About a month ago, my dear Love and I parted ways.
A mature split it was, but pretty it wasn’t.
My eyes swollen from so many tears, snot covering the front of my T-shirt and his, we spent the last night together wrapped around each other, not wanting to let go, but knowing it was for the best.
In the days that followed, I ate many pounds of chocolate, watched countless hours of TV, drank several bottles of red wine, and cried…a lot. I cried as I held the sleeping baby I nanny, with Bob Marley playing in the background saying, “…every little thing is gonna be alright.” I cried as I texted my sisters about my break-up, and cried when they called to make sure I was ok.
Everything, it seemed, made me cry. My eyes have never been such puffy slits!
A few days ago, I had the opportunity to meet with a dear, wise friend of mine who offered up some advice:
“Brittney, you need to find some tools to help you through this!”
I knew she was right, and that my methods of dealing with heartbreak weren’t fixing anything, even if they did satisfy my desire to wallow in my sadness.
Once I set my mind to the task, and knew that I needed to move on with my “pity-party,” I came up with 5 tools for getting my head out of my ass:
1. Work out. I know it sounds like the worst idea when you’re sad, swollen eyed and several pounds heavier, but getting a sweat on will make you feel better. Plus, it will make you look better!
No one wants to accidentally run into their ex looking pudgy, and, let’s face it—now that you’re single, you gotta look hot!
Consistent workouts will remind you of how grateful you are for your strong and healthy body, and the knowledge and power that you are in control of how you feel. Chocolate cake feels good going in, but the physical results are not the best.
2. Try new things. This is a great time and opportunity to try something new. It will get your mind working in new ways and mix up your old routines. I felt that I needed to break out of my old habits to get away from doing things that I used to do with my honey.
I decided to combine this tool with the above—I started a new workout routine at a CrossFit gym in my neighborhood. I picked one of the hardest workouts I could think of, in a community that didn’t know me as, “Brittney, so and so’s girlfriend,” and found that, for that one hour class, my mind wasn’t focused on how broken my heart felt.
Instead, I was concerned with the copious amounts of sweat dripping down my face, and forcing myself to remain upright after a devastating workout without puking up my breakfast (and trying to impress the CrossFit instructors at the same time).
3. Meet new people. I have to regularly force myself to do this one, because being social is such an effort when you’re feeling down. The last thing I want to do when I’m sad is change out of my sweat pants, take a shower and put on something other than sweat pants.
Expand your social circle and find that new community which doesn’t include your ex. If you’ve started something new, this will be a bit easier to accomplish.
In my case, I took it a step further and created a Match.com account. I realized that if I only met new people at the gym, the chances of me repeating my old, “start new sport, date hunky guy in sport, quit sport, dump guy, rinse and repeat” method wasn’t going to give me any different results than I had in the past.
Ps—It turns out that just because you are “matched” with someone on Match.com, does not guarantee a fun time or a good date. I guess I should have read the fine print. There have been several times when I had to use the old, “…Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry, I just realized I have to… go…do a…thing!”.
4. Gratitude Journal. It’s tough to feel grateful when you’ve been crushed, but doing the daily discipline of writing down three reminders of how lucky you are, will really lift your spirits. You don’t have to be super creative (mine have been simple, like “I am grateful for my morning coffee, my chapstick, my healthy body”), but it truly makes me feel better and it only takes about 30 seconds. With such a minimal time commitment, there is rarely an excuse that flies for not using this tool.
I am grateful everyday for all the love and experiences I got to have in my relationship, and the knowledge that whatever happens in the future, we will always have so much love for each other.
5. ‘Awesomeness’ Reminders. Make a list of all the things that rock about you! Choose to write this as “egotistically” as you like. It was such a great experiment for me to see that, yes, I am good enough! My list read something like this:
“I am Kind, Beautiful, Great smile, I am awesome at my job, I have a hot new hair-do, my body is rockin’ (now that I’ve started working out again—and by the way, my butt looks fantastic in my new jeans), Awesome family, True friendship, and did I mention how good my butt looks?!?”
I look at my list every morning, or whenever I need a reminder during my day of all the ways in which I am perfect. Add things to the list as the days go by!
I have not perfected my tool bag yet, but I will keep working with the ones I have found.
The more I do, the better I feel, so I think I’m on the right track.
And…when I do run into my ex, I know that my body will be rockin’, my hair will look just right, my heart is full of love, and that I am enough.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Emily Bartran/Editor: Rachel Nussbaum
Photo: Courtesy of Flickr/Orangeya