Why Did My Ex Reach Out To Me If They Broke Up With Me?

An ex suddenly reaching out after they broke up with you can be very confusing. It creates so much confusion because your ex’s actions are conflicting. They’ve broken up with you yet now they are contacting you? What’s the deal with that?! Especially when you’ve probably worked so hard on moving forwards and limiting that contact from your side. But the reason can actually be quite simple.

A Part Of Them Misses You
Even though your ex broke up with you, the reaching out is an indication there’s a part of them that misses you – even if they don’t say that in their message or call. What it doesn’t necessarily mean, is that they want to get back together.

They Need To Fulfill A Need
When you do the breaking up with someone, it doesn’t always mean that you’re able to move on any quicker or miss that person any less. The same things can trigger you – a random reminder of the relationship, being alone and feeling uncomfortable with that because it’s unfamiliar, one too many drinks, a movie or a song. Your ex will have felt that connection too, and not having you around will be something they miss. So reaching out (although it probably isn’t the best thing for you and in many ways, can be quite selfish on their part) is a way of fulfilling that need for a bit of contact. What they say when they reach out might be as simple as a ‘hey, how are you?’ or they might have a more practical reason that in your eyes, is actually quite unnecessary. The most likely answer is that they’re looking for an excuse just to have some sort of contact with you.

They’re Wobbling Emotionally
Again, it’s really important to not get your hopes up – especially if you are still not over your ex. The breakup still happened, regardless of who did the breaking up. Something wasn’t quite right. It doesn’t mean your ex is having second thoughts unless they clearly say that to you. It’s really just more of a sign that they’re experiencing an emotional wobble around the whole breakup in a moment of vulnerability.

What To Do
What is also important to remember, is to keep your boundaries intact. You get to decide whether you respond to your ex or not. If you’ve worked hard on creating that detachment, it’s completely your right to maintain that and do what is best for your own healing. No reply gives as much information as a reply so don’t feel obliged. Your ex will understand and will know that contacting you – at least right now, isn’t a good idea.

If you do respond, you just need to think about whether that will help or hinder your own emotional healing too. Opening up that channel of communication can allow old emotional wounds that you’ve worked hard to heal resurface. So you need to be sure what you want the gain out of that interaction, knowing that your ex could still respond in a way that you’re unable to predict.

Don’t be afraid to take some time if you need to. Now is the time to put your heart and self-healing first.

Also, you may want to check out: one Mender’s reason for reaching out to her exour guide to getting over your ex, and why the strength is in letting go.

How To Get Over Your Ex

It’s no surprise that ‘how to get over your ex’ is such a popular Google search out there. Everyone wants to know: how can you get over your ex?

The results can sometimes be disheartening; everything can seem a little cookie cutter, full of platitudes and only really scratches the surface of what you’re feeling.

Every breakup is different and as humans, we’re all dynamic with so many complex emotions, coping mechanisms, and feelings. The good news though, is that there are tools out there and a light at the end of the ex tunnel!

So, here are some recommendations of what getting over your ex really means, questions you might need to ask yourself, and a selection of practical tips that you can implement to aid the mending process.

Be compassionate with yourself.

What’s important to remember is that getting over your ex isn’t a linear process. It’s impossible to be able to give a specific date of when you’ll be “over” an ex and some days will be better than others, especially in the beginning.

Even though it might feel like you make great progress one week and then suddenly find yourself back in heartbreak hell again the next, it doesn’t mean that you’ve gone backward. In the bigger picture, you will be making progress. So in those moments, treat yourself with the same kindness and empathy you would your best friend.

When we’re going through times of emotional stress, we need to be as compassionate and gentle as possible with ourselves because this accelerates the overall mending process.

Commit to letting go.

To be able to get over your ex, one major key is finding acceptance. Oftentimes we say that all we want to do is get over them but in reality, and usually subconsciously, letting go is too scary, which is what part of what holds us back.

Letting go of an ex means saying goodbye to that relationship, to that specific future we visualized. It means facing those fears head-on. “What if I end up alone?” “What if my ex was the one and I gave up too soon?” “What if I can’t get anyone better than my ex?” “What if they find someone else?”. All of these questions can permeate our minds and stop us from fully letting go.

To be able to move forward we need to embrace the unknown and allow that space in.

So how can you make peace with the idea of letting go? Something we recommend is to write down the benefits of letting go. Instead of focusing on what you feel you might lose, focus on what you could gain by letting go of the relationship.

Your list might include things like being able to fully explore your passions and interests, to travel more freely, to spend your weekends as you please, to make more time for friends. It could be that you no longer have to worry about fighting the gut instinct that something just isn’t right in the relationship. Perhaps it’s that you now have space to truly reflect and create new healthy boundaries.

The more you do this and look at it from a different perspective, the more you can give yourself permission to fully let go.

Cut off contact.

You’ve probably heard this one before but we can’t leave it out because it’s a crucial part of being able to get over your ex. Creating that physical and emotional distance is one of the hardest parts of a breakup. But the more you stay in touch with an ex (excluding logistical reasons that need communication or if you have children), it’s like rubbing salt in the emotional wound. It’s harder to mend and the process is prolonged.

There are no easy ways to cut off contact with an ex but to give you some tips, we first recommend checking in daily on the Mend app, which guides you through the process day by day and allows you to keep track of how many days you’ve gone no contact with an ex.

Something you can also do is identify your triggers. Think about when you feel most vulnerable and likely to want to reach out. Perhaps it’s the first thing in the morning or before you go to bed, or maybe at the same time every day when you were used to talking to your ex.

Once you can pre-empt when you’re most likely to make that contact, you can substitute with other healthier, more fulfilling actions such as texting a friend, taking a walk, writing in your journal to express what you want to say, or turning your hand to something creative.

It isn’t easy but as each day goes by, the urge to text your ex will lessen.

Create new memories.

A huge part of getting over your ex is creating new neural pathways in the brain. When we’re going through heartbreak, we tend to focus on the past and continue to do things that remind us of our ex. That only serves to keep us stuck. So it’s all about re-wiring!

Let’s say you and your ex had a Sunday ritual of going for brunch at a spot you both loved. Well, now it’s time to create a different routine for your Sunday. Do a workout class, go somewhere else with a completely different vibe for brunch with your friends, take an online class, do something creative that you love at home. It might not feel immediately better but it will start to imprint a new memory in your brain that you associate with you and this new chapter in your life.

You can take this approach with many things–rearrange your space and clear out any of your ex’s belongings (highly recommend you do this!), switch up your morning and evening routines, or take a different route to work. The idea is to make it as mending, fun, explorative, and nourishing as possible for yourself.

This part is so powerful and can help immensely.

Do a digital detox.

When we’re going through a breakup and trying to get over our ex, it’s all too easy to start becoming reliant on social media. Either to try and glean any details on what your ex is up to, or as a way to numb out and distract ourselves.

Social media, and the online world, in general, can be incredible if we curate it in the best way possible, but it can also be detrimental when we’re in a vulnerable spot. We’re more prone to comparing ourselves to others and it can send us into freefall if we see our ex is out there portraying himself or herself having an amazing time without us.

Social media isn’t a true version of reality though and while you might know that on an intellectual level, you’ll likely find some time off it can help you connect to the real world. Spending time with loved ones, doing something creative, getting out in nature, and just generally being out in the fresh air is extremely healing and the best tonic for the soul.

Find a way to express your emotions.

The more we allow ourselves to feel what we’re feeling and express them, the easier it is to transition through the breakup. Some people like to do this through journaling or writing it down. Even if it’s just five minutes a day, the act of writing everything down can feel like all the stagnant emotional energy has found a release. It can help you say what’s on your heart without your ex being involved and it can also help you make sense of your feelings to be able to work through them.

Other things you can do are reaching out to a friend, speaking to a therapist or coach, going somewhere quiet and screaming out loud (so good!), singing, practicing yoga, or using creativity as a way to let out your feelings.

Expression is also amazing for stimulating the vagus nerve, which helps you to relax, breathe, and feel healthier and more at peace.

Know that you don’t need your ex to get closure.

What often holds us back from getting over an ex is feeling like we need closure. This is usually the reason for keeping the communication going and mostly ends with more questions left unanswered. When we’re in hot pursuit of closure, we very rarely get the answers we want and it keeps us in a perpetual cycle of communication and heartbreak.

What you need to know is that the relationship history and the breakup happening has already given you the closure you need. In your gut, you likely have all the answers to your questions. Even if you don’t have answers, that’s ok too. You can still make the decision to let go and move forward.

It can be incredibly hard to accept but that realization can also be beautifully empowering. While it might not seem fair, it might mean being open to forgiveness. Forgiveness is the key to moving forward because it’s setting you free to live your life in the way that you truly deserve. It’s not letting your ex off the hook, it’s serving you. It might also mean forgiving yourself.

This part can be the biggest piece of the journey because it means you can finally close the chapter and truly start to get over your ex. You might want to carry out a ritual to mark letting go, gaining the closure you need and moving on to your next chapter. It could be writing a letter to your ex saying everything that you want to say and then (safely!) burning the letter or it could be a huge decluttering and revamp of your space. It can be anything you want!

Again, it doesn’t immediately take away the pain but it can help you breathe the huge sigh of emotional relief that you’ve needed.

We hope these tips help you. Just remember, this isn’t about getting it perfect. Take it day by day and every day aim to add more of what you love into your life. That could be time with friends and family, doing activities you enjoy, staying healthy, setting personal goals, or taking trips. The point is to prioritize yourself while working through getting over an ex.

If you’re having trouble getting through this breakup, you don’t have to do it alone. Let Mend help you get started on making your heart whole again.

Why You Should Be Body Brushing and Ice Rolling Post-Breakup

During difficult times, self care goes a long way. Whether you’re going through a breakup, a rough patch in your relationship, or just feeling stressed out, here are a few self care practices to bring some comfort and coziness into your life.

1. Dry Body Brushing

Dry brushing the skin before showering is a wonderfully uplifting and therapeutic beauty practice that you can easily do at home. It’s rejuvenating, exfoliating and helps you feel instantly revived because it  helps the lymphatic system. Brushing the skin regularly helps stimulate the normal lymph flow within the body and helps the body detoxify itself naturally.

Tip:1: The best way to dry brush is to brush towards the heart (you could also incorporate a mindfulness practice with the dry brushing by sending love and healing to the heart), starting at the feet and hands and brushing toward the chest. 

Tip #2: Dry brush in the morning to kickstart circulation and give you a natural energy boost. 

Tip #3: The best type of dry brush is a firm, natural bristle brush with a handle so that you can easily reach your back and down your legs.

2. Ice Rolling

Ice rolling is a trusty pick-me-up for post breakup tears and lack of sleep. It primes your face for makeup, reduces puffiness and pores, lifts the face and minimizes redness and signs of fatigue. Plus, it instantly makes you feel more ‘awake’. All you need to do is keep it in the freezer and use it in the morning or when your face needs a perk up! We recommend this one from Amazon.

3. Collagen Eye Pads

If you’ve had some sleepless nights, collagen eye pads can be used when you wake up to kick start your day. Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body and it’s what gives your skin its strength, smoothness and elasticity. 

There are many brands out there for varying budgets but these soothing cucumber infused ones have a lovely, fresh scent we like.

4. Clay Baths

Benetton clay is amazing for cleansing the body of toxins and reducing stress. It’s best to have your bath before bed time as it also helps to prime you for sleep. Just mix 3/4 of a cup of clay (there are many available on Amazon) using a wooden spoon in a small amount of water until it’s as clump free as possible. Add the clay mix to your bath and relax in there for around 20 – 30 minutes. For a sense of calm and tranquility, you can add in a few drops of lavender essential oil. If you don’t have a bath in your home, you can also do a foot bath using Benetton clay, which still helps with detoxing.

5. Hydrate!

Probably one of the easiest, most affordable and effective self-care practices out there. Drinking more water will offer you all kinds of benefits. Your mind will feel less fuzzy, you’ll have more energy, it will improve your digestion and your skin will glow! Aim for around 2 liters a day if you can and see how much better you feel!

Have you tried any of these? What are your favorite self care practices? 

Heartbreak Hygge: How This 5 Step Closet Cleanse Can Help You Heal

After going through a major transition, it’s a great idea to take a good look at your space and reclaim it. Your closet is a really fun place to start.

Many Feng Shui experts say that our closets can hold stagnant energy so getting this energy cleared is an important ritual. Some people believe that your closet is apparently a reflection of what’s going on in your life. So, what does your closet look like?

Just like the important lesson conveyed in Clueless all those years ago, a closet cleanse may help bring balance, peace and tranquility to not only the way you present yourself, but your actual energy too. It helps clear the ‘clutter’ of what’s no longer working for you, which is why a breakup can be an ideal catalyst to do a closet cleanse. We think Mari Kondo would agree.

Here are 5 steps to carrying out your own closet cleanse:

1. Take Everything Out

Take everything out and decide what stays and what goes. If you’re keeping any of your ex’s clothes for memories, even though it might feel like the hardest thing right now, letting go of these is a symbol that you’re ready to let go emotionally. So that t-shirt you like to sleep in? Try and make peace with saying goodbye to it. It’s no longer serving you and it’s time to allow in the ‘new’.

When it comes to your other clothes, be honest about whether you’re hoarding any ‘just in case’. If you haven’t worn it in the past year, the chances are you probably never will, so bite the bullet and donate the things you really won’t wear to charity or even organize a clothes swap. A nice way to feel even happier with letting go of old items is knowing they’ll be going to a good home, like Dress For Success or Goodwill.

2. Keep What You Love (And What You Need)

Only keep items you really feel good in. A good test of whether to keep or throw/donate your clothes is to try them on and see how they make you feel. If something doesn’t make you want to walk out of the house right now and rock it, then it might be worth reconsidering. (Plus, think of all the space you’ll be creating for some new pieces!) Of course, some things like uniforms or work clothes may be the exception – so keep what you absolutely need.

3.  Cleanse The Energy

Safely light some sage and smudge your empty closet to remove any negative energy. Smudging is where you move the smoldering sage stick in a clockwise direction around the space. Once you have neatly re-organized all the clothes you want to keep you can also smudge them with sage too.

4. Crystalize It

If you’re into crystals, an optimum one to place in your closet is selenite because it removes energy blocks and helps keeps the energy clear and balanced.

5. Get Organized

As the cherry on top, it’s useful to think about how you want to organize your clothes from a seasonal perspective. So if it’s spring/summer, perhaps invest in some storage containers to pack away your bulkier clothing and then you can swap them over accordingly.

This closet cleanse is all about creating as much ‘space’ as possible and practically, it makes getting dressed every day a much more pleasant experience if you love what you have and it’s all accessible. Just try and avoid the trap of stuffing everything under your bed.

We’d love to hear how your closets look right now – are they cramped? do they need to be cleansed? Share your tips in the comment below if you have ideas we haven’t shared here!

How To Bounce Back From A Summer Fling

Summer flings can feel amazing. They can feel exotic, exciting, exhilarating and like life couldn’t be better.

So when you cram all of those intense highs into a short period of time and then it ends, bouncing back from a summertime fling can be particularly difficult.

The summer season, going away or just being in more of a vacation mode can mean that you approach love and dating differently. You can find yourself attracted to people you wouldn’t be – maybe someone who you know long-term isn’t quite right for you – or you can overlook your boundaries and better judgement in favor of the romance.

Here are some tips to help you bounce back from summertime sadness:

1. Give yourself perspective. Be aware that even if it feels like you knew the person really well, a few weeks or even a whole summer isn’t enough time to truly get to know someone. How you feel right now is real, definitely, but trust as more time goes on, you will start to see the holes in that relationship that you perhaps can’t see now.

2. Get inspired from it. Ask yourself what felt great about that relationship. So if you felt excitement and freedom, how can you bring more of that into your life? Use what made you feel really good as inspiration to incorporate that into your day-to-day world.

3. Find the purpose. Be grateful that you got to experience it. See this relationship, however short-lived, as something you gained, not something and someone you lost. Summer romances make for amazing memories that you might remember forever. So cherish that and celebrate it as opposed to dwelling that it’s over. Try to feel happy that you experienced it and recognize how much it enriched your life. Not all relationships are meant to last. Many are supposed to be short-term. They still serve a big purpose. What was that purpose for you? Choose to focus on that.

4. Focus on self care. Make sure you have plenty of self-care rituals during this time. Create new memories that represent this new season of your life. Fill your time with friends, hobbies, goals and new experiences. Try and avoid living in the past of that romance. Trust, that as it didn’t take you long for fall for that person, it won’t take you long to move forward from them either. Put yourself first and aim to make each day from here as nourishing and fulfilling as possible.

Finally, have faith that as each day goes by and as you start your daily rituals and routines again, bit by bit, you will start to feel better.

Five Tips To Avoid The End Of Summer Blues

There’s something about the fall season that signifies all things new and a fresh start, but it’s also a little bittersweet to say goodbye to summer. 

Whether it’s that you’re heading back to school, prepping for a busy work season or just wanting to use the new season as a way to realign and set some new intentions, here are 5 ideas on how to close the summer in a positive way and make way for a great fall.

1. Make The Most Of Every Day

Carving out time for things you love to do is the best way to create that same momentum into the fall. So make plans, carve out time for dates with friends, try something you haven’t done before, perhaps take a trip or visit some new places locally that you haven’t had the opportunity to try out yet. Even if you’ve had a difficult time this summer nursing a heartbreak, there’s still time to make a short bucket list and cross some things off. 

2. Think About Your Personal Goals

Every new season is a great excuse to think a few steps ahead. What would you love to happen this season? Whether that’s getting a promotion, making good grades, making progress on that passion project, cultivating new friendships or creating a healthy routine that you actually enjoy, make a list of things that are important to you and think about the practical steps you can take to turn them into reality. It really helps to write this all down in a journal to get super clear on what these things are.

3. Reflect Back Positively

Something which is equally important to thinking ahead, is to reflect back positively. Whatever you’ve been through this summer – good and bad – what have you learned from those experiences? Where can you really give yourself credit for getting through it all? What has it revealed to you about yourself? Starting a new season might mean making some changes, but it’s also about being your own cheerleader and acknowledging how far you’ve come.

4. Spruce Up Your Personal Space

A really fun thing to do is to mark the new season with some redecorating. Fall is a time for cozying up at home more, for indulgent self-care and for creating a sanctuary for yourself. So set a day where you might want to clear out some clutter to make space for the new. Try rearranging your furniture and sorting your closet out so that it only has things in it that you love to wear. Maybe treat yourself to a day investing in some new pieces! You could even look at switching up your beauty routine too and trying out some new products.

5. Set A Positive Intention

You can also close the summer with a positive intention about other people in your life. It’s really easy to get wrapped up in ourselves and our own needs (which are important!), but how can you also bring more love and warmth into the lives of other people around you? Even if it’s just a genuine compliment or a hug. Try expressing your appreciation and love for people in small ways when you can. It not only makes them feel amazing but will give you an ultimate feel-good buzz too.

Enjoy these last days of summer, and we can’t wait to see what the fall brings for you. 

We’d love to hear from you – do you have any end of summer rituals? How do you beat the end of summer blues?

What To Read In The Early Stages Of Heartbreak

In the days following a breakup, you might find yourself with some spare time on your hands. Rather than spend it backtracking your entire relationship, with tissues at arm’s length, how about picking up a book that will pivot you towards the future you can’t quite imagine right now?

Getting Past Your Breakup by Susan J. Elliott is the perfect read when you’re in the early stages of a breakup. It covers how to handle breakups and provides a plan that’s similar to the author’s in-person workshops. It walks you through how to break off contact, how to stop reaching out to your ex, how to work through grief, and ultimately how to take back control of your life.

Throughout the book, you’ll find a focus on self-exploration and learn new boundaries. It will inspire you to shift from a victim mentality to one of empowerment. As you work your way through this read, you’ll be motivated to become the best version of yourself, even after heartbreak.

Elliott’s writing is accessible yet compassionate, kind, warm, and completely non-judgemental. The book includes activities that inspire self-reflection, helping you feel more relaxed and empowered.

A key chapter to note is Chapter 2: The Rules of Disengagement. This chapter is devoted to explaining why no contact with an ex is so important. It’s probably one of the biggest challenges that come with going through a breakup. The chapter delves into why you need to separate emotionally, physically, and mentally from your ex in order for healing to take place.

Even though we know cutting contact is the wisest thing to do, putting it into practice is a different story. Chapter 2 includes a series of questions to ask yourself in order to get to the core of why you want to reach out to your ex. It also gets to the heart of why needing closure is actually a construct of the mind. This chapter alone could do wonders for healing your broken heart.

Getting Past Your Breakup is full of so many incredible quotes that will make you think about your own behaviors and habits. One in particular that stands out reads:  “A person chooses a partner with a similar degree of “brokenness” and does a dance of dysfunction where they both know the steps. Therefore, one person cannot be so much healthier than the other. Healthy people do not dance with unhealthy people.”

This quote sheds light on why we might keep going back to an unhealthy relationship. The practical exercises encourage you to look deeper than the relationship itself and do the inner work that will get you to a healthy place.

By the end of this book, you will understand what a healthy and fulfilling relationship is and what that looks like for you. You’ll also gain a fresh perspective on what a happy and healthy life means for you. We hope it encourages you to reflect and take a deeper dive into healing your heartbreak.

How To Handle Your First Birthday Without Your Ex

Despite birthdays being a time of celebration, when you’re newly single, they can often feel quite lonely. It’s really easy to think back to previous birthdays with your ex and feel down at how this one might compare. So here are a few tips to help you over the hump:

Know It’s Normal

First of all, just know that what you’re experiencing is completely normal and it’s ok to feel moments of pain or sadness on your birthday. It doesn’t mean however, that this birthday has to be one that you just forget or let pass you by. You can take full control over how much fun you want to have and are capable of having. It’s just about reframing what your birthday means to you this year.

Remind Yourself Why It Didn’t Work 

Choose to think differently. Whilst this birthday will be different to the last one with your ex, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be ‘bad’. Try and keep in mind that you are still better off out of a relationship that wasn’t quite right. So, see this birthday as an opportunity to embrace a brand new and exciting chapter instead of comparing it to the past. All you have is the present moment and you get to decide what you want that to look and feel like.

Surround Yourself With Other Types Of Love

Spend it with people who you love. Even if you decide that you want a more low-key birthday, that is more than ok. But try and focus on spending it with loved ones and appreciating those around you rather than dwelling on your ex not being around. When you can switch your thinking to one of gratitude you can’t help but feel much better about where you’re at right now. 

Change It Up!

Do something out of the ordinary! It’s your birthday and it’s about you. Be ‘extra’! Treat yourself to something a little more lavish that you might not usually splurge on, take yourself out somewhere you’ve always been curious about trying, do something fun and crazy, or arrange to celebrate somewhere completely different with friends. Make this birthday one to remember by creating new memories that mark it!

Set Intentions

What do you want to attract in over this next year? What do you want to let go of? Perhaps you could set a completely new intention to live by such as saying ‘yes’ more to opportunities and invitations or even saying ‘no’ to things that don’t serve you or make you happy. Perhaps you want to spend more time getting to know yourself again on a deeper level. Getting focused on what you want to create, call in or how you want to live your life can be a great thing to do on your birthday and pacify the temptation to dwell on the past.

Congratulate Yourself

Your birthday is actually a perfect opportunity to acknowledge how far you’ve come since your breakup. You’re still here, you’re ok and you will continue to get stronger and thrive. Your birthday might have triggered painful memories but by tomorrow, that will be over. 

Remember, this is just another day and you get to choose how you want to remember it. So, feel good that you’ve made it this far and remind yourself how much strength that has taken. And happy birthday!

How to Cope with Loneliness After A Breakup

After a breakup, we begin to notice all the ways in which the mundane actions of our days have changed. We notice how we don’t see the sun set at a certain spot because we are no longer driving a certain route, one that we would take to get to our ex’s home. At the grocery store, we no longer pick up our ex’s favorite snack that we always liked to surprise them with when we came over. And our bed suddenly feels much larger. We check our phones and notice just how long its been since our last interaction – long. And suddenly, in floods loneliness.

These feelings are normal. And sometimes, unfortunately, we have to feel them. It is our reaction, however, to this loneliness that helps us rise through sadness. And somewhere in that rising, something special happens: we learn new things about ourselves.

Below we’ve rounded up some great perspective on loneliness after a breakup. Stay strong.

“I do wish I had someone to laugh with when I spot an enthusiastic-looking golden retriever lapping up muddy water from a puddle between the cobblestones. But, I also know that being alone right now doesn’t mean I’m going to be alone forever. And, for me, those pangs of loneliness serve as reminders of my priorities — and that the people I want in my life are ones who notice weird-looking dogs.

I hadn’t spoken to anyone the entire day, but I didn’t feel sad. Instead, I felt privileged to be able to observe the world around me — going on without me — and being able to totally lose myself in myself. I was able to do what I wanted, when I wanted. I was lonely, yes, but I was also happy.” 

– Ann Davies on how she can be lonely and happy at the same time. (refinery29.com)

“If you are actually afraid of being single — subconsciously or not — you need to focus on the major self-esteem issues you may have been ignoring. You owe it to yourself to become as strong as you can be on your own two feet.”

– Courtney Wregget on the importance of being able to be okay alone. (elitedaily.com)

“I will continue on with positive affirmations, appreciations of the blessing I have, and realization that the present moment is the only reality. I will continue meditating, reading positive articles, and spreading joy and positivity to others in the only way I know how: being honest and vulnerable about my own struggles.”

– Katie DeMartino on how affirmations and living in the present helped her during bouts of loneliness. (mindbodygreen.com)

Josh Radnor On How Meditation Helped Him Through His Breakup

You might remember Josh Radnor as unlucky-in-love Ted from How I Met Your Mother. We love the insightful advice he recently shared about meditation and heartbreak in a recent interview and podcast.

In this interview, Josh explains how meditation is what saved him while going through depression triggered by his breakup. Josh explains “When actors ask me for my one piece of advice, I always tell them to meditate. The thing that will take you down, personally and professionally, is your mind.”

Josh talks about how meditation doesn’t have to be complicated and it isn’t about using it to numb yourself or achieve immunity to what happens around you. It’s more about how it helps you to process things quicker.

“If you grieve, you grieve hard, and it moves through you. There’s a fluidity to feelings and thoughts and you don’t get hooked.”

Josh says that it was meditation that ultimately saved him after his breakup. The interview is well worth a listen if you’re curious to hear more about meditation, and you can also sign up for Josh’s monthly newsletter where he often talks about it in more depth.

Here is a snippet from his most recent newsletter on finding hope during tough times:

“There is a point and purpose to life. I believe that deeply. We often can’t see or sense it in our darker moments – it’s hard to comprehend a story when you’re in the middle of the story – but it is there. And while confusion abounds, we can be assured that goodness will always triumph in the end. This doesn’t mean there won’t be harrowing moments, setbacks, and losses of faith along the way. Heroes always lose faith and must dig deep to find the will to go on (that’s a huge, inevitable part of the story). Life is constantly offering up opportunities for us to learn we’re far more resilient than we ever thought we could be.”

What To Read After Your Breakup: The Four Agreements

The Four Agreements is a wisdom-filled book that is basically a prescription for how to live your best life and have healthy, harmonious relationships. It’s also a great resource if you’re struggling to walk away from a relationship where you’re not being treated with the love and respect you deserve.

Written by Don Miguel Ruiz, the insights that he shares in this book come from the ancient Toltec wisdom of the native people of Southern Mexico. The Toltec were said to be ‘people of knowledge’ including scientists and artists who created a society to explore and conserve the traditional spiritual knowledge and practices of their ancestors.

Here are the Four Agreements:

Be impeccable with your word – Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

Don’t take anything personally – Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

Don’t make assumptions – Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

Always do your best – Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

These four codes really get to the heart of many emotional struggles we face on a daily basis and behaviors that seem impossible to break. But Ruiz writes in such a profound yet simple way that every other page seems to create a huge “aha” moment. 

When it comes to relationships particularly, ‘don’t take anything personally’ and ‘don’t make assumptions’ are great agreements to pay particular attention to. So often in love, dating and relationships we place so much emphasis on what people think of us and their opinions – this applies to life in general too, of course, and can feel incredibly emotionally debilitating.

Not making assumptions is also a transformative agreement because it shows you how and why communication is the key to successful relationships and being able to express what you need and want can ultimately help to eliminate heartbreak, confusion and drama.

The following quote is simple but yet immensely powerful when it comes to healing from a relationship that isn’t right for you:

“If someone is not treating you with love and respect, it is a gift if they walk away from you. If that person doesn’t walk away, you will surely endure many years of suffering with him or her. Walking away may hurt for a while, but your heart will eventually heal. Then you can choose what you really want. You will find that you don’t need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to make the right choices.”

We’d love to hear from you in the comments below if you’re struggling in this type of relationship. Does this quote give you strength to walk away?

Eight Ways To Make Your Bedroom As Cozy As Possible Post-Breakup

After a breakup, your bedroom can sometimes feel like the last place you want to spend time in. It might have represented your romantic refuge that now only triggers painful memories of how things were.

So, if you’re feeling this way, it’s okay. Let yourself feel sad. And then take a deep breath and remind yourself that you have the power to reclaim your space and make it a sanctuary. Creating a nurturing and feel-good environment is an incredibly cathartic way to help you heal after a breakup. Plus, it helps you get your creative juices flowing, which is good for the soul.

Here are 8 ways to make your bedroom as cozy as possible post-breakup.

1. Start with a positive intention.

Instead of seeing this as something to feel sad about, try and approach it as a new chapter. Of course, it’s more than okay to feel sadness at letting the past go but try to also harness any shred of excitement about making your space one you are going to love and attract happiness into.

Set an intention with yourself, like “I know this is hard, but I want to bring more beauty and tranquility into my room.” (insert whatever attributes are important to you – maybe you want more fun, color, serenity, art, plant life, open space, etc)

2. Clear out any reminders of your ex

Creating a fresh space is all about clearing out those old memories of your ex. If you’re not ready to throw things away, you can store them elsewhere out of sight instead. The aim is to make room for new and fresh mementos that make you feel like you and happy. So, any photos, gifts, clothes, books, music that belong to your ex or trigger memories of him/her, replace with pieces that remind you of all the things in your life right now that bring you love and joy. Photos of friends and family, artwork, flowers, candles, books that you love to read.

3. Make your room a reflection of YOU

A big benefit of being single is that it gives you opportunity to be completely selfish when it comes to your space. So have fun and experiment with the design – what colors do you want to incorporate? What sort of textures and furnishings? How would you like to arrange the space?

Looking on Pinterest can be a great place to begin for inspiration and it doesn’t have to be expensive either. Accents here and there will do the job if you don’t want to spend too much money.

4. Invest in new bedding

Fresh new bedding is an instant way to revamp your bedroom and start fresh. If you’re going to spend money on making your room cozy, definitely allocate some to beautiful bedding. After all, your bed is where you spend half your time and the more comfortable and appealing your bedding feels and looks, the better quality sleep you’ll have too – very important post-breakup.

Tip: We love Parachute Home for sheets, towels and home goods.

5. Give your bedroom (or a wall) a fresh coat of paint

If where you live allows and if you’re feeling up for a DIY project, a fresh coat of paint can make a big difference. If your place feels dark, it’s a good idea to choose a light and uplifting color to give your room an airy, new and spacious feel, but again, it’s about choosing a color that you love. Dark walls can be especially luxurious and cocoon-like – just check out Jo Goddard’s old bedroom.

6. Hygge-fy your home

As we’re moving into a colder season, this is a great time to add in some hygge and comforting soft furnishings. Cozy cushions, blankets, rugs and throws will make you feel nurtured, and also soften any echoes that might make your place feel sterile.

7.  Buy yourself flowers

Flowers are an instant way to give your room a feel-good boost. You don’t have to wait for someone else to buy you them either. Treating yourself to flowers on the regular if you love them, is all part of a self care practice.  If flowers aren’t your thing, candles and incense can also be a lovely way to create a relaxing atmosphere, especially in the evening.

8. Create a sacred space

Whether it’s for meditation, journaling, reading or just time out from your busy schedule, have a designated place (maybe it’s a corner, or just one cushion) in your room where you can relax and enjoy some real quality time alone.

We’d love to hear from you! What are your tips for making a bedroom cozy?

How To Decide Who Gets the Dog After a Breakup

For many couples, their pet is like a member of the family. So if you’ve gone through a breakup and you’re wondering how you’re going to handle your shared pet, it’s important to find a solution that will work for everyone affected.

You almost have to treat it as you would a child. You need to keep a sense of calm and compassion to avoid a tug-of-war situation, which is only going to make you both feel bad and could also affect the wellbeing of your pet.

First of all, it helps to begin with the basic facts. Who does the pet belong to? Did one of you bring the pet into the relationship or was it something you decided on together as a couple? Agreeing on who the pet originally belonged to may help you to know who it should stay with after the breakup.

If you decide to approach shared custody and split the time of the pet between you and your ex, it’s a good idea to come up with an informal pet custody agreement so you both know exactly who gets the pet, where and when. You also need to think about if you can be around each other when it comes to pick up/drop off times and how that will affect your own wellbeing, as well as your pet’s.

The care schedule should really take into account how well the pet adjusts to change too. If your pet struggles with anxiety, they might find shared custody overwhelming or traumatic. Animals can’t communicate their feelings verbally like we can, so consider their own wellbeing and try to be as compassionate as you can.

Ultimately, your pet is a living thing affected by its environment and care – so although it can be heartbreaking, sometimes you may have to make a difficult decision (separating from your pet or giving up custody) to do what is best for your pet and everyone involved. Here are some questions you can ask yourself, to help you think through this decision:

Does one person’s home or lifestyle better suit the pet?

Has one person been the primary caregiver?

Is one person in a better place financially to care for the pet?

Does one person have a better schedule to take care of the pet?

Is one person happy to give the other full ownership of the pet regardless of whether it’s technically theirs?

What will be best for you both emotionally and being able to move on?

Navigating pet custody post-breakup can become more difficult when an emotional pull outweighs the more logical and practical reasons. Figuring out who cares for the pet can be a truly painful part of breaking up and really seal its finality.

So, in those heated moments, do your best to consider what is best for your pet. You have to put your emotional attachment aside and really think what’s best for the wellbeing of your pet long-term, even if this is giving it up completely or rehoming if neither of you is able to take full responsibility.

And if you do decide to co-parent, you really need to decide if it’s possible for you to maturely work out a shared custody situation. It may sound like a good idea but it only really works when you’re able to put your differences aside for the sake of your pet.

What To Read After Your Breakup: Attached

Attached is one of the most popular books in the relationship space and when you read it, it’s easy to see why. The authors Amir Levine, MD and Rachel S.F. Heller, MA have applied classic attachment theory to adult romantic relationships and it will help you understand your own attachment needs as well as pinpointing the attachment styles of those close to you. Just this awareness alone can completely transform your relationships.

The three main attachment styles are Anxious, Avoidant, or Secure and you can have combinations of those too.

To give a brief description of them:

Anxious people are often consumed with their relationships and tend to worry about their partner’s ability to love them back.

Avoidant people couple intimacy with a loss of independence and try to avoid getting close to someone.

Secure people feel comfortable with intimacy and are usually warm and loving.

Attached

The book also contains quizzes to determine your attachment style if you’re not sure.

It probably has the most insight and tips to offer to people with an anxious attachment style, which many people with relationship struggles find they fall into. So if you notice yourself constantly worried about your relationships and putting all of your time and emotional energy into them, I highly recommend you give this book a read. It can help make sense of why you’ve felt like this.

For example, you’ve probably wondered in the past why you always seem to feel a certain way in relationships and why you seem to attract a particular type of person. A common one, which the book explains, is that Anxious people tend to attract Avoidant partners. The authors call it the anxious-avoidant trap.

This dynamic isn’t going to create a happy and harmonious relationship because it’s an unhealthy pattern of interaction between an anxious and an avoidant partner that is very difficult to let go of. It becomes hard work and sometimes destructive. The closer the anxious partner tries to get, the more distant the avoidant partner acts. It becomes a cycle of exacerbating each other’s insecurities. There is a very useful chart in the book, which outlines the behaviours, thought patterns and emotions of each. It’s a great reference point to identify what you’re actually feeling and what behaviours tend to be your default go-to’s.

The main solution they offer, is to ask yourself what would a secure person do?

So if you’re an anxious attachment style and always feel uneasy, jealous, unloved and lonely for example (these are taken from the chart I just mentioned) and try to ‘fix’ those by acting out or threatening to leave your Avoidant partner in desperation to keep them or make them feel scared, ask yourself what would a secure person do in that situation instead? The authors suggest they would communicate effectively, not play games and allow themselves to be vulnerable (as a few examples).

By intercepting your go-to anxious behaviours with these new thoughts, you can avoid going deeper into or prolonging these heated attachment style episodes in your relationships.

The last section of the book focuses on how to improve your current relationship, when to let a relationship go and how to choose the best type of partner for you. So this book is also very useful when you’re dating and really thinking about what type of person you want to be with. Particularly if you’re trying to avoid past habits or behaviours that didn’t serve you when it comes to choosing a romantic partner.

Communication is also a big part of the book. They say that if you can effectively communicate what you want and need, you’re more likely to receive it. Although that might sound fairly obvious, there can be so many grey areas when it comes to being bold yet compassionate about communicating in relationships. There are some great practical tips on communication.

So many people have said that Attached completely changed their perspective on relationships and helped them to adapt their attachment style for the better. It’s hopeful, practical and can really help you see that there isn’t anything ‘wrong’ with you for feeling like you have done in relationships.

How Sophia Amoruso Bounced Back From Divorce & Bankruptcy

It came as a shock to many when Sophia Amoruso’s fashion company Nasty Gal filed for bankruptcy. At the same time, her marriage broke down. As someone in the public eye with a second book to promote and a Netflix show about to air, it’s safe to say, that must have been a lot to weather.

However, Sophia was determined to not let this, what she describes as a ‘reset’, deter her from happiness and success in life and love. As she shared with InStyle, she made every effort to bounce back and be honest about the struggle.

Something that Sophia touches on, which is so relevant right now, is to not buy into everything you see on Instagram: “Behind those dozen-oyster Instas and dream vacays, I was struggling. By age 32, my one-year marriage had ended, and my company, Nasty Gal, had filed for bankruptcy.”

Sophia goes on to talk about how she found out about the bankruptcy at the same time as promoting her second book, Nasty Galaxy. The announcement was looming just as she was about to do an inspirational talk for thousands of women, yet Sophia didn’t back out. Instead, she explains that she ‘showed up’:

“I covered the things I generally talk about onstage: my rise, my books, and what I’ve learned along the way. And as much as I wanted to slip out of this public appearance without having to discuss the crumbling of my entire adult life’s work, I had to. All I could say, with tears running down my face, was, “Hey, it was my first business, and I think I got pretty far.” Because as a community-university dropout from Sacramento, Calif., with no pedigree, I did.”

Now, Sophia solely focuses on the incredibly popular Girlboss platform and community she’s built, which empowers women to go after success on their terms. She also has a foundation that has given over $100,000 in grants to women working in design, fashion, music, and the arts.

The cherry on top is that she’s in love, and it’s different this time around: “My poodles have a father again, and I share things with him that I never could have shared with the man I married. We laugh a lot.”

Sophia’s story reminds us to see setbacks as resets, instead of downfalls. With the right mindset, life can so quickly switch to a much better path.

Four Reasons Why You Should Garden After A Breakup

Gardening and being out in nature can be an amazing way to heal. Due to its many benefits, gardens are now popping up in prison yards, retirement and veteran homes and troubled youth programs. Gardening is even used in many places as a type of extension of therapy for people with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety. It can also be something we can bring into our own lives to help heal heartbreak.

Here are four reasons why you should try gardening after a breakup:

1) Looking after plants gives us a sense of responsibility

Having to care for plants and being responsible for their growth is a great way to shift the focus, look outside of ourselves and respect other living things. It makes us appreciate how amazing nature can be.

2) Gardening shows us that we can all be nurturers

Going through heartbreak can leave us feeling inadequate, incomplete and even incapable. Gardening and caring for plants and nature brings home the fact that we are all capable; no matter what flaws we believe we might have.

3) It’s relaxing

Flowers are beautiful to look at. They signify life, beauty, uniqueness and colour. They have no emotions or conflict and being around them and caring for them allows us to connect to that carefree energy. There’s nothing else to worry about when you’re so immersed. Plus the actual act of weeding, trimming, sowing and sweeping can be meditative and soothing. Many people say that gardening helps them suddenly find new perspectives.

4) Being around plants and flowers reminds us that nothing stays the same

So often we don’t want things to change and we get fixated on how things used to be; particularly during heartbreak. But being in nature can remind us that things aren’t supposed to stay the same and to embrace change with more ease. Flowers have their season of bloom and then they die so that new seeds can be planted. It can be a great reminder to live in the moment, be open to change and to know that things often happen exactly the way they’re supposed to in accordance with nature.

As they say, “keep calm and garden on.”

How To Know If You’re An HSP (Highly Sensitive Person)

If you tend to feel things on a deep level, you just might be an HSP – a Highly Sensitive Person. 

If you’re not sure what the definition of an HSP is, there are many indicators – feeling vulnerable to high sounds and chaotic situations and/or feeling every emotion on an intense level. It can feel like you’re going to extremes – so sadness can verge on depression and happiness can create feelings of euphoria. With HSPs, there doesn’t seem to be much middle ground. Therefore, life events like breakups and troubles in relationships can feel almost earth shattering.

If this resonates with you, you might want to check out The Highly Sensitive Person In Love which draws upon the author Elaine N. Aron’s research and offers practical help for highly sensitive people who want happier and healthier romantic relationships.

Aron reassures you if you are an HSP, there is nothing wrong with you. People who are highly sensitive often feel different, alone, or like there’s something wrong with them. They can be told, especially in relationships that they’re way too sensitive, which can be hard to deal with because that response can suggest the other person doesn’t care as much. It’s not that though – HSPs just feel things on a higher level than someone who isn’t.

Hsp

A great quote from the book says “We are a package deal. Our trait of sensitivity means we will also be cautious, inward, needing extra time alone. Because people without the trait (the majority) do not understand that, they see us as timid, shy, weak, or that greatest sin of all, unsociable. Fearing these labels, we try to be like others. But that leads to our becoming overaroused and distressed. Then that gets us labeled neurotic or crazy, first by others and then by ourselves.”

The book is a real comfort to people who might have previously felt like there’s something wrong with them. And also for those who want to understand a highly sensitive person better. It can help you see why certain things might have played out as they did with an ex, or why you couldn’t get your head around the emotional dynamic. 

How I Handle The Not-So-Rosy Days Of Singledom

As someone who has written an abundance of blog posts and articles about breakups and how to heal from them over the past 3 years, it would be wrong of me to portray the idea that the single life, although hugely fulfilling in many ways, is always empowering and rosy.

I really believe that so many of us are sad and lonely are times but don’t want to admit it. (That can actually be true when single and in a relationship too.)

Many people have remarked that as a coach who has a reputation for helping people with matters of the heart, why aren’t I in a relationship? Shouldn’t it be effortless for me? Surely I know ‘how’ to date perfectly? My response is always truthful and it’s no different from many other single women out there. I just haven’t met the right person yet.

I walk my talk in the sense that I have firm boundaries and I’m 100% clear on my wants and needs. 3 years of being single has given me that time to reflect and regroup and I’m not prepared to settle for something and someone that’s not fully aligned. And I’m ok with that. I’ve met some great guys and enjoyed the whole dating experience.

There are bad days though. Behind the scenes of my work where my passion is to help inspire, heal and uplift others on the daily, there have been other things going on that if I’m honest, have held me back from enjoying life at it’s fullest and finding a relationship. Over the past 18 months I’ve been dealing with multiple autoimmune illnesses, spent days at a time in bed and gone through numerous major food elimination protocols that haven’t worked. The accumulation of all of this has meant my quality of life has been quite the shadow of what it was when I was at the ‘peak’ of my singledom.

This post isn’t to whine and dwell about my health – I’m not a believer in that – but I do believe in being open about struggle. It’s what connects us and makes us feel less alone. Being single during this time has felt hard because it would often be so nice to just have someone to talk to, to take my mind off it and feel like part of a ‘team’. To share my experience with and to immerse myself in their life too. When you’re going through something alone it can feel all-consuming. Maybe it isn’t health for someone else reading this – maybe you’re going through a rough time in your job, within your family, perhaps some kind of loss. Maybe you just feel low.

Let’s call a spade a spade! Being single during those times can be hard.

However at the same time, this personal experience has also taught me even more about the importance of life, love, relationships and wellbeing. On the bad days, I allow myself to feel sad but on the flip side of that, it helps me get even more clear on what I do want. I journal, I meditate, I listen to my body, I create, I read, I use it as fuel. I see this as even more opportunity to know what it means to truly take care of yourself, what makes you happy and how important that’s going to be in or out of a relationship.

The truth is, a relationship would be nice-to-have and I’m fine with admitting that, but it wouldn’t ‘fix’ everything. It will come when the time is right and I’m open to that. Staying open, despite what’s going on means that you don’t have to stress about the when or the how. You just have to believe and trust.

Something else that also helps is to be grateful for the tiniest things. That weekend with family, a phone call with a friend, a beautiful walk in nature, gorgeous hot pink nail polish even! Keeping gratitude at the forefront of your mind is a serious life tonic. As my own life has been stripped back in many ways, I now see the joy and pleasure in those things I previously took for granted.

So if there’s any piece of advice I have for those bad days, it’s to firstly be ok with it. Don’t dwell but just be ok with feeling it. Be upset, angry, sad, lonely. Feel it and feel through it. Focus on your self-care. I know we hear so much about it and it can all sound a bit trite or like another platitude that gets thrown around, but it’s said so many times for good reason. Figure out what self-care is for you. Have gratitude for everyone or every little thing that makes you happy, smile or feel good. Feel proud about how much inner resilience you’re creating right now, even through the hot (or sometimes, not so hot) mess!

And then trust and believe that the right person is out there. They’ll show up exactly when they need to and your only job meanwhile is to be ok with where you are and live life to it’s fullest, whatever that means for you right now.

The Five Love Languages: Which One Do You Speak?

If a past relationship has caused you confusion when it comes to not knowing why you and your ex seemed to clash, or feeling like there was a deeper level of understanding that just wasn’t being reached, what I’m going to share today should really help.

There’s a fantastic and well-loved book called The Five Love Languageswritten by Gary D. Chapman, which is based on five universal ways that people express and interpret love. Oftentimes even though you might be in a relationship that’s great in many ways, if you don’t know your own love language or your partner’s it can cause blocks, arguments, misunderstandings and even cause the relationship to break down.

Love Language Book

So by being able to identify your own love language as well as your partner’s – or being aware of how to read a future partner’s, this will help to create more understanding, compassion, balance and harmony in a relationship.

Chapman believes that each person has one primary and one secondary love language (you can take a free quiz on his website to find out what your personal love languages are), and he talks about how people tend to give love in the way they prefer to receive love.

Let’s look at what the love languages are.

1) Words of Affirmation

Some people feel most loved when they receive words of affirmation from their loved ones. It may be being told “I love you”, being complimented, appreciated, supported, or encouraged.

2) Quality Time

For some people, it’s someone’s time and them being fully present that means the most, regardless of how often their partner tells them they love them or uses words of affirmation. This can be someone listening to you, doing things with you, sharing experiences with you and so on. Really being there in the moment is important – it’s not the same as being with someone whilst watching TV.

3) Receiving Gifts

Some people love to receive actual gifts and tokens of love. These can be big or small. Any gesture that is a gift will make you feel loved.

4) Acts of Service

This one is where people show you how much they care by their actions and things that they do for you that they know will mean something. So for example, cleaning the house, the laundry and helping with important tasks.

5) Physical Touch

Physical touch may be your primary love language if you need physical affection to feel loved. It could be being tactile, holding hands, kissing, hugging or sex.

From that list, is there one that immediately stands out to you? 

Another really helpful concept that Chapman also introduces is the “love tank” – that when your “love tank” is empty, that’s when a relationship will suffer. So if you’re not receiving love in your love language, you can feel depleted and might even start to withdraw from your partner. And of course, if your partner is experiencing this too, they might do the same. That can lead to tons of confusion because in your eyes, you probably feel you’re doing everything you can to show love for your partner and it isn’t being noticed. And vice versa.

Having more insight has the power to transform relationships, but it can also be helpful if you’re single right now. If you’re single and you know your love language, you can fill your own “love tank” by showing love for yourself in that way too.

Ultimately, this book reminds us that relationships aren’t as transactional as we can sometimes make them. A big part of a harmonious and healthy relationship is understanding, which leads to both people doing what they can to meet their partner’s needs. To focus on giving and not getting. And of course, it also applies to friendships and family relationships too.

How To Break Up With Someone When You’re Scared of Being Alone

Sometimes, the thought of staying in a relationship that you’re not happy in can be easier than walking away and facing the fear of being alone, especially if there isn’t anything particularly ‘wrong’ with the relationship. Even if the person you’re with isn’t treating you right or is behaving in ways that go against your values, staying with them can feel like the safest option.

What’s important to ask yourself when going through this, though, is that while you might fear being lonely out of the relationship, are you already feeling a sense of loneliness and unhappiness in the relationship itself?

Your worries about stepping into the unknown are absolutely normal and it’s probably comforting to know that everyone feels that at some point. It’s scary. Especially if you’ve been in your relationship for a while or are used to being in a relationship. But all it is, is the unknown. What you gain from stepping out of something that isn’t making you happy, is the chance to embrace yourself and your life on your own terms. To take back control of your life and make what you want to happen, happen.

A great tip is to use journaling to work through this. Just take even 10 minutes to sit and write about everything that’s going though your mind. What you’re scared of. Your fears. Let it all out and don’t judge what’s coming out onto the page. What this can do is help you to get perspective and see that many of your worries are probably things that you don’t even know to be true because they’re in the future. When you reflect back on your words, you can also start to find solutions easier.

That fear can also be a signpost to show you that having time alone to reconnect with yourself is probably the thing you need the most. To do things you love, rediscover who you are, your passions, what you want, your goals and values. The period after a breakup can be overwhelming at first, but it’s also such a gift. So try and see this as an opportunity.

If you know your relationship isn’t right, step away from it. You have the strength to get through that more than you realize. You also have the power to be responsible for your own happiness. The unknown might feel scary right now, but soon you will thank yourself for giving yourself the freedom and fulfillment you’re not able to feel in this relationship.

The right one will be out there. Remember, the end of this relationship is the pathway to a better one when the time is right.

Four Signs That You Should Take A Break From Dating

Dating, although great fun, can sometimes feel like more of a hindrance to your sense of well-being. If you’re feeling frustrated or just burned out by the whole dating game, here are a few signs that it could be time to take a break:

1) It’s starting to feel like an obligation

Dating should be something you feel excited by and want to do, not something you feel you ‘have’ to do. If you’re resenting the time you’re spending going on dates or interacting with people online, you won’t be approaching it with the right energy, meaning it just won’t be fun for you.

Try taking a break – even for a few weeks and use this time to do the things you really want to do instead. You’ll feel far more fulfilled, refreshed and will possibly end up meeting people more naturally that way!

2) You’re using dating as your main chance at happiness

Dating can be a bit of a numbers game, which means it can be somewhat hit or miss. So it’s really important to be relaxed and have an ‘abundant’ mentality with it. If you’re approaching it from a place of scarcity and seeing every date or potential person as your only opportunity for fulfillment, you’re going to be setting yourself up for disappointment and hurt if that doesn’t work out.

The less outcome dependent you can be about dating, the more you’ll enjoy it as an experience. If you’re pinning everything on meeting someone, taking a step back to fill your life up with things you love and to reassess what makes you happy as you, will be a far more rewarding experience. You’ll also be setting yourself up better to enjoy dating when the time is right.

3) You’re dating because you know your ex has met someone

Knowing your ex has met someone else can be heartbreaking, and pile on the pressure for you to do so even more. But ultimately, if you’re dating mainly for this reason, it’s really a sign that you’re not genuinely ready. That’s okay, as now is the time to define happiness on your terms, not your ex’s.

You’ll be in a much better place to meet someone when you don’t feel that pressure or when dating isn’t in any way a response to your ex. So focus on you. Do what you love, commit to your goals and spend time with the people you love instead of feeling like you have to date.

4) You’re feeling entirely disillusioned and your self-esteem has taken a knock after a string of bad dates

There’s a certain amount of emotional resilience needed to date, especially in the world of dating online. It’s common to feel disheartened every now and then. So if you’ve had some bad dates and they’ve left you feeling low in confidence or hopeless, try taking a little break.

This isn’t about advising you to give up – after all, every date that didn’t work out is a step closer to the one that will! But when you’re in a place of feeling this way, giving yourself some time out for an emotional pep-up can be all you need to get back out there refreshed and positive again. It can also help you to get perspective on what’s not working for you and reassess how you’re dating or the type of people you’re dating.

Taking a break from dating is no bad thing. In fact, it will set you up so much better for when you do feel ready again. Whether it’s a few weeks or months, do what feels right and good for you. The right person will show up when you’re feeling confident, positive and even a little excited about dating.

How Art Therapy Can Help You Mend Post-Breakup

Art therapy has been proven to be an incredibly healing practice. It can be described as using the creative process of art to express yourself, heal, find comfort and process emotions.

An art therapist can help you see things about yourself that you may not have recognized otherwise. It’s a very gentle yet effective form of therapy. Sessions can help you deal with emotions and feelings that you are struggling with, so you can really begin healing. Art therapy is something that’s becoming more common and accessible, and the therapist will use the modality of creative art in many forms such as painting, drawing, sculpting and coloring to guide you through the process of creative expression. They can also offer you insights without judgement on what your creations show about various aspects of yourself.

Art therapy is really about self-exploration. It can help you realize things about yourself that you might have been burying or overlooking. One of the best effects of art therapy is a sense of relief and release.

Anyone can benefit from art therapy so if you are curious, don’t worry about having to be good at art or that you have to be an ‘artist’ for it to benefit you. It’s not about judgement or the end result, it’s about healing and expression. So it’s easily something you can do on your own to just relieve stress, discover yourself in new ways and heal. It’s also something you can do with other people.

Here are a few ideas on some art therapy techniques you can use at home:

Draw or paint your emotions and what you’re feeling. This can be really useful if you struggle to articulate out loud or in your own mind what emotions you’re experiencing. Just go with the feeling and open up a blank page to see what comes out.

Turn up the music and draw or paint whatever you feel inspired by. This can be a great art therapy technique used to relax you. Immerse yourself in the music and moment and just draw or create whatever you feel called to.

Finger paint. This can be a really fun one and a way to unleash your inner child again. Therapists recommend getting your fingers really messy and to have fun with colors and patterns. This can be a wonderful technique for releasing pent up emotions and relieving tension and stress.

Coloring.  Over recent years, adult coloring books have become incredibly popular, and for good reason! The simple act of coloring can be a great way to wind down and relax. There are many books out there ranging from patterns to mandalas to images so go with what you feel most drawn to.

Take photos of things you love. Even if you don’t consider yourself a photographer, try taking photographs of anything you think is beautiful. It can even just be on your phone, don’t feel you need any fancy equipment. Then you can either just have them to refer to or you can print them to be reminded of those things daily. This is a great one to create a feeling of gratitude and love.

How To Know If You Were Dating A Narcissist And How To Recover From It

Dating a narcissist can be one of those realizations that suddenly creeps up on you. You can lose yourself and it’s easy to underestimate the detrimental effects the experience can have.

Signs of narcissism include making you believe you’re crazy or high maintenance, lying, emotional manipulation, making you think everything is your fault, someone who doesn’t recognize your needs but expects you to honor theirs and to admire everything about them. Then of course, there’s using people for their own gain. The list goes on. Being in a relationship with a narcissist can slowly but very surely shatter your self-worth, self-esteem and constantly lead you to question your own judgement.

Here are some tips on recovering from dating a narcissist. To be able to heal, come back to your true self and day by day, move forwards.

1) Know it isn’t your fault

Narcissists have a manipulative and clever way of drawing others in. Oftentimes, you can’t see it while it’s happening so don’t blame yourself. It isn’t your fault. Try and make peace with yourself on that because there isn’t anything you could have done. You’re out now and that’s all that matters.

2) Don’t contact your ex

Your ex might try to draw you back in by telling you what you want to hear or making you believe it was your fault. Don’t fall into this trap – go by what history has already taught you and cut off all contact.

3) Don’t feel bad about missing that person and relationship

Forgive yourself for feeling any guilt or shame around mourning the relationship and that person. It still meant something. It’s natural to need to grieve that. Allow yourself to. When you can release any feelings of guilt, you can begin to let go and move forward.

4) Give yourself everything you need

Channel self love and kindness to yourself. Create self love rituals. Now is the time to really amp up this practice. Take time out alone if you need to. Spend time with people who love and nurture you and always make nurturing yourself a priority.

5) Find something positive to channel your energy into

Start a new creative project, find a new hobby or go back to an old one. Part of recovering from this experience is re-discovering yourself. Immerse yourself in positive, fun things that make you feel good or like you’re learning or growing in some way. Find things to be passionate about. It will be an amazing release for you, therapeutic and a positive distraction.

6) Use this experience for good

Although you might not feel this was a good experience, it has allowed you to see that narcissism also commonly comes attractively wrapped with qualities such as charm and charisma. If you tend to fall for these qualities, you now know to look a bit deeper – what else does their personality show about them? Are there any red flags?

Remember, your experiences teach you valuable information about relationships, behaviors, yourself and what you want moving forwards. Take however much time you need to recover and know you’re not alone. Also know that you are still whole and enough. You are not broken and this was a stepping-stone to something and someone much better.

How Do You Move On After A Breakup If You Still Have To See Your Ex?

Being able to move on after a breakup when you have to see your ex can be a tricky one to handle. Ultimately, it’s all about boundaries.

First of all, it’s about establishing a neutral ground where you and your ex can interact and communicate in a way that is as simple and easy for you both as possible. Of course, there are going to be mixed feelings there and perhaps urges to be emotional on some occasions where you see each other. But if you can both agree to keep any of the emotions, feelings and breakup drama out of the place or circumstance where you need to interact, it helps to keep the atmosphere calm, steady and alleviate stress.

Then it’s about dealing with the task at hand. If you work together, you agree that all communication is work related and that there’s no communication outside of that. If it’s because you have kids, you keep the peace, for your children’s sake, speak when necessary (to make arrangements and so on) and always put their interests and feelings first.

When you know you have to stay in contact because of shared obligations, also know that there’s a difference between being friendly and being friends. Just because you have to see your ex, it doesn’t mean you automatically have to be friends with them – or at least yet. It isn’t an all or nothing thing and this is why establishing boundaries is crucial.

True friendship means two people care about each other’s well-being and have one another’s best interest at heart. By the time many relationships end though, it’s often questionable whether both people involved can genuinely offer this kind of care and support for each other. It’s a high expectation to be friends with someone who hurt you. Plus, it sets you up to continue being hurt. But choosing to just be friendly, polite and detached means you can at least take that step back that you need, to heal without feeling like you owe your ex anything.

The more you time you invest in putting your own self-care and healing first, spending time around people who love you and make you feel good and doing the things you love to do, even whilst you have to see your ex, it will get easier.

Top Ten Instagram Accounts To Follow For Self Care

Instagram can be an amazing place to turn to when you’re not feeling that great, but only if you’re following the right people who will lift you up! Here are ten of our favorite Instagram accounts to follow for self care.

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@doingwell

Doing Well is the beautiful home of NYC integrative nutritionist Daphne Javitch. After facing her own health challenges, Doing Well was Daphne’s way of sharing what she had learned about using food and wellness to heal. Each caption is packed with tips and tricks that you can apply to your own life.

Alex Elle

@alex_elle

Created by author, poet and podcast host Alexandra Elle, this instagram account shares snippets of Alexandra’s inspirational poetry. Whatever one you happen to read, it somehow always seems to be the thing you need in the moment.

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@zerowastehome

Bea Johnson is one of the mothers of the zero waste movement, and her feed will help you simplify your life and find a gentler way to live. Thinking about your impact on the planet and how to live a more sustainable lifestyle is a great way to take care of yourself that also gives back to the planet and to your community. Bea’s feed is an inspiring place to start this journey!

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@drmarkhyman

Dr. Mark Hyman is a 13x NYT bestselling author and internationally recognized doctor who specializes in functional medicine. We love his feed because he’s an expert when it comes to how we nourish ourselves with food, and he shares his expertise in a way that’s easy to apply to your own life. Follow him for inspiration on eating, recipes and wellbeing advice that is rooted in the latest research on human health.

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@motheryin_

Mother Yin helps you balance your mind, body and soul. Founded by meditation teacher Sara Shah, Mother Yin has a foundation in mindfulness and incorporates modern and ancient approaches to women’s health and wellness. We love the calm vibes of their feed, and they also send out a wonderful newsletter we highly recommend!

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@katiedalebout

Katie Dalebout is a podcaster and author of Let It Out, a space for soft stories. Her feed is raw, real and thought provoking, all with the emphasis on wellbeing and living a life that’s explorative, connected and ever evolving.

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@loomhq

LOOM is focused on health education for everyone, from periods to parenting. We are big fans of the movement they are building with their physical center in LA, classes, services and events. Co-founded by doula and educator Erica Chidi Cohen (above), LOOM isn’t afraid to have the conversations no one else is having.

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@avivaromm

Dr. Aviva Romm is a Yale MD who takes a more holistic approach to health, and her feed is full of wellness and self care advice that can make a big difference in how you feel. We love that she focuses on natural and herbal remedies whenever possible – she’s been dubbed “the modern medicine woman” because of her integrated approach to medicine.

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@cleowade

Cleo Wade is an author, activist and community builder, known for her books Heart Talk and Where To Begin. We love her feed because it’s filled with her inspiring poetry and thoughts on love, friendship and life. She’s not afraid to be vulnerable and we love her for that.

Letsmend

@letsmend

Well, we couldn’t leave our own instagram out of this list! We don’t encourage a lot of Instagram use during a breakup because it can so easily turn into a self destructive tool, but we do have a lot of saved stories and content on our feed that we hope will inspire you, comfort you and make you laugh.

If you’re going to be using Instagram, make sure it’s a feed of inspiration (instead of one of dread!)

The Mend Guide to Post Breakup Retreats in 2017 (Part II)

Hey, Menders! We loved bringing you our 2017 Mend Guide to Retreats earlier this year. Today we’re sharing even more trips and retreats to help you find peace and healing post-breakup this year. (Note: While these specific retreat dates have passed, many of these centers host events year-round, so we recommend checking their sites for up-to-date information.)

In case you missed it, we’ve also shared how to mend in San Francisco, Westside LA, Eastside LA and Central LA.

Ananda

(Source: healthandfitnesstravel.com)

Ayurvedic Rejuvenation at Ananda in the Himalayas, India (August 2017)

If you’re looking to completely rejuvenate and create body and emotional balance, check out this Ayurveda retreat during India’s magical monsoon. The climate is a prime time to undergo the cleansing “Panchkarma” therapies that the retreat offers. The moist air helps to loosen the skin and the cooler climate improves digestion and blood circulation.

At this 100-acre spa situated above the Ganges river valley, you can mend with Ayurvedic treatments, private yoga and meditation sessions, talks on Vedic philosophy and meals tailored to your body type. The retreat is available for 7, 14 or 21 nights.

Unplug Bali

(Source: www.unplugmeditation.com)

Unplug in Bali Meditation and Yoga Retreat (September 24th – 30th 2017)

One of our favorite LA meditation studios Unplug is holding its very first retreat in Bali.

The retreat will include daily meditation, yoga, deluxe spa treatments, and clean organic food, all designed to bring your body and mind into balance and leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Unplug teachers Paul Teodo and Leah Santa Cruz (who now live in Bali) will show you all the best shopping, food and culture spots as well as offering their professional expertise to leave you feeling inspired, supported, energized and re-centered.

Girls Surf

(Source: www.apura-yoga.com)

Girls Surf and Yoga Retreat in Portugal (September 17th – 24th 2017)

The All Girls Surf and Yoga Retreat by Apura Yoga is a women-only event in Portugal and the perfect alternative if you’re looking for something that’s active and challenging, yet relaxing. The retreat is ideal whether you’re looking to improve your surfing skills or are a complete newbie.

It has internationally licensed surf coaches who tailor the lessons specifically for lady surfers. Your day will also include vinyasa yoga in the morning and a restorative yoga practice in the evening. Fun, sun, sisterhood and yoga – what could be better!

Boutique Yoga

(Source: www.ibizaretreats.com)

Boutique Yoga and Detox Retreat, Ibiza (September 14th – 18th, October 12th – 16th)

Why not jet away to the stunning sunshine of southwest Ibiza and enjoy a holistic detox experience for the mind, body and soul.

The retreat offers a nourishing sanctuary to rest and reset the body and mind. It’s geared towards those who want to create a new journey in putting their wellbeing first, and includes sessions on detoxification and how self-care can be a pleasurable and fun experience. You will be provided with healthy food and juices as well as supportive cleansing therapies.

The hosts offer top quality yoga sessions, sensual treats, a breathtaking clifftop meditation, a range of deeply healing therapies, organic and delicious meals and high-end pampering.

Spirit Rock

(Source: www.spiritrock.org)

Embodied Heart, Embodied Wisdom Retreat at Spirit Rock (August 25th – 29th)

Spirit Rock, a world-renowned meditation center in the rolling hills of Northern California is running a retreat on how to live a more joyful, mindful and embodied life.

This retreat will include guided meditations, dharma talks, walking and sitting practice as well as sessions with the teachers. It’s geared towards people who are newer to the idea of mind, body, soul concepts as well as those who are seeking to embody their wisdom more fully.

It focuses on meditation, showing guests that this can offer the opportunity to connect deeply with your body and the present moment experience.

Pro tip: Spirit Rock offers a sliding payment scale for their offerings.

Why Men Seem To Move On Faster After A Breakup

There are many stereotypes about how heterosexual men and women deal with breakups, and one of the most common stereotypes is that men move on faster than women. But do they actually move on faster?

According to relationship and body language expert Katia Loisel, men and women are wired differently when it comes to dealing with breakups.  Men commonly use distraction and denial as a way to cope with their emotions when going through a breakup. Women, on the other hand, tend to talk about their feelings and emotions more – they really feel them as opposed to suppressing them. There is also research that shows women may remain celibate for a period of time after a breakup, whereas men are more likely to sleep with someone sooner.

And then there’s a 2015 study by Birmingham University, which suggests that women feel pain on a different level after a breakup. The study of over 5000 participants suggests men still experience emotional pain but as a bit of time goes on, they feel they must ‘start competing’ all over again to replace what they lost.

Hookups and casual relationships can also release feel good hormones including dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine, which give the emotional illusion of dulling the pain of heartache. This is a short-term ‘fix’ though, and because of how men are wired, they tend to opt for this instead of facing their emotions head on and working through them.

So if your male ex has started to date someone else, don’t take it as a sign they aren’t in pain or they don’t care. It doesn’t mean they’ve moved on from the relationship faster. As science has shown, it may just be a coping mechanism that men are more prone to than women. 

At the end of the day, no one can really know the true extent of someone’s pain, and the best way forward is to turn inward and focus on your own mending process. If you find yourself stuck in the comparison game with your ex, just remind yourself of this quote: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”