3 Ways to Be Kind to Yourself When You’re Going Through a Break-Up
It’s break-up season (among my friend group, at least) and chaotic feelings are in the air. In the past couple of weeks, lots of my close friends have been going through break-ups — me included.
There are so many of us, in fact, that we’ve planned a “hot girl dinner” party to celebrate / drink lots of champagne and sing to Y2K smash hits in the living room. There will probably be some tears, too.
It feels like the past few years have been filled with learning to let go. Letting go of life how we knew it, letting go of control over plans, letting go of our perfectly mapped out futures. And now, letting go of our relationships.
It’s tough enough to let go of someone you love, but especially when no one’s done anything wrong. It just wasn’t right for us, right now (I’ll go into the full story once I’ve had time to process, stay tuned).
The past couple of weeks have been tough; breaking up, moving out of the house we lived in together, grieving a life, a person and realising all the things you’re going to miss. But through it all, I’ve remembered how to be kind to myself. It’s something I’d forgotten about or had let slip, for a little while.
So, here are three things that I’ve done to be kind to myself during this break up. All three have been super beneficial for me and I hope they are for you, too.
Dress the F*ck Up
The process of putting together a cute outfit has got to be one of the most empowering activities. Because it’s not just picking the perfect shoes, trying different staple earrings or colour matching to perfection — it’s also the music you blast, the drink you swig while you’re dancing around the house, the TV show playing in the background… you get it.
But when I say dress up, really indulge in the whole experience. Spend time looking through your wardrobe for things you haven’t worn for a while, try something new, wear those shoes you always felt were too high… live a little*. Remember the ordeal that was getting ready for a high school party? Replicate that. But replace sugary mixed drinks with a marg or a glass of nice white wine. Call your real friends and get them to come do it with you. Maybe even paint your nails and do a face mask!?
*part of dressing up is going out, but it doesn’t have to be. You can get dressed up for fun and then if you’re not feeling like being social; stay home. But, if you’re an extrovert like me, go out with your fellow-fancy friends and eat delicious food. It cures (almost) everything.
Write Your Feelings Down
Break ups are overwhelming. You’re feeling so much but you’re so sick of talking about it. You’re also aware of talking about it too much. You don’t even know how you feel most days. It’s a messy blur of sadness, guilt, anger, grief, longing and constant questions just swirling around in your body.
I find that the best way to work through them is to write them down. That way, you don’t have to be self-conscious of how you’re feeling and what you’re saying — because the words are just for you.
My mum has always said that everything is “better out than in”, including your feelings, and I agree. Write down the mess. Cry while you do it. Drink something delicious — whether that be a yummy tea, a glass of wine or a freshly squeezed juice. Snuggle up on the couch in your comfiest clothes, light a candle and create a zen safe space for yourself. And just write.
The words don’t have to be pretty or even make sense, but trust me, getting them out is liberating.
Then, my personal advice would be to leave them alone once you’ve written them. Put them away somewhere for you to reflect upon when you’re ready. You might be impressed with your insights, or they might help you gain some closure in the future. But for now, just release and move forward.
Lean on Your Friends
That’s what they’re there for. Whether you want to go out, or want to be alone but need a delivery of chocolate and wine, or someone to cry to a lame romance film with and listen to you vent and ramble — lean on your friends.
In times of grief — because ultimately, that’s what a break up is — it’s important to let people in and allow them to support you. It’s okay to openly struggle and to want to overthink things. Your friends will help you overcome them. They’ll step in when you’re being hard on yourself and tell you that it’s okay and that you’re doing a good job and deserve the love you desire. And, when they tell those things; hear them. They’re right.