Last year, I got my heart broken. It was a classic case of being blindsided by the one person I thought could never hurt me. It rocked my world.
read this if you're in your saving era this summer
On top of the typical pain of heartbreak, it didn’t help that I had recently moved into a new house and that our breakup happened in that space. I felt like I couldn’t move forward and focus on myself when everything in my house reminded me of him, the breakup, and what I had “lost.”
My shower tile, for example, held an oddly deep-rooted meaning. Right before we broke up, my then-boyfriend had taken a shower. It might sound silly, but at the lowest point of my heartbreak, I fixated on the fact that he was thinking about how he was going to break up with me while in that space. It made me hate my shower (my bathroom altogether, really).
Then, a couple of months after our relationship ended, I went away for a few days to visit some friends. I knew that my landlord was going to replace the tile in my shower while I was traveling, but what I didn’t know was that it would be a soft launch into my healing process. When I came back to glossy, bright white tile instead of the dark, gray stone that was previously there, I took it as a sign that the universe had my back. Sure, something important in my life had come to a close, but a fresh start was also arriving. It was the kick I needed to remember that change can be good—even beautiful.
This little occurrence reminded me of the profound impact our homes can have on our mental health. New tile or a fresh coat of paint might not change your life, but I’ve learned firsthand that these tweaks can boost your mood. Here’s how I refreshed my space post-breakup to help me get through this challenging season of life.
1. Got Rid of Reminders
It’s pretty standard practice to rid your space of anything that reminds you of your ex. I did this immediately after the breakup and got really specific with the items I re-homed. I tossed the snacks in my pantry that he bought or loved, replaced the whiskey he left on my bar cart with new bottles of wine, and cleared off the shelf where he used to store his hoodies and stashed my sweaters there instead (hello, more closet space!). Freeing your environment of reminders will also free up some of your mental space in the long run.
2. Lit Some Sage
I don’t consider myself to be a particularly “woo-woo” person, but the idea of clearing the energy in my home seemed essential in this case. Although I had never previously tried burning sage, the process was easy, quick, and meaningful. As I walked through my house with the bundle ignited, I focused on setting new intentions, goals, and wishes for myself. It felt like an amped-up version of manifesting, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone as a meaningful way to refresh your space.
3. Displayed New Mementos
Like any gal in love, my fridge was plastered with heartfelt cards and notes from my ex. I promptly took them down but found afterward that the blank space looked quite sad. To fill that space, I hung cards from my sister, best friends, and parents instead. I’ve added new notes and photos over the last few months, and they remind me that I have the most amazing support system by my side. Keep mementos from your people front and center, and you’ll feel a lot less alone throughout it all.
4. Bought New Sheets
Having slept in the same bed with my then-boyfriend almost every night, I found my bedroom to be particularly triggering post-breakup. To change the narrative and make my room feel cozier, I treated myself to some new sheets. Splurge on a high-end set that you’ve been eyeing, or pick a different material or pattern than you’d normally go for to change things up. Slipping into bed each night will feel a lot better when you’re not sleeping on the same sheets you used to share.
5. Tackled Home Improvement Projects
Similar to the way the shower tile helped my healing process, I knew that tackling some home projects would help me boost my confidence and stay busy. My ex would have normally done a lot of these projects for me, but it felt good to take matters into my own hands. I finally got around to some of those lingering to-dos, like patching a hole, installing new security cameras, and hanging art.
6. Filled My House With Books
I’ve always been a reader, but I relied on books even more when I was going through heartbreak. Not only did I find the books comforting, but they also provided inspiration for my career and new hobbies. For a visual reminder, I set some books out on my coffee table and lined them up in a nook in my kitchen. Having books around on topics ranging from self-help to business to short essays allowed me to focus on a creative outlet when my thoughts were running wild.
7. Bought Myself Flowers
Even if your ex didn’t shower you with bouquets each week, it still feels good to treat yourself. On my weekly Trader Joe’s runs, I started grabbing a bright, cheerful arrangement to display on my kitchen counter for a little pick-me-up. It’s amazing how some pretty florals can help refresh your space and your mood!
8. Made New Memories in My Space
Above anything else, one of the most powerful things you can do after a breakup is make new memories. Invite friends over for cocktails, host a movie night, or offer to cook dinner for your neighbor. By creating different memories, you’ll be reminded of all the good that can come from change and slowly start to associate your home with those new moments rather than the old.