If you’ve recently ended a long-term relationship, you may find yourself at loose ends. Chances are you did most things with your former partner, and now you have to recreate life as a single person. But how does one go about doing that?

This article will suggest five strategies for reclaiming and directing your energy and your time in meaningful ways to help create a fulfilling new life as a single person and to help heal from the trauma of the end of a relationship. This article comes from the office of Lee A. Schwartz, a busy Philadelphia divorce lawyer.

Strategy #1: Don’t Rush Into Any Commitments

This strategy is first for a reason. Because you are coming out of a long-term committed relationship, it will feel natural for you to commit to someone or something right away. Resist that urge.

Why? Because that urge you are feeling is merely a habit, not a need of yours. In fact, it will likely be detrimental for you to commit to something or someone right away. You need time and space to heal as well as time and space to explore your options in all things. 

Sure, go ahead and date casually, attend a meeting of a local club or organization, or sign up for a short class. But resist jumping into something with both feet. Your future self will thank you for it.

Strategy #2: Take Time to Assess and Perhaps Revive Old Connections and Activities

Many people don’t spend as much time doing what they used to do or connecting with the people they did as a single person once they are in a relationship. This is natural. 

Now that you are single once more, consider which of these activities or social connections you miss and which have you outgrown. You are in a position now to assess their interest, importance, worth, or usefulness to you. 

Make a plan to have lunch, coffee, or cocktails with at least one friend a week. You will know within minutes, if not immediately, whether you want to fully embrace this person in your life again and whether they want to reconnect with you. 

For example, you might reconnect with an old college friend and find that you’ve outgrown each other. Perhaps she is still dating and partying like it is 1999 and you prefer to be home with your cat on a Saturday night. Or, perhaps you find that she, too, is recently out of a long-term relationship and is looking for a travel partner or someone to go to the movies with a couple of times a month. You won’t know which until you reconnect and find out.

Also, plan to explore former interests with the same attitude. Ask yourself, does this activity or hobby still engage me? Am I enjoying it? Is it worth my time? 

For example, if you used to be in a book club and attend one meeting thinking, it sort of annoys me to discuss a book and I don’t like being told what to read, then don’t feel obligated to rejoin! If you take a few golf lessons and realize you’ve missed it and are enjoying it, then you’ve hit upon something you can do that nurtures you, gets you out into the fresh air, and gives you the opportunity to meet new people.

Pick and choose from the past to help recreate your social life and your hobbies and interests, but be sure not to limit yourself to what feels comfortable or familiar.

Strategy #3: Explore New Interests

You’ve likely been through a shock, ending a long-term relationship. You are overdue for a shock in a good way.

What does this mean? Try something you’ve never done before. You will be surprised how the experience will shock you out of any lingering malaise you may be experiencing after the break-up, even if only temporarily. A respite from your anger or sorrow is exactly what you need to help you heal.

Your new trial experiences do not have to be extreme or dangerous. In fact, something like trying a new type of cuisine or reading a book from a genre that you have not read before may be enough. Aim for something new that will engage you in the now. You might plan a day trip with friends doing something you’ve not done before, such as visiting a museum or a historic site. If you are artistic, take a stained glass, pottery, sculpture, or watercolor class. If you are feeling adventurous, try something physical such as scuba diving, hiking, or cycling. 

Commit to exploring at least two new things a month. It will give you something to look forward to yet not overload you or burden you, and you may just hit upon something you want to explore further.

Strategy #4: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

You are not alone. If you feel you cannot express what you are going through to friends or family, you should seek professional help. A therapist, counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist will be able to give you the objective, learned advice you may need right now to move on.

Therapy is not meant to be a permanent state of being, rather, it is meant to get you over the hump, so to speak. A professional will be able to address wherever you feel stuck and help you with additional strategies to cope, grieve, and heal.

Seeking professional solutions is never a bad thing and is not a sign of weakness. Get help if you feel you need it.

Strategy #5: Allow Yourself Time and Space to Grieve and Heal

Accept that there will be times that you will feel grief, anger, or that you are in an emotional vacuum. 

Your relationship probably took a great deal of your time, energy, and thought, and with that gone, there will be some space. Don’t rush to fill that space with something or someone. Use it to take time to reflect upon the break-up, explore your options as explained in the first four strategies, heal from the breakup, and move on. Take good care of yourself and be gentle with yourself during this process. Know that this too shall pass.