Hey girlfriends! It’s coming…the dreaded day…Valentine’s Day! I’m sure you have thought about how the hell you are going to manage it this year, and that’s totally understandable! Valentine’s Day is full of pressure for everyone–for gifts, outpourings of love and affection, candy, cards–too much!. If you are newly single or about to be, you could be totally stressing about how you’ll handle the day. Even though it only is ONE DAY, you might need some strategies to distract yourself every so often so you don’t get down in the dumps about it.
So, how can you get through the day without suffering the depression, sadness, and loneliness that might be magnified for you at this holiday time?
>Believe in possibility! Remember WHY you are single! As stressful, tumultuous, sad, lonely, and awful divorce is, there are reasons why you are getting [or have been] divorced. Focusing on the positives of being single again can make it much easier to bear the stress of this ‘couples’ holiday. Think about how you don’t have to listen to him chewing with his mouth open and enjoy a nice meal with a friend. Then go out with friends whose company you enjoy–or stay home, eat ramen, and binge Netflix in peace! Find small ways to enjoy your single-ness, and appreciate how far you have come in creating a life that you love!
>Love, love, love on your kids! Kids are so sweet on Valentine’s Day and absolutely LOVE telling others how much they love them!! Help them make homemade Valentines for their class at school–you can find some great Valentine-themed printed paper in the scrapbooking section of your local craft store. Make them a special red-and-white themed breakfast–pancakes with strawberries or raspberries and whipped cream is a treat no one can refuse! They will enjoy doing things with you, just spending time together with the one they love the most–and isn’t that what Valentine’s Day is really about?
>Go to an anti-Valentine’s Day gathering. Whether it is put on by your friends, or a divorce support group, or singles group, sometimes it is nice to commiserate. Attending this type of event can help you feel less alone, realizing that there are others in your same situation. Further, you might even be lucky enough to meet someone to date at one of these events. Explore the possibilities!
>Stay. Away. From. Social. Media. I can’t stress this point enough! First, let me say that at this point, you REALLY shouldn’t be stalking your ex on social media. Ever. Especially not on Valentine’s Day, but actually NE-VER. The best thing you can do for your mental health is to BLOCK and UNFOLLOW your ex on any social media on which you might be connected. There is no good reason for you to know details of your ex’s life, or for them to know yours.
>Do something for others. Volunteer at your local animal shelter, nursing home, or women’s shelter [if COVID rules allow], to name just a few ideas. Giving to others can help you get out of your own head. Being busy helping others is a great way not only to distract yourself, but also to train your brain. Our thoughts and feelings are very closely related; happy thoughts will yield happy feelings and vice versa. Putting yourself in situations where you feel content, competent, confident can really lift your mood!! Furthermore, Valentine’s Day is about showing love to others, and what better way to show your love and caring than to help where you are able?
>Practice being comfortable where you are. Or uncomfortable. Sit with it and feel your feelings. There is great value in this as well, but it is the opposite of distraction. If you are single and not dating, feel it. Sit with it. Try to enjoy your being single so that you can practice being alone and caring for and loving yourself. Many times, we come out of a marriage not knowing who we are anymore. Use the time to figure that out and appreciate your talents and foster your strengths. If you are dating, you might not be ready for a grand overture or profession of love. Instead, make a choice that works for you. Your date might not want the pressure either. Communicate and work out a plan that works for you both, set clear expectations, and see what happens!