10 Ways Taking A Break From Relationships Will Help You Reclaim Your Life

Photo: getty
how to get over a breakup

You deserve time to yourself.

Taking a time-out to be single is a thing that I do sometimes when I need to reset, recharge, and generally focus on self-care. I recently went through a difficult breakup, and in the past my immediate response for how to get over a breakup was to get right back out there and find another.

I don't even do it because I'm afraid to be alone or even because I'm feeling particularly lonely. Sometimes, a new interest is how I distract from the feelings about the breakup. It also helps me feel like I'm moving forward, even if, in my heart, I feel stuck.

At other times in my life, I've chosen to take a break from relationships for other reasons. Namely, distasteful experiences in the world of dating have driven me to happily declare myself single. There are only so many d*ck pics I can screen before I toss my phone aside in disgust that our culture has normalized this behavior.

An occasional break from looking for relationships has helped me when I've felt overwhelmed with these experiences.

But there have also been periods when I just need time to and for myself. Times when I want to focus on my own interests and intentions without the distraction of a love affair. Turning inward and releasing myself from the pressures of being in a relationship can become a restorative practice, a retreat of sorts.

If we think of how much energy relationships consume, even when we're just dating casually, we'll see that it absorbs so much of our time and attention. Sometimes that time and attention needs to be focused on ourselves.

Regardless of why we've come to find ourselves deep into a relationship sabbatical, it's an important component of how to get over a breakup. It's important that we make the most of it.

RELATED: 20 Crucial Things You Must Do IMMEDIATELY After A Breakup

Even if we only take small amounts of time to ourselves, that time is precious. Here are a few ideas to get the most out of this restorative break:

1. You have time to learn something new.

Whether it's a new hobby or even a new language, we can make this a time to grow as a person. I began learning Italian just because I'd always loved the way it sounded. Listening to podcasts and TED talks also helps me broaden my horizons and discover new things.

2. You can say "yes" to new experiences.

We can try something we've never done before. It could be a new type of food or a new activity. We can branch out and see what kind of things we might like if we just gave them a chance.

3. You find the power to say no to commitments that don't serve you.

Just as it's important to say yes to new things, it's important to reevaluate our priorities and to make sure that we're only committing to things (and even to people) where we feel our time is honored.

If an activity or relationship drains us and leaves us feeling empty or heavy, that's a sign that we need to eliminate it from our lives. We need to stop giving away so much of our time to things that don't serve us.

4. You make time to create.

Our talents and interests likely differ, but we can all take the time to create something. The options are nearly endless. We can paint a canvas, sculpt with clay (Play-Doh will work in a pinch and is great for stress relief), color a picture, make a collage, or build something.

During a previous relationship time out, I took the time to make a collage on a vision board to remind me of my intentions for my life. It gave me a sense of focus, and I hung it up where I would pass it each day.

5. You create a daily self-care routine.

Creating a routine will help us when we do decide to participate in relationships. It's important that we take the time for ourselves now so that we can incorporate that into our lives in a way that can include future relationships.

Self-care can be yoga or meditation, a skin care routine, aromatherapy in the shower, or really anything that makes us feel better.

6. You learn to treat yourself the way you hope a future partner will treat you.

This may mean that we buy ourselves flowers or take ourselves out on dates. In the words of Rudy Francisco, “Perhaps we should love ourselves so fiercely that when others see us they know exactly how it should be done.”

RELATED: 10 Quotes To Help You Move On After A Heart-Wrenching Breakup

7. You become stronger.

Sure, we could always focus on weight, but there are so many other health factors we could look at to improve ourselves during this sabbatical. We can try to make our bodies healthy and strong rather than thin.

To do this, we eat healthy foods, drink lots of water, and participate in a form of exercise. We can improve our strength and endurance and not just change a number on a scale.

8. You can spend more time in nature.

When the weather allows, taking more time to be outdoors is a great way to boost our moods and reconnect with ourselves. A simple walk out of doors will do it, but hikes and forest bathing are ways to get that connection with the wider world.

9. You can unplug from technology.

We can take periods of time where we disconnect from social media and entertainment and connect instead to the people around us. Even when we're not involved in a romantic relationship, we still have other relationships in our lives. We can make sure that we give the ones we love our undivided attention.

10. You get more organized.

This may seem like the least fun suggestion ever, but while we're taking this break, it might be useful to clear out junk in our environment as well. We can figure out what items we keep in our homes (and cars) that we don't need, and either recycle, upcycle, donate, or throw them out.

As a parent, I often have to sort through my children's toys to reduce clutter. But this is also a great time to get more organized and even come up with a simpler cleaning routine to keep our environments more shipshape. As much as I hate cleaning, it's a great feeling to see our sparkly outer environments begin to match the inner space we're busy developing.

When we take a break from being in relationships, it can be easy to lose track of the time while we're binge-watching Netflix or scrolling through the funniest memes on social media. It can even be easy to fall into the trap of feeling lonely.

But taking time just to be single and enjoy it is a gift to ourselves, one that we can use to improve our lives and to show others exactly how we deserve to be loved.

RELATED: Was Your Ex Literally The Worst? 5 Ways You Can Bounce Back And Move ON

Crystal Jackson is a former family therapist who now spends her days writing. Her work includes blog posts, poetry, short stories, children's books, and literary fiction. You can connect with Crystal on FacebookInstagram or Medium at CrystalJackson.writer.