5 ways to centre yourself after a breakup

Posted in Lifestyle
Spent some time with my dog post-breakup!
What seems to be a theme with breakups is what they reveal about you and what may have been happening underneath all the relationship hurt. My breakup – which I wrote about here – was just the catalyst for a year of unravelling, as various different hurts I’d kept buried deep rose to the surface.
But really, even though things are terrible right then in the height of all the breakup pain, it’s an opportunity in disguise: an opportunity to learn so much about yourself. Or learn how much more there is to learn and explore about yourself. It’s such a special thing getting to know you again (maybe properly for the first time) and feeling like you’ve got an identity all of your own, away from everyone else – the ex, your friends, and your family.
Here are some ways I tried to find myself again over the last year:

1. Journalling

For years I wanted to be the kind of girl who journaled regularly, expressing herself in a lovely red leather-bound notebook every day. One day post-breakup, feeling particularly lost, I wrote my name in the middle of a page of my journal and then tried to write around it all the things that were my identifiers. I came up with an odd assortment of things that made me feel more secure in myself and my identity.

2. Reading nonfiction

I underestimated the value of reading non-fiction books before, but there’s something about reading a very true story that is so beautifully inspiring and invigorating, making you want to live your life in a different way. Thank you Edmund de Waal and The Hare with Amber Eyes for starting me down this path.

3. Making lists

I’ve always loved lists (like the one I’m making now), and compiling lists of things such as ‘Things I’ve always wanted to do but never have’ and ‘Things I love doing’ and ‘My favourite things’ effect subtle changes in your day-to-day life. I’ve started carving out slivers of time to try something new every week, to do the things I love but never seemed to have time for, to rearrange my home so that I’m surrounded only by my favourite, happiest things (thank you Marie Kondo and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up). And even lists like ‘Things I actually don’t like’ are helpful, so that the next time you feel guilted into going to a karaoke night when you hate karaoke, you just say “no” and do something you’ll enjoy instead (thank you Sarah Knight and The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving A F***).

4. Trying new things

And don’t be frustrated if you actually don’t like it. Getting to know yourself is as much about working out what you don’t enjoy as what you do. I don’t actually like sewing and making clothes it turns out, even though I really wanted to be that kind of girl. But, in the spirit of only doing things you give a f*** about, à la Sarah Knight, I gave up on that and found out I do like knitting, so I can do that instead.

5. Making time to be alone 

This may seem obvious, but it wasn’t to me. In times of crisis most people do one of two things, or strike a nice balance between the two: never be alone because they’re scared of being alone with their thoughts (me), always be alone because they can’t bear to see anyone in their grief, or healthily make time for both (a really brave girlfriend of mine). I now have a compulsory one to two evenings a week alone, doing all the above to centre myself again. Just me and a cup of tea, introspecting.
I wish I’d had this list a year ago, but I’m grateful I eventually worked it out, and I’m grateful I’ve got this for next time. Obviously, it’s not as easy as following five steps and you’re fine, but it helps, ever so slowly.
books on a shelf, how to find yourself post breakup
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  • Reply Zoe Diaz-McLeese

    I am so glad that you have found a way to love yourself and found some great ways to take care of yourself through a very difficult part of your life. I am also a listmaker, and I find that organizing my thoughts like that makes me feel better.

    August 23, 2016 at 9:00 pm
  • Reply Larissa Scotting

    Hi Zoe – thanks so much for your lovely comment, and for taking the time to read this! It's nice to find a fellow list lover too 🙂

    August 24, 2016 at 12:50 pm
  • Reply Larissa Scotting

    Hey Zoe – I just realised that I thought I'd replied to this but actually I'd just commented below. So down below is what I'd wanted to reply to you!!! Sorry for seeming like I'd ignored you haha. I imagine you made some lists when packing for France…! xxx

    October 21, 2016 at 3:48 pm
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