Breakups suck – they can leave even the staunchest introvert or homebody feeling lonely and uncertain. We recently asked Elle Huerta, CEO and Founder of Mend (a self-care company that helps people through heartbreak) for some advice for taking care post-heartbreak. Her recommendation? Break free from your routine. Here’s what she had to say.

By Elle Huerta, Founder of Mend

A breakup can feel like a tornado – disrupting everything in your life all at once. All of a sudden, going through the motions of your everyday life can feel unfamiliar and harbor reminders of your ex at every turn. While it’s helpful to find support and comfort in family, friends, and the familiar; I’m a big fan of taking these moments to step away from my Netflix (however tempting it may be) and shake things up.

I present to you: the post-breakup trip.

Over the years, post-breakup trips have taken on different forms for me - yoga retreats, meditation retreats, staycations, and even a month working and living abroad. With each trip, I was able to shake bad habits, detox from a relationship, refocus on my own self-care, and discover new things that fulfill me. I made new friends and memories that were just mine and not tied to a relationship. Above all, I was also able to simply be with myself and listen to my inner voice in a way that’s just harder to do when you have to think for two. Each time, I found that the true power of post-breakup travel was re-meeting yourself.

Because I’ve found these types of trips so fruitful over the years, I wanted to share my lessons learned from post-breakup adventures, in hopes that you might find them helpful too:

Don’t make meeting someone new the sole focus of your trip.
The goal is to connect with yourself on a level you don’t normally. If you meet interesting people romantically along the way, great – but it should be a bonus, not an expectation.

Bring a book with you – you’ll be glad you did.
Depending on how long your trip is, you’ll likely be spending a long time with yourself dining solo or have to wait in a long line somewhere. Soul-searching is good, but everyone has their limits.

Pack your bag like you normally would – then take half of it out.
Consider whether you need it. It’s quite literally extra baggage. Traveling as lightly as possible will enable you to travel comfortably and be completely self-sufficient and flexible in pursuit of your adventure.

Look up from your phone and detach from your earbuds.
It can be easy to forget how simple it is to make new friends when we’re buried in our phones using our earbuds as a crutch. Eye contact and smiling can go a long way – try it for a day and you might be surprised how this can change your experience on a trip. Some of the best local tips and conversations I’ve ever had while traveling came from simple eye contact.

Know that traveling solo can feel like a roller coaster.
There will be high highs and there may be low lows. Be gentle with yourself during the rough patches and know that every day will have a low point. You can even try to identify it when it happens: “Ok. This is the low point of today. It’s going to get better.”

Embrace the new and different things around you.
Ultimately, whether you stay close to home or go 3,000 miles away, travel helps you strip away all the distractions of your daily life that may keep you from really hearing your inner voice. It offers a break from the obligations, the podcasts, the emails, the group text threads, and Instagram so that you can really go deep on the relationship that you have with yourself. It’s not running away from your life – if done right, it could mean finding it.

Want to take a post-breakup trip of your own? This October, we’re hosting our very first Mend retreat focused on self-care in Barcelona. This retreat is something I’ve been dreaming about for years - being able to bring together like-minded women in real life, in a beautiful setting, so that we can all focus on collective mending. Join us?

The Mend app has helped people in over 195 countries and is available in both English and Spanish on iOS. Interested in Joining Mend’s Self-Care Retreat to Barcelona this October? GNI readers can get $300 off a 30-day stay with code GNI300, $100 off a 15-day stay with code GNI100, or $75 off a 7-day stay with code GNI75.

Image by Taras Zaluzhnyi via Unsplash