentioned a few times that I can’t believe just how quickly I began to feel better and more like myself once I arrived in Omaha post-breakup. It took about a week, but one day I realized that I’m actually very content right now. There are a few things up in the air, including my job and where I plan to live in Omaha (thanks for the temporary home mom and dad), which make me feel uneasy and unsettled at times. However, I genuinely feel good about myself and the decisions that I’ve made since arriving home.
Realistically, the worse days probably aren’t behind me yet. I’m sure they’ll be some rough days every now and then. But, in the meantime, I’m just going to try to enjoy the ride!
Let’s be honest: breakups suck. But, they happen all the time. Every day. All day. In fact, there’s probably about a million people breaking up right now as you read this post. Yet, knowing that “you’re not alone” really doesn’t help ease the pain does it? Your pain feels uniquely horrible and you cannot possibly imagine anyone feeling as bad as you do.
I get it. I’ve been there.
So, for any of you that are going through a painful breakup right now, I wanted to provide a few things that helped me through the bumpy times.
1. Live a Little. Indulge.
At the end of the day, I knew my relationship was bad for me. I knew that it was turning me into a person that I wasn’t proud to be. So, when it was REALLY over, I felt extremely liberated! It took me about 24 hours to pick myself up. I was on my way to meet a friend for a mani/pedi (definitely the right time to pamper myself), and I realized I was ravenous. I didn’t have much time, but I hadn’t exactly had much of an appetite for the past few weeks, and I knew I needed to eat.
It was then that I spotted that familiar Golden Arch – the forbidden fruit, a place I had not entered nor drove thru since the late 90’s. I thought to myself, “Screw it. Might as well pack back on those breakup pounds starting now.” And, let me tell you, those first few bites of that quarter pounder felt like the best hamburger that I’ve ever eaten in my life. Don’t even get me started on those greasy french fries. Seriously, do they put crack in those things?
(Yes, I Instagrammed my McDonalds. It was a big moment.)
At the end of the day, I’m a very healthy eater, and I rarely eat junk food. My body doesn’t crave it, and perhaps it’s because I’ve conditioned myself that way. However, in that moment, I felt very “free” and somehow that cheeseburger and fries served as a symbol of this newfound freedom.
I’m not advising you to go crazy and down an entire large pizza by yourself post-breakup, but give yourself permission to indulge a little, however that may be. Perhaps you love margaritas, but you rarely drink them because of the sugar content. Go ahead, go to town! (just don’t drink too much…hangovers post-breakup are the worst). Have a wine and cheese night with your best friends, and don’t hold back on that cheese! Just focus on indulging in things that make you happy.
2. Get to the gym…and Try Something New
Admittedly, I’ve never had trouble with motivating myself to go to the gym.
In the great words of Elle Woods, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.”
But seriously, exercising has always made me feel better about myself, and that’s usually all of the motivation that I need to get out that door and into the gym.
For those of you that do have a little trouble, resort to those exercise mantras. My favorite is “I’ve never regretted a workout,” but you should definitely reference this post to find more!
(Source: Puppy Picture)
Now, when you do get to the gym, my advice is to challenge yourself with something new!
I mentioned on Wednesday how I went to my first yoga class in a long time. Why do I avoid yoga? It is simply because I’m legitimately horrible at it. My body is so inflexible that even the basic downward dog is an obstacle. Yet, I felt so refreshed when I left the class, and not because I was in a Zen-like yoga state. In fact, my body hurt even more than it does after a 15 miler. I felt refreshed because I had ignored my insecurities about looking like a fool in yoga class, and I made it through a very tough class.
I’m excited to try yoga again, although this time I hope I’ll have a chance to explain to the teacher my flexibility limitations at the beginning of class! So, if you’ve never tried a kickboxing class, now is the time to give it a shot. Stand in the back of the room, and don’t be shy about asking for help! Remember, even though you think everyone is watching you, in reality, everyone is just focusing on making it through their own workout. Looking to finally run that half marathon? Join a running club – many local gyms offer them. Does your gym have a rock climbing wall? Give it a shot. That’s next on my list!
Just keep on moving and congratulate yourself for those small victories!
3. Educate Yourself About Breakups
This is slightly embarrassing to admit, but Google has become my BFF since my breakup. In fact, if I shared the keywords I Googled in the immediate aftermath of the breakup, you might just fall down on the ground laughing…at me, not with me.
Anyway, the point is, I found a lot of useful blogs and websites through my searches. In addition, I came across some very helpful books.
No, this isn’t a joke. I stumbled across this book online, and after reading the first passage, I found it slightly applicable, but more importantly very entertaining. I bought it online, and it promptly informed me that it would be downloading to my second iPad…the iPad he had won “custody” of during the breakup. Ooooops. I quickly tried to fix the error, but I’m fairly certain it might have been too late.
As cliché as some of these books may be, you may find them very helpful when it seems like no one wants to listen to you whine anymore/you think no one understands you. The book I shared above is similar to He’s Just not that Into You but five times funnier. I highly recommend it. I also enjoyed reading The Breakup Bible (a bit more serious, but useful) and Steve Harvey’s infamous Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. And finally, I’m still making my way through What Was I Thinking, a compilation of hilarious stories from smart women like you and me who saw all the ridiculous red flags…but hung around for the crazy ride anyway. It’s a page turner, trust me. At the very least you’ll realize that eventually you will be able to laugh about this whole fiasco someday.
And don’t worry, nobody is reading over your shoulder. You don’t have to shield your iPad the way you did when you were reading 50 Shades of Grey.
4. Surround yourself by Good People
I know. I know. You think they must be sick of hearing it by now. You’re probably right.
However, at the end of the day, your close family and friends love you, and when s*** hits the fan, they’ll be happy to help you pick up the pieces. In the great words of Dionne Warwick, “That’s what friends are for…”
I definitely pushed the limits with making the same mistakes over and over again, but my friends and family proved to me once again that they are the most patient people in the entire world. After my breakup, I promptly drove to Michelle, who had literally just moved into her house…that night. She and her incredibly understanding husband actually convinced me that they wanted a new houseguest in their first home…for a week and a half. Then, there was the time I got in the car accident and called her husband in hysterics while he was at work. Good times.
Let’s not forget about Molly, who decided a 3 hour road trip was “no big deal” so that she could ship the rest of my belongings from my former home to Omaha.
Once I finally made it home to Omaha, between the flu and the breakup, I was pretty much unable to smile or hold a normal conversation for a week, but my parents gave me the space I needed while constantly reminding me that they were still there. They even did things like this, which totally unleashed the buckets of tears.
I can’t even recount the number of times I sat at Emily’s house unable to hold a conversation that wasn’t 90% depressing and cried in Becca’s basement, as her husband somehow found subjects to discuss that would make me laugh.
And, I just have to mention, Jamie’s heartfelt Valentine, shipped all the way from Arizona.
Then, like magic, I woke up at 6 am one day, turned on my Pandora country station, began loudly singing to the music and realized that I felt pretty damn good! Just being surrounded by these positive people helped me turn a corner pretty quickly! How can a girl not smile when her best friend’s 1-year-old daughter does baby yoga?
I’m very lucky that I had the opportunity to come home, especially because I’ve wanted to move back for quite some time. However, if you’re not as fortunate, just find the closest friend nearby and give him/her a call. If you have the time and ability, go ahead and take that trip home. Space and some good friends might be all that you need. And, don’t feel guilty…you’ll get them back some day!
5. Be a Better Friend, Daughter, Sister, etc.
In one of the many breakup blogs that I read, one of the wise writers discussed how she focused on being better to her loved ones after her breakup. The advice really resonated with me.
Let’s be honest – when you’re going through a tough breakup, you may become a bit, shall we say, self-absorbed. As you fall deeper and deeper into the abyss of a crappy relationship, you become unable to focus on important things, like work, let alone the people who are most important to you in the world. No matter how hard you try, every conversation is about the latest insignificant detail of your rapidly deteriorating relationship.
It happens to the best of us.
For me, this was a hard pill to swallow. One of the things that makes me special is that I am a uniquely thoughtful person. Whether it’s a heartfelt gift for my parents’ 40th anniversary or the cupcakes that I bake/buy for my friends, no matter what the occasion, I am constantly trying to think of ways to make my friends and family feel loved when they need it the most.
Let’s just say, I haven’t exactly been the greatest friend, daughter, sister, etc. this the past, oh 6 months.
No time like the present to change that! Over the past few weeks, I’ve definitely been focusing on getting back to the sweet, thoughtful Sometimes Healthy girl that these people know and (usually) love. Now, I’m not saying you should do nice things for others just to feel better about yourselves, but as a bonus, when you immerse yourself in doing kind things for others, you just sort of magically begin to feel better about yourself as a person.
You probably owe your loved ones a lot for these past few months anyway, so instead of focusing on your own misfortunes, try to think about how to make their days better. Trust me, if will do wonders for your own happiness!
I think that’s more than enough advice for the day, so I’m going to turn it over to you. Tell me: What’s one thing you did to help you get over a bad breakup?