By Sara Utsugi
Walking with you through week one of a breakup. We're going to get through this together.
Find the podcast version of this article here!
The first week following a breakup is a delicate time. Everything is still fresh. You’re probably still in shock. Maybe anger hasn’t set in yet. I get it. I’ve been there, and I’m so sorry you have to be there too. While delicate and a little scary too, the week following a breakup is a special window of time when you’re allowed to be sad, rely on others and save the brave face for later. It’s a time to mourn a loss, but although you’re sad, life has to continue and pages have to turn. Taking it day by day, let’s walk through the week following your breakup taking steps to soothe your pain, encourage your healing and nurture your broken heart.
Allow yourself to feel.
Feel sad, mad, hurt, empty, betrayed, lost, confused. Feel it all and don’t hold back. Now isn’t the time to put on a brave face. It’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to lie down and cry. It’s all okay.
Talk to yourself in the mirror.
I know this sounds silly, but a little pep talk from yourself never hurt anyone. The day my boyfriend broke up with me, I looked in the mirror and said, “Okay Sara, your new beginning starts here. It’s going to hurt. You’re going to cry. But you’re also going to be okay. Here we go. I love you. No matter what, I love you.” Try saying something like this to yourself. No matter how silly it feels, it’s good to speak your heart, thus speaking healing into action.
Just don’t. Please don’t. Stop it. Don’t. Okay? Don’t.
Journal. Journal. Journal.
It’s like therapy on a college budget. Write down everything. If you can dump all your thoughts onto a piece of paper, sometimes the dots will begin to align. If not, at least your head will be a bit clearer, not to mention the fact that it’s extremely empowering to look back months later and see how far you’ve come since the split.
Enjoy some me time.
There’s nothing like a bit of pampering that gets you feeling like the beautiful goddess you are. Light a candle. Put on a face mask, and soak in the tub. Read a book. Paint your nails. Beautify your outside, and soon your inside will begin to glow again.
Open up to friends.
They want to be your support system, so don’t push them away or close yourself out. Allow yourself to express everything you’ve been feeling internally, and don’t hold back. A true friend will sit, listen, cry, laugh and eat ice cream with you even if it only makes you feel a little better.
Buy a new pair of shoes.
You know those hot red pumps you’ve wanted for years? Get them. I bought a pair of 5” wedges, and they made me feel hot. There’s nothing wrong with that. Whether it’s a pair of heels or a new dress, get what gives you the confidence boost you need.
We hear it all the time...“Treat yo self!”
So why not actually do it? There’s nothing wrong with taking yourself on a date because in the end, you’re getting to know yourself again. If there’s anyone you treat, it should be yourself.
Accept every invitation
A good way to ensure you don’t turn into a hermit. You’re probably not ready to meet someone else, but it never hurts to flirt with a cute guy. Even if it’s just a night out with the girls or a Target run with friends, go!
Find a balance between sweatpants and mini skirts.
I guess this would be the counter to “Accept every invitation.” If going out becomes overwhelming and you just need some time to be sad, take the day off for yourself. However, once you catch your breath, don’t forget to keep moving.
It’s okay to listen to sad music, but don’t forget the happy songs too.
While it’s tempting to be doom and gloom, don’t forget that this is about healing. It’s about discovering your best self--learning to love the amazing person you are! Like I said earlier, yes, feel the hurt, but don’t get stuck there. Things only get better from here.
Find your rock.
At at time like this when everything is changing and even our own emotions are uncontrollable, it’s important to find something or someone to be constant and secure. Maybe this means revisiting religion. Maybe this means scheduling weekly phone calls with mom. Maybe it means finding a therapist or counselor. Whatever it is, find something that can be consistent and steady in your storm.
Set goals and look forward.
It’s tempting to replay scenes of your relationship in your head, but it’s vital that you continue looking forward. Set and work toward goals, whether they’re career, fitness, relationship or even religious goals, have something you’re working towards to keep your eyes on the prize. You have to keep looking ahead.
Remember that you’re going to be okay.
And never ever let go of that.
And just like that, you've made it through week one. Breaking up is a long and windy road full of hills, valleys and everything in between. In the weeks to come, there will be tears and meltdowns and anger and hurt, but also joy and laughter and new memories made. The most important thing to hold onto during a breakup is the fact that despite how badly it might hurt right now, it always gets better. I promise. As always, I'm wishing you the best from behind the screen.