One of the things I’m often asked as a sex and relationship blogger is “what advice would you give to single people?” I was actually asked this during the live relationship and sex chat I did for Sun Media a few weeks ago (which you can view here!) and I gave the answer I always give: take this time to work on yourself. Stop worrying about being single and instead work on building a happy life for yourself. Do this and you’ll attract the right kind of equally happy people into your life. Besides, relationships are great and all, but they do take up time. Use the time you have now to do all that “you stuff” that you’ve always wanted to do: like starting that daunting project or business, taking that dance class and getting your emotional baggage sorted out so that you can enjoy your life as is. In other words, take this time to fall in love with yourself before you fall in love with someone else.
It’s been approximately 1 year and 4 months since the big break-up, and almost a year exactly since I let go of a rebound situation that wasn’t working out. Recent dating adventures aside, I’ve spent most of the past year alone, working on myself. When I look at how I felt a year ago versus how I feel now, it’s mind boggling how much has changed. I have the feeling when I look back at this era of my life, I’ll remember 2012-2013 as the year I fell back in love with being me.
Everyone is different, however here are a few things that helped me feel happier over the past year. If you’re also working through a transitional period they might help you too.
Being single is the perfect time to invest in yourself. And by “invest in yourself” I don’t mean “your closet.” Although there’s definitely a time and a place for a post break-up wardrobe spruce up, what I’m really talking about is investing some time and possibly some money in the not-quite-as-shiny-but-good-for-you stuff that really matters. Learning to spend on the right things for me meant prioritizing self care and my health (like forking out the money for chiropractic & dental appointments). However, the best investment I’ve made over the past year has been the time and money I spent on counselling. At the end of 2011 I was still really struggling with anxiety and was holding on to a lot of negative thoughts, guilt, sadness and just felt “stuck” – emotionally and career wise. Talking to someone about these feelings was one of the best things I have ever done. I’m still a work in progress, but therapy has helped me break the negative cycle of emotional hoarding that dominated my life for so long. I now feel lighter, happier and like I am better equipped to deal with challenges. Unfortunately, I feel like there’s still a stigma associated with seeing a therapist, which makes me sad because it’s helped me so much.
Taking care of all the emotional “stuff” freed up a lot of space for me to think about other things like my goals. One of my other favourite investments was participating in the Stratejoy Holiday Council. The course helped me let go of negative stuff from the past year and plan for an amazing 2013. The work I did with Stratejoy helped me break down my goals for the year into manageable parts. I’m working on one or two main projects per month and I’m actually getting sh*t done. It feels amazing. If you’re looking to fall back in love with your life, I highly recommend checking out some of Molly’s courses. She’s awesome & kind of magical!
(With that said, I don’t think I would have got as much out of the Holiday Council if I hadn’t worked through all the emotional stuff first via the counselling I did earlier in the year)
Therapy for the emotional stuff & Life Coaching for the practical stuff – this is the formula that worked for me, however it might not work for you. One of my best friends found peace of mind after going to a retreat in the Amazon jungle where she received healing from a shaman. The lesson here: do whatever works for you. Unlike other purchases I’ve made in the past, the time & money I’ve invested in my own personal growth has been worth every single penny. You can’t put a price on focus and peace of mind.
Feeling lost? Re-connect with something that you love. As I’ve mentioned before, music has always been a big part of my life. However, following the big breakup it actually hurt to listen to most of my music. When I was dealing with the aftermath of the breakup, I just didn’t want to feel a lot of the things my favourite songs made me feel. However, a few months ago I came to the conclusion that my iPod needed a serious overhaul. In December I bought Jessie Ware’s album “Devotion” (the first actual album I’ve purchased in years) and promptly fell in love with her music.
Learning something new makes you feel good about yourself. Looking to fall in back in love with your life? Push through the fear and learn that thing you’ve always wanted to know how to do. That thing for me was to learn how to use Adobe Illustrator – something I finally tackled two weeks ago. For my first project I made a vision board for 2013 – one of my Stratejoy Holiday Council assignments. I chose images that represented how I want my 2013 to look and feel. I’m really happy with the results!
It may not seem like much to other people, but learning how to use Adobe Illustrator has been on my to-do list forever. I’m a huge procrastinator and I can’t say whether I would have crossed it off my list had I not invested my time and resources into getting help with my goal planning. Since creating that vision board I’ve moved on to more complicated design projects like re-doing my CV and the marketing materials for Skinny Dip (which I can’t wait to show you guys – they’re pretty!)
I want 2013 to be a year full of healthy living, travel, mindfulness, creativity and sparkle – all things that will allow me to fall deeper in love with my life. So I decided my theme for the year would be “Shine.” One of my favourite quotes from my vision board is “do more of what makes you awesome” which to me is exactly what my theme is about: stripping away all of the BS & doing things that allow you to be the best version of yourself. Having a yearly theme has really helped me make better, more clearcut decisions. Lately, whenever I’m faced with a decision I’ll ask myself: “Will doing ______ help further my theme for the year?” If my gut tells me “no”, I walk away or make a different choice.
Lastly, one of the most important things I’ve learned over the past year is this: if you want to change your life you actually have to do the work. For example, being active and getting regular, sweaty exercise is part of who I am. Coming to this realization was easy, however putting it into action and doing the work – forcing myself to go to the gym, changing my eating habits etc – was the hard part. You can make all the vision boards you want but if you don’t actually do the work, nothing will happen.
Getting back into shape has been great however, I’ve realized there’s something else I also need to do: I need to dance. I spent from ages 5-21 dancing Ballet and I miss it terribly. I’ve wanted to get back into taking classes for a couple of years now but I keep putting it off, making excuses like, “I’ll do it once I’m in perfect physical shape again” or “I’ll sign up for classes when I’m making more money” As a freelancer my income fluctuates a lot, however I always seem to find the extra cash for things like shoes and wine….why not a dance class?! Even though business has been slow since January I’ve decided I’m going to finally sign up for that dance class. If not now, then when?!
One of the cool things I’ve learned so far is that once you start actually making things happen, it becomes like a domino effect – you do one thing, then another until you realize that maybe all of your goals aren’t as scary as you once thought they were. It’s a good feeling.
Re-connect. Learn. Shine. Activate. Do more of what makes you awesome.
Fall back in love with yourself.
What’s your theme for 2013?