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Our first instinct post breakup (after crying our hearts out and drowning our sorrows at our favourite cocktail bar) is usually to embark on a personal self-improvement project.
Many of us seek out new hobbies, such as cooking or learning another language, to help us keep busy, move forward and satisfy that ‘I'll show them what they're missing out on' feeling.
However, while pursuing classes like this is admirable, we think that doing something completely unexpected is a better way to bounce back stronger than ever. We suggest instead that you...
ELLE Canada advice: Do something beyond your comfort zone
The reason a breakup rattles us so much (apart from the obvious heartbreak) is that our lives are suddenly no longer what we expected them to be. We are hurled, often quite mercilessly, into the great unknown when relationships end.
So we say why not embrace that unknown? Push yourself even further beyond your comfort zone so that it becomes an exciting and empowering place to be. Dive into something that will force you to conquer a fear while inspiring confidence, such as pole fitness or running a marathon.
Rather than tentatively sitting behind a desk in a classroom hoping the teacher doesn't call on you, do something that is active, assertive, gives you a certain thrill and makes you feel alive.
2) The stereotypical advice: Indulge in comfort food
As much as we love Bridget Jones, she would have us convinced that the cure for heartache is buried at the bottom of an ice cream container (or two!) Ladies, riddle me this: do we really need a lot of fatty junk foods on top of everything else we're dealing with? Surely our hearts are already heavy enough without adding a ton of empty calories to the situation and our bathroom scales. We suggest instead that you...
Discover even more surprising relationships advice for healing a broken heart on the next page...ELLE Canada advice: Throw a dinner party!
Turn your comfort food cravings into a social affair with your closest friends. This will help prevent any undesirable hermit-like behaviour wherein a bag of chips becomes your only late-night companion.
With an intimate dinner party, you can still enjoy a mountain of food, but you are more likely to eat healthier with a group present to witness your eating habits. Plus you create an opportunity to strengthen your friendships and take solace in the company of your closest friends. Bonus: there will be someone around to help with the dishes too!
3) The stereotypical advice: Indulge in retail therapy
There's no denying the emotional pick-me up that comes from finding the perfect little black dress or a killer pair of pumps. However, the joy created by retail therapy is fleeting and can develop into a nasty cycle of spending, spending, spending, thus adding to an already stressful predicament! So instead of going overboard with your credit cards we suggest that you...
ELLE Canada advice: Volunteer
No matter what is happening in your love life- whether you were cheated on, torn apart by a long-distance relationship, or simply drifted apart-there is always somebody in a worse situation that you.
Look around your community for a volunteer opportunity, preferably with a cause that you are passionate about, such as walking shelter dogs, reading to children with cancer or playing chess with the elderly.
Donating your time can be a very rewarding experience, help you find a different kind of emotional connection and most importantly make a difference in somebody else's life while helping you to fixate less on your own romantic situation.
4) The stereotypical advice: Spend time on your own
We're all for being comfortable with one's own company, but after a break-up going about your day-to-day routine minus your previous partner-in-crime can be painfully counter-productive.
Are you tearing up every time you pass your favourite brunch spot? The park bench where you two used to sit together? The charming patio where Friday evenings were spent chatting over a bottle of wine? If the answer is yes, it may be time to rethink the whole "spending time alone" approach to recovery. Instead we suggest that you...
In the smash rom-com hit, The Holiday, Kate Winslet's character, Iris, having just sustained a crushing breakup, says: "Go somewhere new and you'll meet people who make you feel worthwhile again."
Albeit gleaned from Hollywood scripture, this piece of advice resonates deeply. Often we loose pieces of ourselves in a relationship and when it suddenly ends we can feel completely lost in terms of direction and identity. So pack a bag, book a ticket and jet off by yourself to somewhere new, even if it's only for a few days.
You'll be forced to stand on your own, be wonderfully distracted by new experiences, and inevitably meet new people who are completely detached from your prior life. All of this will help to remind you of your inherent fabulousness sans the boyfriend.
Hollywood heartbreak: The 5 best break-up movies
1) Serendipity (2001)
Starring the ever dapper John Cusack and beautiful Kate Beckinsale, this heart-warming flick follows the story of two New Yorkers who are reunited by fate years after they first meet. This film will inspire even the most pessimistic people to believe that everything happens for reason and that when things are meant to be they will be!
2) Love Actually (2003)
This British film follows the lives of eight dramatically different couples and their varied love lives, from hilarious to somewhat tragic. Brimming with witty banter, laughter and tears, this flick will provide infinite comfort by showing that love is never the same twice and comes in many different forms. It also features a star turn by Hugh Grant as the British Prime Minister.
3) Before Sunrise (1995)
A story of true "in-the-moment" romance, this movie chronicles the chance meeting of a man (Ethan Hawke) and a woman (Julie Delpy) on a train in Europe who end up spending a single romantic night together in Vienna-just talking. Both know that this will be their only time together and as a result do their best to savour every extraordinary second.
4) Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)
After an out-of-the-blue divorce, an accomplished writer (Diane Lane) spontaneously buys a charming villa in Tuscany with hopes that it will help her build a new life. Along the way, however, she meets an interesting ensemble of characters, faces the challenges of renovating in a foreign country and deals with rejoining the dating scene.
5) The Holiday (2006)
In an effort to escape their wildly different guy problems, Amanda Woods (Cameron Diaz) and Iris Simpkins (Kate Winslet) decide to swap homes for two weeks over Christmas. Each inevitably discovers new people in their new surroundings and begins rebuilding their sense of self-worth while flirting with the idea of new love. This movie is a whimsical reminder that starting over isn't always a bad thing.
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