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50 Things to Do When You're Sad and Lonely

I saw an article on Facebook the other day that said June is the month when the most breakups happen. And two days later I got dumped. Big time.

I've had my share of heartbreak, or more than. And I'm going through it again right now. My boyfriend of almost-a-year broke up with me a week ago today. So this is for me, just as much as it is for you...things I've learned in past heartbreaks and things I'm learning now that help ease the pain a little bit.

There's no way to erase the pain of feeling sad and lonely. There just isn't. Trust me, I sure wish my Mr. Clean Magic Eraser worked on life. But these things help refocus you, redirect your heart, help you laugh, leave things behind, and learn to do life better on your own.

See a breakup takes things from you. It just does. It takes your self-esteem and self-confidence. It takes your sense of security. It takes away a circle of influence and friends (his family, his friends, things you did together). It takes away the things that filled your time (evening walks, television shows you watched together, plans you probably still have for future dates that make you incredibly sad). My boyfriend and I had all sorts of summer plans, both firm and loose. The friend's wedding in Maine (firm). Going to watch a Little League baseball game at the ball field down the street (loose). Going camping!!!! (loose) The vintage camper rally (firm).

These things won't be happening. But the things below? The things below will. The things below are firm plans. I WILL do them, my heart MUST do them, my summer will not be torn apart by a man who doesn't want me, doesn't love me. How dare he, I say. How dare he decide he doesn't love me. And then I say...yes, actually, I'm glad he dared. I'm glad he did because I loved him, but I do not want a man who doesn't love me back. I deserve more than that. So do you.

These things give life back to you. They give love back to you. Take heart, dear one...you might be sad, and you might be lonely, but you are no unloved or unworthy. Never.

I painted this and it's taped by the lightswitch on my way out the front door


"But listen to me. For one moment quit being sad. Hear blessings dropping their blossoms around you."
 ~Rumi 

1.) Buy Happy Pretty Messy (read, review on Amazon ;))

2.) Try your hand at baking macarons.

3.) Change the sheets. It always makes you feel better. If you have some money to splurge, get a pair of Egyptian cotton sheets. You'll feel like a princess.

4.) Throw away his toothbrush. Or use it to scrub your dirtiest bathroom grout and THEN throw it away. That's what it's good for, and what it deserves.

5.) Have a tag sale. Sell all of the things that remind you of him, clear out clutter, make a few extra bucks, talk to some people, and it keeps you busy on a Saturday morning.

6.) Try blue mascara. It's fun, I like it, and it's $3. See if anyone notices. He certainly wouldn't have.

7.) Watch the Bridget Jones' Diary trilogy and cry your heart out.

My poetry in a German literary magazine

8.) Write some poetry. About how horrible he was.

9.) Clean out the kitchen cupboards.

10.) Clean behind the refrigerator.

11.) Watch this video.

12.) Blast "I Will Survive" and dance your heart out.

13.) Host a tea party.

Me and my Grandma, one of my biggest fans!


14.) Call your mom, dad, grandma, aunt, uncle...call your loved ones. Hear their voices.

15.) Go to the water. Whatever water you can get. In order of preference Ocean>Lake>Pond>Bath>Shower

16.) Send postcards to a few family and friends. They're a novelty item now.

17.) Buy new, ridiculously soft, incredibly fluffy towels.

18.) Drink a cup of tulsi tea. It reduces stress and balances mood. I'm drinking one right now as I write this.


19.) Get a hot water bottle if you don't have one. I highly suggest heart-shaped! I can't survive without mine for snuggles.

20.) Invest in a weighted blanket that helps you feel like you're being hugged. It reduces anxiety and stress.

21.) Spend an afternoon volunteering at the local pregnancy center, food pantry, women's shelter, career help center, Boys & Girls club, Habitat for Humanity, United Way, animal shelter, etc. VolunteerMatch can help. Bonus: You often get free t-shirts when you volunteer ;) I have a few from building playgrounds for schools, doing Habitat for Humanity, and more, and I love them.

22.) Go to church.

23.) Read Susan Branch's blog for a taste of the simple things in life.

24.) Check out a pass from your library to go to a local museum for free. Most libraries offer free passes to local museums nowadays, and you can reserve them ahead of time online.

25.) Make some money on the side by signing up for Swagbucks or eBates to pad your budget.

26.) That thing you do, that everyone always says you could sell? Sell it. Use Etsy, eBay, CafePress, Shutterstock.com, local Facebook groups, and in local boutiques.

27.) Consign some of your fancy clothes for credit, or "free shopping" as I like to call it. If you don't have a local place, check out TheRealReal for designer clothes and ThredUp or Swap.com for regular duds.

28.) Get some new clothes with a purpose. Shop on Schoola where they donate profits back to schools. You can actually see which schools  will be getting the profit from what you purchase.

29.) Reach out to mentors and people in your life you admire and ask them to write you recommendation letters. Of course a breakup always spurs thoughts of career change, but even if it doesn't, these letters are good to have on file and will boost your confidence.

30.) Write a book. Seriously.

31.) Spend time with kids. If you or your friends don't have kids, or your nieces and nephews don't live nearby, volunteer or get a part time job at an after-school program or daycare. Kids are good fro the soul, make you laugh deeply, and offer love freely.

32.) Read books before they actually come out (called a galley) for free by reviewing them on NetGalley.



33.) Pre-order my next book The Self-Discipline Handbook. It will arrive at your doorstep in January when you're ready to take over the world again.

34.) Get a new, amazing bra that makes you feel VA VA VOOM. My friend Kimmay can help! She's been on national television multiple times helping women find the perfect bra for them, and how they are more than just numbers (age, bra size, clothing size, number of kids, income, etc.) She's amazing and will rock your world.

35.) Watch Little Women, the Winona Ryder version from 1994. This is my go-to "need a cry" movie, it's heartwarming and heart-wrenching, beautiful and bleak, and it always warms my heart and inspires me, particularly in winter.

36.) Go to an event at the local high school. Support the football team, booster club, drama club, etc. Most high schools put on superb plays and concerts, and the cost of admission is low and supports the school.

37.) Spend the night away from home, but not alone. Being in your own comfort space feels good for awhile, but eventually you need to remember what it's like to wake up in a new place with new possibilities. Ask a friend if you can borrow their guest room for a night, or grab a friend and go on an overnight adventure.

38.) Get a new welcome mat for your front door.



39.) Paint your nails the color the exact color the QUEEN uses!

40.) Sew yourself some new pillow cases. It's one of the easiest projects, you can do it in an afternoon, and you get to go shopping for cute new fabric.

41.) Listen to this song on repeat. Preferably while writing poetry. "You don't need to change a thing about you...the guy that says goodbye to you is out of his mind."

42.) Follow george_and_charlotte on Instagram for doses of the incredible cuteness that is George and Charlotte, Prince and Princess.

43.) Make yourself some cute bath products, such as my mojito lip scrub and lavender-lemon lotion from Gifts in Jars.

44.) Re-read Happy Pretty Messy. I need to read this book to myself like, daily. And I'm the one who wrote it.


45.) Set up a slackline. I talk about it in Happy Pretty Messy and it's easy to do, and one of my favorite things.

46.) Treat yourself to the best of the best of chocolate and wine for a little bit. Splurge, indulge, enjoy.

47.) Make a list of the things you like about yourself, big and small. Things he didn't notice. Things like the curve of your tummy to your hip and the way you make coffee in the morning because you've perfected the pour for the pour-over coffee.

48.) Accept every invitation that comes your way. You need life right now, and adventure.

49.) Drive for 2 hours. Go somewhere. Go anywhere 2 hours away, just do it.

50.) Rest in the knowledge that if he couldn't see your beauty, your worth, your radiance...if he wasn't willing to do anything for you, if he didn't engage emotionally, or didn't put you first, or didn't think you were good enough, HE wasn't good enough for you. YOU WIN. He loses out. He lost you.

This hurt won't last forever. 
YOU CAN DO HARD THINGS. 
Shine even brighter into the world, you beautiful thing, you.

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