Words by Rae Witte. Art by Sam Liacos.
Following a break up, in the midst of asking yourself questions that you might never get honest answers to, you have to make a conscious decision to bounce the fuck back. Ideally, you’ll do it and be better than ever before. Now I know that in your saddest, lowest moments this may not seem feasible, but no matter how cliche it is, “This too shall pass” applies. Now is the time to invest in yourself and move on, and unlike our parents, we have the internet to document every step of our flourish–or us faking it until we make it.
I’m not discounting anyone’s feelings or broken heart, we’re just going to discuss how to channel that energy into something worthwhile: you. It’s natural and OK to be sad, hurt, or angry, but feeling that way or taking steps to feeling better don’t have to be mutually exclusive. You can quite literally do both until you have shifted to your best self. I’m sure Lala Anthony was not completely over her seven-year marriage to NBA player Carmelo Anthony when she posted a couple of fire photos, but she definitely appeared to be taking steps in the right direction. Similarly, in addition to looking absolutely stellar at the first event she’d run into her ex The Weeknd and his new girl Selena Gomez, Bella Hadid continued on her path to “It”-girldom following her break up. She started with walking in the Victoria Secret show Abel performed at and skipped Coachella for sky-diving. Seemingly, she’s doing what’s best for her without letting it publicly bury her.
Personally, when I find myself in challenging times, I break down what I need, want to accomplish, or change into compartmentalized topics. So, that’s what we’re going to do here. Here’s how to tackle bettering your mental, physical, professional, and emotional state while selfieing-through the entire thing and killing your post-relationship glow up.
If there were ever a time when idle hands and a wifi connection could really make or break a day or 10, it’s now. As so many of us spend ungodly amounts of time in front of a screen for work and play, it’s a great point to make time to disconnect. I find myself writing down everything, from questions I have that I’m confident will go unanswered, goals I want accomplish, things that have changed, or even little bitchy comments that I need to get out, but will go unsent for eternity. DJ Kitty Cash laments, “Journal is literally my everything. For those moments that you are tired of being strong, I cry through my words in my journal.”
Similarly, content strategist at the podcast app Bumpers (and writer of her own ‘zines), Lina Abascal says logging off not only keeps her from lurking or accidentally coming across any unwanted updates, but putting things in writing helps her, too. “I have a physical whiteboard in my room that reminds me who I am and what I want and how no one can take that away from me or get me to change that,” Abascal says.
As I mentioned above, breaking things down into pieces helps. Entrepreneur, Erin Yogasundram is doing small things to challenge and better herself for short periods of time each day. “I’m spending a lot of my time learning. I’m also considering going back to school. I spend 10 minutes learning Spanish on Duolingo daily and ten minutes on an app called Py to learn coding. I’m taking a course on negotiation from the University of Pennsylvania called Coursera,” she says. Ten minutes a day on small tasks makes a routine, offers a small box to check off for an accomplishment, and each thing is working towards a bigger end goal: a new skill.
Something I frequently joke about is how the best diet I’ve ever gone on is heartbreak. Whether it’s funny or not, it’s reality. Only for those relationships that really meant something does it happen, but filling every second of free time also includes a lot of extra trips to the gym.
“I literally transform into a brand new bitch. It’s not even on purpose or premeditated,” Cash shares. “It’s a feeling of a renewal, and a lot of times I express it physically with my hair; I either get a new color or new cut and feel drop dead gorgeous.”
Yogasundram says she took up Soulcycle for the first time, “When I got out of my last relationship, it helped my mind and body tremendously. It is very difficult but I kept pushing myself to complete the class and not embarrass myself. (I cried the first three times.) My body felt great, and my mind felt even better.”
The routine of it really helps Abascal, too, who opts for Friday night workouts. “Having a physical and mental schedule helps me a lot. For example, every single Friday I go to the same 7:30 p.m. [Monster’s Cycle] spin class and then get Sweet Green, take the train (not an Uber) home, shower, and stay in. This has done wonders for my mind, body, wallet, and health.”
Whether it’s the typical–albeit confidence-boosting–new haircut or color or new fit body, a little refresh is great for helping you get back on the road to feeling like yourself, and a little change can always bring some additional attention to things that you’re feeling good about. Get on your Lala and drop those selfies.
When I’m feeling down, for whatever reason, I turn to things that make me feel good: working out and making money. I fill every single free second of time with something that feels productive, so this usually bodes well for my work. “You were investing so much time in what you were building and then all of that allocated time gets freed up to focus on you,” Cash adds.
Abascal finds respite in her side projects like her ‘zine and an all-women reading series. “This has given me stuff to do, a way to meet new people, and deadlines that force me to be productive. It’s harder to hate yourself when you’re producing work that brings you and others joy, while also helping other people.”
Probably the most difficult aspect of bouncing back is finally getting to a place where the pain in your chest subsides. Wanting to be “whole” or minimally feel better needs to be a very deliberate thing. “I have learned to forgive myself and be more understanding,” Yogasundram says.
Abascal points to “being honest with myself and with others,” while Cash recognizes her heart and spirit are the most fragile; chakra sessions and meditation do wonders for Cash.
Something new I tried recently was to take all the good memories I had with with someone and not allow them to be tainted by the thought of us or him. I didn’t avoid that bar we had good times at or the topics we talked about or the restaurants we went to. I made new memories with people that seem like they’ll be in my life longer. Sure, it was a little difficult at first, but that’s why it’s key to make memories with who will be around (no matter what) and for yourself. You don’t have to let go things that are important or enjoyable to you just because the person that made it that way chose to not longer be around.
You feeling yourself yet?