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How To Glow Up After A Breakup (35 Ways To Bounce Back And Shine)

by Sonya Schwartz

As one of the inevitable evils in this world, glowing up after a breakup is one of the silver linings to the usually gruesome experience. Scientifically described as post-traumatic growth, post-breakup glow up isn't always as glamorous and rad as the name might have you think.

While the result is always worth it, you'd have to stick it out through the process to get there. Considering a breakup is already similar to physical pain in the brain, piling on the growing struggles of becoming you 2.0 can be overwhelming.

However, like with other forms of growth, it isn't likely to be a wasted effort if done for the right reasons—that is primarily for yourself, not to one-up the ex. It may be hard to believe in the thick of heartbreak, but you just might thank your awful ex someday for setting in motion the singular best push of your entire life.

With the following tips, not only can you potentially get your life back after a breakup, but it should also be a pretty tight upgrade from the version that got hurt.

35 Tips For Glowing Up After A Breakup

1. Feel all the feels

Picture this: anyone can get dolled up with the right makeup products and the know-how. But without the necessary skincare precautions, the face takes a beating after the products go off. You can conceal your dark spots and breakouts all you like, but between you and your mirror, you know they are still there when you wash up afterward.

The same principles apply to this glow-up thing, there are no shortcuts. Without going through the healing process, you run the risk of potentially undoing whatever improvement you manage to pull off. No matter how long it lasted, you had a whole relationship with this person. That sense of attachment won’t just fade because they stopped holding up their end of the bargain.

It’s only by letting yourself go through the stages of breakup along with the range of emotions that come with each that you can be truly ready for the next phase.

2. Get more knowledge on heartbreak and breakup

Sometimes, learning more about what you are going through can make the journey to recovery less lonely. Despite how personal it feels every time, breakups rarely qualify as an isolated event, thankfully. That means no matter the dynamics surrounding yours, it’s happened to someone before, and there’s probably a material on it that can help.

As someone once said, reading about the science of heartbreak can give a much-needed perspective at the very least. You can join forums where the topic is being discussed for a firsthand account and support from people going through something similar.

3. Get your priorities right

get your priorities straight

Meanwhile, letting yourself feel the pain and learning more about heartbreak isn’t the same as wallowing non-stop. Finding support in your colleagues in the struggle doesn’t mean you should make the breakup your life’s theme. Learn to treat each step as what it is: a part of the process, not the end itself. The main goal is the glow up, and that's what you ought to set your eyes on.

That’s why your motivations have to be as personal as can be to have any chance at seeing it through. Any other stuff, including revenge, will eventually fade (you won't always hate your ex as much as you do now.) The idea is not to falter in your quest even when the breakup doesn't hurt as much anymore. 

Since you won't always feel as you currently do, you can't count on even emotions as strong as hatred or anger to power you through. Have your priorities straight from the onset (choose to do it for yourself) to better your odds at succeeding, and maybe things like vengeance can happen along the way as a fringe benefit.

4. Do a self-assessment

Another way to improve yourself after a relationship has ended is to undergo some personal introspection. Search yourself to pinpoint what was right and where things went wrong. Analyze not just the bad stuff your ex-boyfriend did, but also what you could have done better yourself.

Maybe also take this time to reconsider what you’re looking for in relationships and why. There’s no use blaming yourself over what’s happened, but identifying the issues helps to know where and what to work on for later.

5. Forgive yourself

Breakups have a way of opening your eyes to all the manners you have violated your confidence in yourself. It’s not uncommon for those who come out of incredibly rocky relationships to realize after the fact that they’ve been doing even worse stuff than they thought they ever could. 

Sometimes it’s a hail Mary to delay the inevitable. Other times it’s a residual effect from living through a toxic relationship. The point is, there will always be a reason to forgive yourself after a breakup, whether it’s for holding on for too long or not doing enough when you could have. And that’s exactly what you should do.

6. Shift to a self-respecting mindset

Along with forgiveness goes the need for a mindset shift. You certainly can’t do the former without it, neither can you make any real progress on self-improvement without first changing your outlook. Stop calling yourself things like dumb or ugly just because your ex’s actions implied such things.

As long as you think that way, you are basically giving him the power to control your life still. Imagine that. Instead, learn to trust yourself again by consciously choosing self-respect over the alternative. Treat you the way you wish others, including your ex, would. Validate your feelings, be gentler and forgiving of your mistakes, and generally celebrate yourself more.

7. Get out of your misery bubble

All the tips on this list up until this point can still be managed in comfy sweats without leaving the couch. It’s quite possible to set in motion everything we’ve touched on so far while still throwing yourself a pity party on the side.

However, as I said, you can’t afford to let yourself get stuck in one place, especially not at this point. Once you can process your feelings, identify the issues and practice kindness with yourself, you are just about ready to leave the misery behind. And I know just the place to start: see the next point.

8. Surround yourself with positivity

They say misery loves company, but that’s not the type you’re looking to keep at this point. Rather, you want to be around those who make you think about anything but your current predicament. Odds are by now, your friends and other people who care about you are already looking for a way to cheer you up, let them.

Let your loved ones come visit or take you out, with the caveat you don’t want to talk about anything that has to with your ex or the relationship. The breakup is probably all you’ve been thinking about since it happened, so help them help you take your mind off it for a change.

Even if you can’t jump into the fun pool right away, being around your tribe can remind you that there’s more to life than broken hearts and doom. And that you don’t actually have to go through this alone.

9. Declutter your relationships

That said, considering how sensitive the company you keep is to your mind, I’d be more deliberate about the kind of people you surround yourself with. I know I said you want those who love you around, but positivity is also essential. Not everyone who cares about you sees things the way you do, some use love as an excuse to get you to do what they think is right.

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If you have ten friends, but five of them generally make you feel like crap whenever something like this happens, it’s okay to leave them out. Needlessly holding on to draining relationships, even platonic ones, can be counterproductive to your glow up efforts. 

Better to hang with whoever is available of the positive five than to give even one of the Debbie downers a chance to ruin the progress you’ve been making. You don’t have to cut them off for life, just stay clear for now.

10. Clear up your physical environment

While we are on the subject, you shouldn’t just stop at keeping the unwanted company away. Keep the streak going by reducing the clutter in your physical environment as well. Not only will this free up much-needed space, but you’ll also come to see the psychological benefits to this too.

One of the most evident examples is instant relief from all the stress and anxiety that come with messy spaces. You can sleep better in a tidy environment and focus on healing better with a refreshed mind than with distractions around. Speaking of which, it goes without saying that your ex’s stuff should be part of the outgoing clutter, right?

11. Block your ex everywhere

block your ex everywhere

And that brings us to the more proactive part of taking charge of your fate, I should probably say beforehand that this part is a lot harder than you might think. You see, it’s natural to want to know if the ex is as miserable as us after a breakup. You want to check their page to see if they’ll say something that shows they’re thinking about you as much as you are about them.

You keep refreshing your phone in hopes that they’ll come to their senses and at least apologize for doing you dirty. But girl, if it hasn’t happened by now, it’s probably never going to. And even if they’re openly taking the split as hard as you are, remember you two called it quits for a reason. Stop tempting yourself to go back to where this all began. Block that man today! 

12. Limit your exposure to things that remind you of your ex

If you think I’m overly dramatic, feel free to skip this tip. However, if you know being reminded of your ex can make you falter, you’ll agree with my ‘out of sight, out of my mind’ idea. Then again, it all depends on how dedicated you are to this glow up thing.

Realistically, you may never truly be rid of everyone who reminds you of your ‘Satan’ ex who caused you heartbreak. But that doesn’t mean you can’t try your best to keep the ones you can, (like the best friend or his brother), off your timeline. Some people advise staying off SM altogether, but if you can’t, the block/mute feature is a close second.

13. Get into daily affirmations

Religious people call it confession, but you don’t need to believe in God to say positive things about yourself. Why? Because it’s not so some supreme being somewhere can make what you say come to pass, but rather to promote the mindset shift we talked about earlier.

It’s typical to put all the blame on yourself and say self-deprecating things so others don’t have to. However, besides punishing yourself at the moment, that approach has a more damaging effect of keeping you in the bubble you’re trying to break out of. 

Will it be easy to say statements like ‘I’m beautiful/worthy/deserving of love’ out loud when you feel the exact opposite way? Absolutely not. But if you do it consistently, you’ll realize that the universe really does accept what we put into it. With time, your outlook on (your) life will change for the better because you’ll start to believe those things on a subconscious level. 

14. Practice mindful meditation

If the affirmation thing seems like something you can get behind, consider throwing some mediation in the mix too. The only reason I won’t say the combo works like magic to improve mental and physical wellbeing is that it’s not as fast.

However, if your mind tends to get too loud for you at times like this, you will find some needed peace in this introspective act. Thankfully, there are loads of exercises on mindfulness online that would be perfect for you in this tasking time whether you are a beginner or a guru.

15. Keep a journal

Someone introduced me to journaling a few months ago, a challenging time for me, and I’m still grateful for it tomorrow. Seeing as how it felt like a weight was taken off my chest the first time I tried it, I couldn’t help but wonder why it took me so long to start.

I’d heard about the healing effects of writing your thoughts and feelings down, but for some reason, I kept writing it off as “one of those woke things.” But then I decided to give it a go, and, well, it’s working. It’s a great way to stay self-aware, get things off your mind (like therapy!), and better process your emotions, among other benefits.

16. Get comfortable with being by yourself again

Accept that the relationship is genuinely over so you can finally work on leaving it in the past. In the meantime, get to know yourself a little bit more. Spend more time not just bettering your physical appearance but also on the person within. What do you actually like? What are the things you can’t confidently say you know about yourself? 

What are the things that suit you, and what are the ones you do to please those around you? Do you even know your body type? Redirect all the energy you used to spend on your failed relationship into befriending yourself again. Trade that ‘we’ cycle for exciting solo adventures, and you just might love what you find.

17. Integrate self-care into your doings

How much of a priority would you say taking care of yourself (like really putting your needs first) is on your list? If it’s not the top three, you need to rearrange it asap. Pay more attention to how well you are sleeping, and invest in improving the quality if need be. Add rehab and recreation to your calendar – like spa and mani-pedi appointments, not a drug plug. 

Visit the dentist and your gyne, even if it’s just for routine checks. Maybe give the mindfulness thing a go and try to be consistent. Avoid indulgences that will only make you worse in the long run, like junk food and substances. Hang with positive-minded people who love you as much as you can.

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Practicing self-care is the perfect post-breakup regimen because besides keeping you too busy to dwell on your heartbreak, the glow it brings about isn’t just skin-deep, it’s legit from within.

18. Dust up your skincare routine

This section is probably needless anyway, like we aren’t obsessed with skincare enough, right? Wrong.  That’s the kind of mindset that gets you to stop halfway every time you start a routine. First off, I wouldn’t describe taking care of your body as an obsession. The more, the better, in my opinion.

Two, the skin is the largest organ you have, you literally went through the whole relationship together. Yes, your heart is broken, maybe, but it’s still all cozy inside while your skin, on the other hand, was exposed to your ex. If you’re going to be obsessed with something, that sounds like a good enough reason to me lol.

On a more serious note, though, hone in on that skincare, girl! Face masks, oils, moisturizers, scrubs, water, sleep, vitamins, the whole works. It’s one of the physical steps to actually locking in this glow, but you already knew that. 

19. Try to eat healthily and drink lots of water

What you put into your body is just as important as the products you apply to it as far as glow up is concerned, hence the emphasis. Junk food won’t get you any closer to your revenge body, so if that’s one of your 2.0 goals, best cut those out.

I’m not about to start a whole lecture on the intricacies of nutrition, but since it’s come up, I hear diets like the Mediterranean can be quite the boon to skin and overall health. In sum, if you eat more fruits, whole grain, nuts and seeds, olive oil, and co. and drink plenty of water, you run the risk of getting glowy skin.

20. Sweat the negative energy out

Bet you knew this was coming. Of course, you did. As the good book says, there’s a time for everything. Time to pamper your skin and time to shake it up. Time to sleep and time to… you catch my drift. I mean, working out offers everything you hope to gain from self-care, except maybe body pain. 

Obvious bodily benefits aside, exercising regularly boosts your mood, energizes you, helps you relax and sleep better. Then there’s the mental aspect, like how it lifts your self-confidence and helps with depression. Does that sound like the stuff of a post-breakup glow starter pack, or is it just me?

21. Get into a beauty groove

This is one of the easier tips on this list. You’re practically a YouTube video away from whatever is keeping you from being on top of your beauty game. No matter what your jam is, whether hair, makeup, skincare, or all of the above.

Spice your usual beauty regimen up by trying new styles just to see what fits. Pro tip: if you use makeup, make do with the right bronzer while working on achieving and internalizing a more natural glow.

22. Experiment with different hair and clothing styles

experiment with different hair and clothing styles

The classic after-breakup trope of chopping the locks off hasn’t lasted generations for no reason. Though it’s worth giving some hard thoughts to it before doing the deed, a new hairstyle can come with a refreshingly new perspective on life and how you see yourself.

Try something different with your clothing choices too. Sure, you may have a personal style that works and is comfortable, but in the spirit of glowing the f up, an out-of-character wardrobe overhaul may not be such a terrible idea. Put what you’ve learned about yourself (read body) into good use and try this crazy stuff called stepping out of your comfort zone. 

The hair and clothing makeover may seem extra but don’t kick it till you try it. Something tells me you don’t want to miss out on the liberating feeling that is pulling off a look you thought wasn’t for you.

23. Set small achievable goals every day

Whether you got dumped or you were the one who had to break up with your ex, every girl (ok, everyone) fantasizes about an alternate life to their reality. Whether the relationship was pure bliss or the opposite, you must have thought of what you’d rather be doing if you weren’t with this man at some point.

Maybe it’s time to revisit those thoughts. They’d make great ideas for a post-breakup glow up checklist. Start with the basics, like drinking more water, eating healthier, and taking your vitamins. Then go up the ladder to the mental and appearance regimen as you feel more committed to the glow up!   

24. Educate yourself more on self-love

Consume healthy consumables on loving yourself to differentiate it from self-indulgence and other things that it isn’t. For instance, spending the whole post-breakup rut playing the blame game instead of owning up to your part in it and fixing up isn’t self-love.

What it is, is a decision to regard your advantage not just immediately but also in the long term. Is it right or wrong? I can’t say, but I know those who practice self-love diligently tend to radiate positively. If you have issues being consistent, you can find support in material from self-improvement books to podcasts and even Twitter and Reddit threads. 

25. Find/reignite a new passion

Another somewhat cliché but works all the same tip is to dust up a shelved passion of yours and make a hobby of it. Maybe the guy had to break up with you at this time for this exact reason if you believe in that sort of thing.

Think of something healthy that used to excite you before you got caught up in the throes of relationships and breakups. Focusing some of your energy on that thing again sure beats idling, plus there’s a sense of independence to it that can be empowering. 

26. Channel some of that energy into securing the bag

If you have a business or a job, you can extend some of that newfound passion into improving your productivity. In other words, girl, chase the bag. Financial security is the ultimate one-up post-breakup in some people’s books.

Even if it isn’t that high on your list, there’s no denying money makes living more enjoyable, especially your own money. Work through the pain, and maybe someday you can tell the story of how you turned tears into $$$.

27. Learn a new skill outside work

In a similar vein, adding a feather to your cap just because is another way to go. You can try your hands at different stuff, not for work or school, but just to broaden your scope – actually learn something for the sole reason that you want to know it.

Be it a language or a skill, whatever you pick becomes part of you, and if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that no knowledge is a waste. Someday for sure, you’ll be grateful you did.

28. Socialize

There’s a time to isolate and a time to get out there and mix with other people. We are social beings, heartbreak or not, we still need company. Some of the previously discussed tips like hitting the gym or joining a class can help fulfill this need. And if parties are more your jam, turn up with your friends.

Ideally, you should aim to mix the settlings up to get a feel of all worlds, especially since the goal is to break out of old routines.

29. Do something that scares you

What’s something you’ve been putting off for the longest time? Like that email that’s been in your drafts for god knows how long or reaching out/reconnecting with an old friend you hurt. Some say to revisit your old bucket list and do something scary like crocodile cage diving or owning a truth you’ve been hiding.

You finally get to cross whatever it is off your list, which means less overall baggage, not to mention fringe benefits like the adrenaline rush. 

30. Give some love back to your environment

Volunteering is an excellent way to hobby up, be productive, and feel fulfilled within one’s self. Identify where you can make a difference in your community and try to allocate some of your time to it. You’d be surprised how many people around you could use even just a fraction of the love and attention your ungrateful ex took for granted.

Even just an hour a week can make a huge difference. However, if volunteering isn’t your thing, you can decide to get more intentional about your inanimate milieu too. Nurture a plant, prioritize organic usage, recycle your plastics, basically do your due diligence for the environment you find yourself in.

31. Rebound

Some people prefer to take sex out of the equation when addressing healing after a breakup. Like that need somehow becomes numbed when they break up with you. While I respect the idea of not confusing your zen or whatnot, I also like to be as realistic as I can be.

Last I checked, breakups don’t kill libido, so there’s no reason to let cobwebs gather down there once you’re past the susceptible stage. Plus, it turns out the big-O itself is self-care. Just be sure to keep your entanglements strictly to the down below for now. You can consider a healthy rotation to lower the chance of emotional attachment for now. 

32. Milk the single life for all it’s worth

Since the breakup, how many times has it occurred to you that you are actually single now? That you are free to actually make decisions, bad or good, without having to first consider how it suits your man? That you can finally book that solo trip you’ve been wanting without feeling guilty for leaving your other half behind?

It means more space on the bed and walking around the house in your birthday suit without getting lowkey shamed for it. It means choosing to do whatever the hell you want from here on out until you get bored of it again. In the meantime, make good use of that privilege. 

33. Take it one day at a time

take it one day at a time

Whether you have a list of things you wanted to do as a single woman before the breakup, or you’re only just realizing the prospects, try not to rush yourself. There’s no real pressure to get there quick, the world will always be there to witness whenever you are ready.

Till then, avoid overkill by trying to do it all at once. Remember, the glow up is a transformational process, a systemic makeover, not something you can finish in a day.

34. Set a reward system

As is often the case with breakups, resolve for self-improvement tends to drop along the line as emotions subside, particularly for those bent on comparing progress with their ex. Since it’s our nature to be competitive, that’s a lot more of us than are willing to admit to it.

But maybe knowing this fact beforehand can help you take it kindly when you catch yourself slipping and pick up where you left off. Pat yourself on the back every now and again for little wins. Your brain is more likely to stick with a task when there’s a prize for completing it.

35. Whatever comes next: do it for you

Theoretically, the true test of how far you’ve come since your breakup would be in seeing you back and killing it in the dating scene. To redeem all you’ve realized and learned for superiority, or open your re-invented self up to giving the love you deserve a chance if you want. 

But in reality, it can also mean finally being comfortable enough with you to be by yourself without reservation.

The point is not to let what went wrong with this relationship leave you cooped up in a shell nor force you to throw yourself into something else prematurely. 

But rather, to leave the door open for new opportunities (glow ups tend to attract plenty of those.), to remember where you are coming from, how far you’ve come, and more importantly, let those reminders inform your choices wherever you go from here.

FAQs

How long does it take to glow up after a breakup?

There’s no set time for the glow up to show up after a breakup. Some couples break up relationships, and the transformation is evident a few weeks or months after, whereas some other people can be at it for years without showing any real progress.

How do men glow after a breakup?

A breakup can nudge a man to revisit goals and passions he’d otherwise gotten too comfortable to pursue. Some men exercise more, some buy into glow up ideas, including skin and body care products like face masks, scrubs, and oils. It may also have something to do with all the rebound sex they have post-breakup.

Is it too late to glow up?

No, it’s not. Glowing up means working on upgrading to a more sophisticated version of yourself – to consistently strive towards mental, physical, and emotional growth and generally be better than you previously were. As long as there is life within them, anyone has a chance to join the club.

Do guys hurt after a breakup?

Guys have feelings too, so yea, they feel it when they break up with someone they love and vice-versa. A study once found that men tend to suffer the pain of breakups longer than women, even though women seem to be more miserable about it at first. 

How long does it take for guys to regret breaking up?

Regretting the decision to break up a relationship isn’t a gender thing, the best of us have been there. Usually, it’s the person – guy or girl – who initiates the breakup that feels the remorse, which sets in right around the time the excitement of their newfound freedom starts to wane.

To Summarize

What do face masks and post-traumatic growth have in common? Both are centered on self-care, which just so happens to be the baseline of this glow up guide. Understand some days will be easier than others and that both are equally part of the process. You can’t afford to give up because of a slip. Remember, all good things take consistent effort.

So, did you find what you were looking for? Kindly let me know your thoughts in the comments and share the article if you liked it.

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Sonya Schwartz
A hopeless romantic that struggled for many years to find her Mr "Right" and made all the mistakes you could think of while dating. Known for always choosing the wrong guys or messing up relationships, Sonya was finally able to change her approach and mindset when it came to dating which helped her eventually find the man of her dreams and become happily married. You can read more about me here...

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