Going through break-up is almost always a stressful and difficult experience. It is probably not something that your previous life has prepared you for, and the effects can be worse than you could have ever imagined.

One problem you may be experiencing is the sudden sense of being on your own, cut off from friends and 'normal' society. This is a very common feeling, but it does not reflect reality. Most people nowadays are single again at some time in their lives and hundreds of thousands of us go through break-up or bereavement each year. Around 30% of households are occupied by a single person - that's equivalent to one in three doors in your street!

So you are not really on your own, and there are plenty of ways to find help - if you just know where to look. That's where Single Living comes in - we can provide some of the key services you need, as well as the support to help you get started.

Getting your life back on track

The advice that follows is based on years of experience with single people of all ages and backgrounds. Follow the advice, and it can work for you too

Don't look for a quick fix

It is important not to be in too much of a hurry. Think of yourself as being like someone suffering from an illness such as flu. For a while it feels so bad, you can't imagine ever feeling well again. But by looking after yourself and taking the right medicine, you will eventually start to feel better, and the flu will be forgotten.

The same thing applies here. If you don't look after yourself and stay on top of things, you can quickly lose hope and resign yourself to a gloomy future. But if you do make the effort, you may be surprised at how different and rewarding your new life could be. There are so many things to do, places to go and people to meet - so why not take advantage of what life has to offer?

Instead of resigning yourself to your fate, imagine that you are embarking on a new project to make things better. You'll need to be in good shape to make things happen, so ensure you are eating properly, keeping household tasks under control and taking exercise. If you find yourself becoming a hermit, or feeling sorry for yourself, learn to spot the warning signs and take avoiding action. Give yourself the occasional treat - you deserve it.

Tackle problem issues

Tempting though it may be to bury your head in the sand and ignore problems, don't - they are unlikely to go away on their own. Instead, identify individual issues and tackle them one by one. If you are feeling depressed or your self-esteem has taken a battering, seek professional help. If your finances are a mess, speak to your bank or a financial advisor. Whether you are having difficulties sorting out divorce, parenting or housing, there are organisations that can help - see the list below, or call our office for free advice.

Above all, try to remain as positive as you can when talking to other people. As far as possible, avoid conflict with your ex - there really are no winners when that happens.

Take positive steps forwards

You almost certainly would not have chosen to be where you are now - but here you are anyway, so take the opportunity head off in a brand new direction.

The first task is to lay the foundations for your future happiness, by consolidating your friendship circle and spicing up your social life. Consider getting back in touch with people you haven't seen in ages, or else join a group of like-minded individuals (take up dancing, learn a language, go to a gym…). Make sure you have at least one social event a week in the diary to give you something to look forward to. Think about trying things you have always wanted to do but never got round to, like taking up a new hobby or travelling to somewhere interesting.

As you embark on your new 'project', remember that the impression you make on other people is vital. Check your appearance and wardrobe to see if a new hairstyle or new clothes are called for.

At some point, you may find yourself wanting a new long-term partner. There are lots of ways you can do that (from lonely hearts ads to dating agencies) but the best way still remains by meeting as many interesting people as you can socially. Try not to focus too much on your search for that perfect person, but concentrate instead on developing an enjoyable lifestyle.

How to make it happen

You may be thinking to yourself - this all sounds well and good, but I can't see it happening to me. If you are lacking in motivation or self-confidence, then it is a good idea to share the 'project' with other people. Join a friendship or support group where you can make friends with like-minded people or join them on social outings.

Important note:

If you are still struggling to come to terms with break-up or loss, please DO NOT go the dating route at this point in time. if you do, it is highly likely to backfire on you. Even if you do meet that perfect partner, the chances are you will be carrying too much 'emotional baggage' to make the relationship succeed. Contact us for help and advice on this subject.