How To Regain Yourself After A Breakup
Breakups are sh*t, but they can also be a blessing in disguise.
You’ve eaten your emotions in Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, dyed your hair a new colour and thrown out his belongings. Breakups are pretty turbulent and feelings of relief, to loneliness to heartache are all normal. It’s an emotional rollercoaster.
But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. To help navigate this rollercoaster we spoke to Audrey Zeitoun, a London based breakup and divorce recovery coach. Her mission is to help women “rediscover the joy of solo loving, find their confidence to build a rich, contented and independent life and a heart that’s open to finding true love”.
Whether you initiated the breakup or not, either way you’ll probably feel some sense of loss. Often, that loss comes in the shape of lack of self-esteem and confidence. Audrey notes that a lot of newly single women don’t know how to initiate and enjoy their new solo life. Self-care and self-compassion are essential for the healing process and reinvention post breakup or divorce. She urges us to embrace the grieving period but recognise that it won’t last forever. A lot of the time, when we’re faced with difficult situations we actually come out of the other end stronger and better than ever so think of this period as a positive transformation.
Whilst trying to navigate relationships, parenthood, friendships and careers we often forget to take care of ourselves. During a breakup women tend to dye their hair, buy a whole new wardrobe or get a tattoo that isn’t typically ‘them’ to mark this grieving and transformation period. In this period “comes the time to rediscover yourself and not only your younger self but the woman you are now” says Audrey. Hence, naturally we want to document this transformation with something physical like a tattoo or a style makeover. This can be a fun experience but obviously a new look isn’t going to fix your heartbreak or regain your confidence, you need to alter your mindset.
It’s normal to become dependent on the other half of the relationship and thus, alone time might conjure up feelings of anxiety and loneliness. Audrey says “being dependent on someone else is a sign of imbalance. The expectations we can have toward our partner can imply we see that person in the role of saviour who will solve all our issues” but we don’t need a saviour, we already have what we need inside of ourselves. Alone time might feel foreign and cold at first but spending time getting to know ourselves can be super beneficial! Audrey views this time as an opportunity to pursue something new and practice self-love. Try developing a small success mindset by keeping a gratitude journal and writing down three good things that happened to you to always keep the positive thoughts flowing. This time can “increase your well-being and happiness and therefore your confidence in yourself that you can achieve things and move forward”. After all, the love you give yourself can never be taken away.
One way to look at a breakup as a positive is the amount of free time you've gained. Now is the perfect time to pick up an old hobby or try something you’ve always wanted to. Use your newfound time to do things that bring you joy!
Experiencing a drop in confidence is also normal because not only are breakups painful, they can also be a blow to the ego. We might feel unlovable and begin to question if we were the problem. We internalise the relationship and believe it is our fault. But it’s not. Audrey suggests altering your mindset by focusing on your strengths and accomplishments to remind you that you’re capable of anything.
We can alter our mindset by frequently checking in with ourselves and assessing our four pillars of well-being: how are we feeling physically, mentally, emotionally and socially? Audrey recommends practicing mindfulness which can combat stress and anxiety. She prescribes lots of activities to deal with loneliness: spending time in nature, raising your heart rate with a little exercise, having meaningful conversations with friends, embracing the small things and romanticising your life by indulging in books and dancing in the kitchen while you wait for the kettle to boil.
Visualisation can be a very powerful tool of self-discovery! Audrey advises imagining your future ideal self. Write down the kind of woman you want to be and be as precise and possible. Read it back every day and try showing up as that woman. Remind yourself that you’re confident and worthy of joy.
But throughout all of the guidance Audrey has given us, our favourite piece of advice is “fall in love when you’re ready, not lonely”. It’s important to use this opportunity to connect with and fall in love with yourself rather than looking for someone else to put you back together. Remember, you are coming home to yourself.
Audrey believes that coaching can be really helpful for women trying to regain themselves after a breakup because it creates a safe space to delve into emotions without fear of judgement. This process will allow for self-growth: “what I love the most about my job is when one of my clients has one of those ‘ha ha’ moments of self-realisation and when answers start coming”. She truly believes that this personal transformation period will help you in every aspect of your life and finds it “a real honour to empower women to live their life aligned with who they truly are”.