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After a break-up, the last thing you want to hear is “cheer up!” when all you want to do is watch re-runs of A Wedding Story on TLC and cry.  Let yourself process the emotional loss – breakdowns and tears are accepted as part of the catharsis.  You should never feel pushed to ignore the inevitable pain. But at a certain point, when you’re ready to take a hot shower and put down the box of tissues, here’s how to get over the jerk who I hate for breaking your heart:

1.Plan a movie marathon
No The Notebook, no Titanic, and nothing starring Meg Ryan or Matthew McConaughey.

2. Get a haircut
Changing how you look changes how you feel. Plus you’ll have an excuse to go out with your new blow-out.

3. Change your scenery
No need to blow your savings on a long weekend in Hawaii (although…), even walking around a new neighborhood reminds you there is, in fact, life outside your bubble.

4. Treat yourself to a dinner with friends
Good food. Good friends. Enough said. You deserve it.

5. Clean your room
When you live in a sty you feel like a pig—clean up! It’s amazing what a difference a good vacuuming and a little air freshener can have on your mental well-being.

6. Listen to Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Etta James
You should be doing this anyway, but especiallyafter a break-up. Strong ladies with charm and soul make you feel good. End of story.

7. Plan your dream apartment
Nothing is more empowering than perfecting a space that’s all your own—planning a dream room reminds you how lovely it is to be a lady. If you don’t already use Pinterest for this, create an account and budget at least two hours to play. Following blogs like Apartment Therapywill be just that—emotional therapy.

8. Cook for yourself
The ultimate act of independence, cooking requires preparation, competence, and creativity. Plus, it’s hard to mope between bites of lemon Dijon salmon.

9. Get dressed up
When you look good, you feel good. Plus, on the off chance you run into He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named (yes, I’m comparing your ex to Voldemort…) you’ll reaffirm what you’ve always known: you’re hotter.

10. Call an old friend
The people who’ve known you forever remind you there was life before the break-up and there will be life again after. Sometimes a healthy dose of good-old-fashioned nostalgia brings you back to the present.


11. Buy something you don’t need
It doesn’t have to be a car. Just upgrading your black coffee to a latte will make you feel decadent and on top of the world.

12. De-friend him on Facebook
No need to dread the Internet or scorn your news feed—don’t make a dramatic scene, just get him out of your head and out of your life. Because, let’s face it, you’re not “friends.”

13. Go to the gym
Besides the fact that you’ll have intense, rage-fueled workouts, releasing adrenaline and staying in shape will help you feel strong, healthy, and hot. Endorphins will fight off the break-up blues, too.  (At least according to Elle Woods!)

14. Read
The age-old escape. This tip is sponsored by thousands of years of enlightenment.

15. Light candles and make tea
A lot of times getting over a break-up means re-falling in love with yourself, so set the mood.

16. Browse inspiring TED talks
The world is bigger than any one relationship, and TED talks put that into perspective.  Be prepared to be inspired, shocked, and moved. For starters, check out Bryan Stevenson’s beautiful, provocative talk about justice and identity.

17. Volunteer
You think YOU have it hard? Not only is volunteering good for your community and a reaffirmation of your value in the social world, but you’ll start to feel a little bit better about your own misfortunes.

18. Try a new restaurant
Variety is the spice of life—use the break-up as an excuse to convince all of your friends to check out that restaurant you’ve been meaning to try.

19. Go on an adventure
Scavenger hunts. Camping trips. A pole dancing class you found on Groupon.  Be brave and take pictures! (But maybe not at the pole dancing class…)

20. Remind yourself that you will be happy again.
Because you will be, I promise.

Rachel Peck is a senior at Barnard College, Class of 2012, where she is majoring in English and Theatre and minoring in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Although she admits to actually enjoying high school in her hometown of Bexley, OH, her favorite thing to do is explore her new--slightly more exciting--home, New York City. When she isn't watching good (and bad...) TV, finding excuses to plan dinner with friends, window shopping, or napping, Rachel enjoys working for the Barnard admissions office, serving on her sorority's various boards, and writing for whoever will read it.  You can also follow her on Twitter (@peckrachel) if you're into that.
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