Divorce. Separation. Breakups. The worst.
The division of a life once shared is always difficult but all the more painful when you’ve been cohabitating. Few things feel more depressing and stark than having a once-thriving relationship come down to the cold division of stuff.
In case you can’t already tell, I’m quite passionate about this topic. Because I’ve been there. (A few times!) And while there aren’t shortcuts through the pain or magical trite statements that can alleviate the pain, there is still a way forward through the dark.
I landed in my parents’ basement immediately following my divorce but it didn’t take long for me to set about finding a new space. As much as it was wonderful to be around my parents just then, I needed to find a space that was mine.
Surprisingly, creating my home and sanctuary became a hugely important part of the rebuilding and healing process for me. Every tiny little decision about furniture placement or paint colors became an affirmation of the new me. Who was I now? What was still important to me and what could I now discard? How could I better express this new self?
It all began in my physical surroundings but looking back I can see clearly see how the same process also happened to my interior world (…eventually).
So if you’ve found yourself in a time of heartache and loss, I’d first love to give you a long virtual hug and pour you a nice cup of hot tea. (You deserve it.)
But after you take a break, it’s time to take some positive action. When you’re feeling ready, take a look at my list of five essential steps you can take towards surviving and thriving after a breakup:
Surviving And Thriving After A Breakup: 6 Essential Tips
Essential Breakup Tip #1:
Ditch The Old Stuff
Your ex has left the emotional picture. Now it’s time to for them to leave the physical picture too. That means ditching all of their stuff (if it’s still around) as well as any of that that “couple stuff”: mementos, photos, wedding paraphernalia (ugh!), the whole lot.
If your ex has left a lot of stuff behind, speed up the process by putting it all in boxes, for them to retrieve later.
As for the shared stuff that’s ended up in your possession, if you can’t summon the courage to dumpster the whole lot, at the very least box it all up and stash it far far away. You don’t want to be looking at happy couple photos while you’re trying to mend a broken heart. Out of sight is always the best choice.
Essential Breakup Tip #2:
Move (or Fake It)
Moving into a fresh new space is usually an exciting time. But if you’re doing it because you just broke up with someone, it’s not going to feel as joyous as usual. Instead, it might feel like an extra burden on our already existing stress. So remember: simply getting yourself through the process is a hugely positive step. Concentrate on doing what you need to do! Hire movers or enlist friends and family to help you out. Just focus on getting it finished and don’t drag out the process. Once you’re safely settled into your new home you will begin to feel grounded again.
But what if you are the one who is staying behind? You can still create some mental distance by fakinga move. Pack up all your things (except the essentials) into boxes for a few weeks. Then allow yourself to slowly unpack, evaluating each item as you go. Don't blindly put everything back where it was before! The point is to achieve something new, energetically and design-wise. Try rearranging your furniture, maybe even switching entire rooms around. Reclaim each and every inch of your space just for you.
Essential Breakup Tip #3:
Make your own physical comfort is a top priority during this stressful time. Think about what you can do to make yourself feel cozy and loved. Physical comforts are especially important during the grieving process. Think heated blankets, new luxury bubble bath or lots of fluffy new pillows for the bed. One of the best post-breakup feelings is the new ability to starfish into a cozy comfy bed every night! something like a new plush mattress pad would make this experience all that much better
Essential Breakup Tip #4:
Reassess Your Design Style
While there can be great pleasure in mixing our design aesthetic with our partners, I would argue that reclaiming your own style again post-breakup is its own form of liberation! But perhaps it’s been a while and you’re not sure what “your” style is anymore. Pop open Pinterest or some design magazines and notice what your soul is saying yes to right now. (It’s that’s a big ol’ YES feeling that encompasses your whole body.)
I found myself leaning towards a surprisingly girlie aesthetic post-divorce. I suddenly wanted furry pillows, framed vintage doll clothing and pink polka dot bedroom curtains. (My style has changed a lot since then however! But it was a fun phase.)
Similarly, your style has probably changed since the last time you were living alone. Embrace this opportunity to get in touch with your true preferences and to reconnect with your authentic self. Just be sure to expect a few surprises along the way!
Essential Breakup Tip #5:
Shopping as therapy? In this case, yes! There will undoubtedly be some “holes” left in the physical goods category. (eg. Why did your ex take the pizza cutter when he never even cooks??) It’s close to impossible to keep an exact tally of things that stayed and those that were claimed by our ex. So as you slowly start to notice what’s missing, be sure to write it all down! (It’s too confusing of a process not to trust to the written word.)
After you’ve made sure your pantry is fully re-stocked and you have all the household basics on hand, consider replacing some of your non-essential items. Again, think new fresh energy. For example, maybe you’ll be inspired to buy yourself new bedding — or a whole new bed! — plus a boatload of saucy new underwear for good measure.
Essential Breakup Guide Tip #6:
Have A Cleansing
There’s no better time than now to whip out your sage wand or palo santo. So I know you Spiritual Rebel Babe-types have probably been saging yourself often through the entire breakup experience already.
But just in case you’re not familiar with the concept: energy cleansing should be an essential part of your spiritual self-care. It simply removes any old lingering negative energy in your person or space and creates a clean and blank space for you.
Anytime you are moving into a new home you will want to have do some energy cleansin. This is an especially important step if you are staying in the home you shared with your ex-partner! You don’t want to be sitting in their energy all day if you’re trying to get over them. So clear out all that old stagnant (or angry) energy to make a lot more room for you.
Each of these steps helped me out a lot through my turbulent times and I hope they also help you. But please don’t try to rush yourself through the process; this list is intended only to inspire not to add yet more stress in this already-crazy time. The most important step of all during this time is to love on yourself. Accept where you’re at, how you’re feeling and tap into your needs and you’ll be back to feeling “normal” very soon.