As we endure a global pandemic, the past year has been hard on all relationships but if you’ve recently gone through a divorce, Valentine’s Day may trigger a flood of negative feelings. The celebration of romantic love can be a painful reminder of the loss of a marriage and the loneliness that comes with being single. There are ways to make it through February 14th without wallowing in grief or bitterness by focusing on self-care and the healthy relationships in your life. Here are some suggestions on what you can do to make Valentine’s Day less painful and more productive.
Focus on yourself
Buy yourself a gift that might be useful for a new hobby or equipment for a home project. Take on a task, like painting a room or planting a garden that creates something special or beautifies a space that can give you a sense of pride and purpose. Don’t neglect your health. Take time to exercise and eat healthy which will improve how you feel. Take an online exercise class, go outside for a walk or a bike ride.
Give back to your community
During this time of great need and inequity, giving back to your community can help you put your own problems into perspective. Volunteer at a local charity such as a food bank or an animal shelter. You can donate blood or give money to an organization that supports the causes you care about. Helping others can boost your self-esteem and sense of self-worth. Your efforts will be appreciated and may remind you of all the positive elements in your life.
Spend time with family
Valentine’s Day can celebrate all loving relationships, including children and siblings.
Your family will understand this is a tough day and that you want to be around other people. Try to plan an activity with a few close relatives to distract you from thinking about your divorce. If your children are spending the day with you, do something special like bake cookies, watch a movie or spend the day outdoors.
Have a Virtual “Date” with friends
Organize a Valentine’s Day happy hour over Zoom with other single friends. We can still socialize while we social distance. Connecting and commiserating with friends can help lift your mood and spirits.
Avoid outside influences
Constant reminders of couples in love can bring you down. Stay off social media to prevent doom-scrolling posts of others who over-share their Valentine’s Day celebrations. Resist the temptation to look at your ex’s social media page. Also avoid watching romantic movies and listening to love songs which can induce self-pity.
Perhaps the best way to avoid the pain of being alone on Valentine’s Day is to ignore it all together. There’s no reason why you have to acknowledge the holiday. Just tune out the media, advertising and commercial influence that is aimed at making you feel like you are missing out. Be kind to yourself and remember that divorce and its aftermath is not easy but you are on the road towards a brighter future.
by Debra Schoenberg