We all know the scene. Lying listlessly on the couch in your oldest pair of sweatpants, day-old Spaghetti O’s matted to your unwashed hair while you watch Sleepless in Seattle for the 5th time in a row. You’ve just gone through a break up and you’re fairly certain that this is what your future looks like:

And sure, maybe becoming a spandex-clad cat lady/vigilante isn’t the worst fate in the world, but it wasn’t exactly what you had envisioned for your life. If this sounds like you (or someone you know), perhaps you’d benefit from the Cat-Lady-in-Chief’s tips on how to survive a breakup:

Tip #1: Go wash your hair and go outside

It may be hard, but I know from personal experience that you’ll feel better when you’re not inhaling mold spores from the Spaghetti O’s in your hair. In all seriousness, experiencing the type of heartache that coincides with a tough breakup can make it difficult to get out of bed, let alone maintain your basic self-care routines and get out of the house. However, it’s precisely at these moments that maintaining good habits (like exercise and hygiene) and returning to normalcy becomes most important. The temptation to dwell on the pain and ask yourself all of those familiar “what if” questions will only serve to lengthen the healing process.

Tip #2: Give yourself space to grieve

“But wait…you just said to wash my hair and go outside…aren’t you contradicting yourself?” First of all, how dare you question my authority! Second of all, yes. Yes I am…kind of. If you’re at all familiar with being human, you’ve likely noticed that people tend to gravitate towards extremes. While some people would prefer to soak their jammies in tears everyday for the next month, others will be all too eager to bounce back and, as a result, may undermine their very natural (and necessary) response to heartache. Healing is a process. It may take some time to feel like you’re back to 100% again and that’s okay! Allow yourself a reasonable amount of time to own your emotions and process what just happened before trying to move on to the next best thing.

Tip #3: Reconnect with your friends

Do you remember all of those people you used to hang out with before you got into a relationship? Those are called “friends” and now is the time to reconnect with them. When you experience those first pangs of infatuation, it’s normal to want to spend every waking hour with your boo thang and you might have neglected some of your friends in the process. However, if they’re worth their weight in salt, they’ll be happy to have you back in their life and will be there for you in your time of need. Whatever you do, don’t isolate yourself from the people who love you. Now more than ever, you need their encouragement and support.

Tip #4: Treat yourself!

Go to the spa. Get your nails done. Get some tasty food with friends. You’ll be surprised at how much better you’ll feel after a nice, relaxing self-care day.

Above all, remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel. It may be hard to see it now, but pain and sadness are temporary states. And you may find that, at the end of it all, the insights you’ve gained through the experience have made you a happier, healthier, and more fulfilled human being. You’ve got this!

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