A girlfriend of mine recently exited a relationship, and trying to think of how to make her feel better got me thinking about my last break-up. Before I met my fiancé, I dated someone for nearly five years and I think if I hadn’t taken the time to be single long enough to be happy on my own after we broke up, I never would have been ready to meet the person I want to share my life with. So, this is for my friend and all my sisters crashing at Heartbreak Hotel… Here’s what helped me feel ready to be half of a couple again
1. Stop worrying about your next relationship!
Focus on the one with yourself. You DO NOT need a guy or girl to give you a happily ever after.
2. Take yourself on your dream date or a dream trip.
Fly solo, or go dutch with a friend. . . It will be even better because there’s no pressure, just fun!
3. Go on a date with someone you normally would never.
When you only date your “type,” you miss out on awesome people. If I hadn’t said yes to the guy wearing shorts with sandals and knee socks, I wouldn’t be engaged to my best friend.
4. Take a “happiness inventory” of your life.
Make a list of the last 10 things/experiences/accomplishments/people (not counting your ex) that made you truly happy and fulfilled. Pick one and find a way to incorporate or re-create that in the present.
5. Channel your spirit animal.
My friend’s is a pit bull because they are sweet, cuddly, loyal and unafraid to stand up for themselves; mine is Goldie Hawn because who doesn’t want to be like Goldie Hawn?
6. Learn something new.
Sign up for a calligraphy course. Enroll in French classes Start a book club. Teach yourself how to knit. Take a cake decorating class. Doing something you simply get a kick out of is part of the secret to self-fulfillment.
7. Wear sunscreen, drink water, eat your fruit & veggies and get enough sleep.
This is just life advice, really, and my mom stands behind it.
8. Write love notes to yourself on Post-Its and put them around your apartment.
Preferably in your newly acquired calligraphy penmanship. If anyone notices, say the guy you met in French class wrote them.
9. Change your scenery.
Paint a room hot pink. Buy girly things you love. Frame the poster of Josh Hartnett that used to hang above your bed in high school and put it on your wall. Because when you do get hooked up with someone, they will probably not want to live with these. Enjoy them now.
10. Meet new real, live human beings.
Try a hiking group. Take your dog (or borrow a friend’s) and go to a dog park. (*Tindering from your sofa while you watch re-runs of The Hills with a tube of cookie dough in your hand doesn’t count.)
11. Purge sadness from your life.
That sweatshirt you can’t wear because it reminds you of your ex? Donate it to Goodwill. All the love letters he wrote you? Burn ‘em in the fireplace and make s’mores. (Life hack: Simply eating s’mores will also purge unrelated sadness.)
12. Host a dinner party.
Ten favorite meals ever? Create a menu from that list. Ten favorite songs ever? Crank up the music and dance!
13. Every day do something nice for yourself, nice for someone else and nice for the world.
All those days will add up and you will be healed and ready for your next relationship!