How many times have you heard it said that it is better to have a stable period of being single after you break up with someone?
It’s like people out there expect you to be excited about that precious time when you are meant to “find yourself” again after your world has just collapsed in a heap at your feet right?
People who have been through this coveted “me time” seem to really sing its praises, they want to tell you all about how it made them a stronger person and how it gave them new perspective and belief in themselves.
And when you are in the world crumbling at your feet stage you could throttle these people, because your heart is breaking, your world has changed forever and life stinks right now.
I was on the verge of having to " find myself" in 2013 and it was awful, life was a total shit show!
I wasn’t excited at all, I wasn’t dying to find parts of myself that I had never met before. I was lonely, single and felt like the biggest loser in the world loser games, I was in my eyes a gold medal winner!
Time passed… and more time passed, weeks spread out into months and I just got about the business of living. Nothing fancy, the mundane stuff really, bills, cat vomit, laundry, you know, just me being single doing stuff.
Without knowing it at the time I started investing in me, mainly because there was no one else to do it. Through sheer boredom and the fact that I am an order loving, list adoring organised Taurus I started to make a routine. Silly things really, bath night Wednesday, Veggie Taco Tuesday, and Sunshine Walk Saturday.
You can see where I am going with this right?
I was accidentally making a habit of self-care, my quirky personality and boredom pushed me to thrive, quite accidentally. But the amazing thing was that it worked.
I had gifted myself a chance to thrive by doing the following;
Having a time and space to grieve
Most of this happened in the bath for me. The actual sobbing from the very bottom of your toes until you have no more crying left. My top tip for feeling like you have a stuck sadness that you cant get to budge is to invite it in.
This sounds silly but when I knew I needed a healthy cry, I used to watch a sad movie or play a sad song. Without fail the tears would start flowing and that energy of sadness and emotion would float to the top. Give it a try the next time you feel that a healing cry is what you need.
Creating a routine
Lets face it when a relationship ends you just don’t know what to do with yourself. Everything feels odd and it’s like wearing your shoes on the wrong feet and trying to still walk like you normally do, it just feels all-wrong.
This is where Taco Tuesday saved me! It gave me a sense of something coming up, some sense of routine to fill the void.
This is especially important if you have had to share children, as I did. The empty house nights were unbearably hard to begin with, but bath night Wednesday took my mind off it finding candles, bubbles, music and so on (and of course having a good old cry in the tub).
I spoke to friends who had been though a break up, I built my social circle and made sure I reconnected with people that I hadn’t seen for a while. I suddenly had several free nights a week so I got proactive, I made plans, I pencilled in regular catch-ups and even telephone chats.
I got some therapy; I had three sessions with a counsellor to process some of the hard stuff that I didn’t know how to face on my own. I found the feedback to be invaluable, when you feel like the world’s worst mother it was an amazing moment to have in reflected back to me that I was actually the complete opposite, and from then on I started to believe otherwise, what a game changer!
Engaging in self- care
Without realizing it my boredom helped massively here. I would kill time with a walk; I would paint my nails for something to do. I began to cook new food because it would fill more time that a quick “ ping” meal.
A lot of what I did was to fill time because time after a break up is hard. Time feels empty and alone, there comes a time when we really need to face that sense of aloneness and that’s when I contacted a therapist, but in the very early days, the routine was a great self-care tool.
I got a journal
Now I had my own house and privacy I was able to get a journal and be really truthful, warts and all. I vented, ranted, sobbed, got grateful and then all the way back around again. My poor battered journal held it all, but it was a brilliant relief to off load and so very desperately needed at the time.
One of the best ways I used my journal was for stuckness, I could always get traction and move beyond that horrible sticky feeling of stuck. If you feel stuck right now, check out my journal prompts for stuckness.
I know this “ finding me” time works, it worked for me, and now I feel slightly less likely to throttle people when I hear them saying it.
But the other thing I learned is that trying to force it doesn’t work, it makes you feel even more single and more desperate to get to the other side of aloneness.
You want to know the really amazing part? Even though I have been happily settled in a new relationship for over five years now, my relationship status is still loving me.
I learned to love me in my loneliest part of life, and now I look after me in ways I never did when I was in a relationship. I have a much better relationship with me now.
I know the single spell feels like a huge black hole, I know that feeling of despair and aloneness, but I also know that you can and will find new parts of yourself and remember your happy.
One day at a time you will find your happy again.
If you want help to find your happy send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Love Emma x