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  • Writer's pictureNicolle Weeks

Focus on yourself, especially after a split

This piece was nationally syndicated in Canwest newspapers

My first job was a receptionist position at a big broadcaster. One of the most impressive women at the company was the head of the legal department. She was in her 40s, fitter than I was, and extremely confident. I never thought to question why she was that way until the day when one of my colleagues let me in on a secret. Before her divorce, she was 20 pounds heavier and a lot less happy. “The divorce was the best thing that ever happened to her,” my friend said. I learned a valuable lesson that day. Firstly, divorces aren’t always the most devastating thing that can happen to a person, and secondly, it’s possible that a break up could be the best thing that ever happened to your body. Obviously, in a time of dire stress or grieving, the way you look isn’t always the first thing on your mind. But looking good makes you feel better and often, you look better when you’re taking care of yourself. Get thee to a gym Of course, this applies to everyone. And it is possible that the gym is already a part of everyday life for you. If it isn’t, though, make an extra effort to get there. Not only will you tone up for those hot nights out, working out is a proven stress-fighter and will keep you from getting sick. Other benefits: better sex with your lucky new beau and a time-filler, now that you’ve got a bit of a time void going. Book a spa appointment Immediately after you break up, call your best friend. Immediately after that, call the spa and book a series of embarrassingly indulgent spa treatments. That’s right, a massage, a facial, whirlpool bath, mani and pedi – basically, everything you can afford. Bonus points if your benefits cover the massage. That means you can spend more on the other treatments. If there’s one time when you need someone to pamper you, it’s now. Maria, a 25-year-old database manager, always books herself into a spa after a break up. She thinks the world of going in and getting yourself cleaned up – for you. “Even getting your bikini line done is a good feeling, even if no one’s going to see it,” Maria says. Go to town and enjoy yourself. Get your best friend to join you. If she won’t, give me a call. I always need an excuse to go to the spa. Don’t eat yourself out of house and home Sometimes, when you think that the world can’t get any worse, that there’s no hope left for humanity, that civilization is crumbling beneath your feet, it’s easy to justify eating a whole tub of Häagen-Dazs. After you overeat a bit, stop, think about your health, and take it easy. “I tend to overeat after a break up,” Daphne, a 23-year-old student, says, “But let’s face it – you don’t want to gain a lot of weight when you’re trying to hook up with someone new.”

Go through your wardrobe and edit People usually need something drastic to happen to take a good look at their wardrobes and decide to make a change. Why not use your break up as a reflecting point? Were there clothes you wore especially for your ex? Get rid of those ones, they’ll just remind you of him (or her). Are there clothes that you wore because you were (be honest) fine with letting yourself go? Get rid of those, too. If they don’t look good, they’re out. Once you’re done with the edit, go buy some new things that make you feel like a million bucks. Don’t confuse this suggestion with going out and actually spending a million bucks. A few good, well-tailored pieces are worth the ill-fitting clothes you just threw out. While you’re at it, get some new lingerie. Wearing pretty panties will make you feel sexier, whether anyone else will see them or not. Do NOT get a new haircut Common logic says, ‘Hey! I am a new woman! I’ve got new clothes! I’m going to the gym! Why don’t I drastically change my hair?’ Perhaps logic is the wrong word. Perhaps the correct word is mania. Of course you want to look great and do something different and show your ex that you’re extremely hot. But don’t jump into something without thinking it through first. “I can’t tell you how many people I’ve known, who went out and got a disastrous haircut after a break up,” says Maria. It’s true – at least give yourself a cooling off period before making a huge hair decision. And for goodness sake, consult five friends. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

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