By Elisa Kelarre

Life after a failed relationship isn’t easy: you are bound to reinvent yourself, to re-adapt into a world that is no longer made for two. The truth is, there is no single formula on how to start over again, just as there is no single formula on how to loose those extra holiday pounds from last summer: you have to carefully listen to your body, and only you know your metabolism is omg-so unique.

But back to relationships: Every background is different. Do you share the same group of friends or workplace with your ex? Are you close to each other’s families? Did you end up on “good terms”? Does it still hurt to call him “ex”? Whether you are the one who made the final decision or not, you must rebuild your life. You are on your own now (think of it as liberated!). And you have to fill the holes left by him (or her) with other people and new interests. You might be still in a dark place. You might think that there is nothing good enough to replace him, or you might think that without him you are not as special.

But here is a fact: You are still the same person. Seriously! That funny, active, creative, extraordinary human being that you are is still right here, but only more wise, more mature, and you probably know better what is best for you now.

I won’t call them rules, but here are some hints that will help you focus on what is important while recovering from a breakup:

Take the chance to start anew.

Breaking up with someone can be a wake up call on how are we directing our life. Perhaps after you broke up, you realize how much you prioritized your ex. Perhaps there was nothing else that you considered meaningful and of your own. I encourage you to take a moment and think. You are free to take on any project you want. Who do you want be? Where do you want your life to go to?

Recap with your friends.

Wait, are you one of those gals that stopped being a gal when in a ferocious relationship with this guy? We get it; it does happen. This new relationship absorbed so much from you that you stopped seeing most of your friends. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons your relationship didn’t work either, as you relayed all your emotional needs in a single person. Now, you find yourself and don’t know how to approach your old friends… Truth? Well, don’t worry, if they are truly good friends they’ll understand you. Explain your situation to them, be kind and do not demand instant complicity: things will not be the same from one day to the other, so don’t rush it and give it time. Also, don’t do it again when the new perfect guy shows up.

Make new friends.

Look at your mobile apps. Do you see this cute white logo, the one that says “Hey!”? That’s your new best friend. Trust me. Before you get into other business your broken heart is not ready for yet (think: app with red flame logo), realize this is the time to meet new people. Be bold and take the chance to meet up with friends. New lifestyles and activities will bring you to places and environments that are safe. Go to places that don’t have strong associations with your ex. Build new memories.

Rebounds help (…sometimes). 

Having a rebound is fun and it can be healthy, as it makes you come out of your cave, put some makeup on, and see the light of the day (or the light of the club). It can be very exciting but hey, it can also be disappointing. It ain’t gonna feel as exciting or fulfilling as when you were in love. Still, if you want, take the chance of experiencing something new and fresh where there are no resentments, lies or disappointments (yet). It is just a blank page you can start writing whatever you want to write on it. Be careful though! Protect yourself!

Do what feels right for you.

If sometimes you feel like being alone, watching a depressing film and letting your tears come out, do it. Sometimes, you just have to let the emotions out. The sooner you cry out everything you have to cry, the sooner a smile will come up your face. If you feel like partying, do it. Perhaps you feel like being active and exercising nonstop. That’s really good too. The important thing is that you feel complete and treat yourself. Just do all of it with the right balance.

Contact or no contact.

Ah, this is complicated. It really depends on every breakup. Sometimes your ex is still your best friend and will help you go through the adaptation to your new situation. But most of the time, it is just better that you do your own thing for a while. You probably won’t want to know when your ex meets a new girl or has an amazing trip planned for the summer. If this person was toxic for you or you realize that even after breaking up you are still too dependent on him, don’t doubt trying stronger measures: temporary unfollow him on social networks and delete him from your phone contacts. These can seem extreme, but will let you give yourself the space you really need. When you’re feeling down, call your favorite gal and talk it out with her.

This article was originally published on VINAZINE.