Valentine’s Day without your Valentine is not going to be an easy day. There’s a darkness just to saying or typing out the idea. If this Sunday will be your first or fifteenth Valentine’s Day without your sweetheart, I am truly so sorry.
Since you are here, I’m hoping you’re curious about what you could do or how you could prepare yourself for the holiday. I do have some ideas and strategies that I hope will give you some courage and a plan to face the day.
I want to make it crystal clear that there are no rules or “shoulds” on this list. You need to do what feels right for you. This blog is here to give you the support and strength to acknowledge where you are and what your grief needs.
Mental & emotional preparation; let’s ask some questions:
- What will the day be like? Take a few minutes now to think about what your experience of the day might be like. Will you be on social media? How will you feel seeing pictures of couples together?
- If that sounds completely overwhelming, then a good plan would be to eliminate or carefully limit/filter your time online that day (and probably the next few days as well).
- Did you have plans for this particular Valentine’s Day or special traditions?
- Is there a part of the plans or tradition that you could still fulfill? If you had candlelight dinners, you can still light your candles. If you always got milkshakes, you can still do that.
- On a day that celebrates love, do you feel you are in a place where you could celebrate yours? The word “celebrate” isn’t always a fit for people in grief and if it doesn’t work for you right now, that makes sense and is ok. If you do want to share about your relationship, write what you want to say down or share it on social media. The level of privacy and sharing is up to you – do what feels right.
Strategies & how to make it through:
- Give yourself a gift. Gifts are a huge part of the Valentine tradition. If there is a traditional gift or something you would really love to have, I would encourage you to buy that for yourself. Think of it as a gift from your loved one – they certainly would want you to have it and give you that joy.
- Don’t be afraid of memory lane but don’t force it either. Pace yourself. If you’d like to look at pictures or watch a favorite movie, do that. It might also be wise to have some less intense distractions lined up. Puzzles, gardening, sudoku, or favorite tv show marathons can be helpful, mindless or mindful distractions.
- Create a schedule for the day. Give yourself the gift of “control” over the day. Schedules help us to move on and to know that things will end. Here are some ideas for time-slot-fillers: tea & reading for 1 hour, soothing bath with candles, 30 minute walk, favorite movie, pick up lunch, nap for 2 hours, look at photo albums for 20 minutes, call a friend, take a drive and pick up some coffee or a tasty treat, watch the sunset, *home for some classical music and takeout.
- *If you do plan to leave your house before it gets dark and get home after sunset, it would be wise to leave plenty of lights on to help the darkness of the house not feel so hard to come home to.
The real secret to coping with difficult days like these is to know yourself, be intentional about what roadblocks are in front of you, and create flexible and wise ways to give yourself the space and grace you need.
I hope this can be a day with some special moments for you – glimmering memories – a gratefulness for sharing a life and love with someone else.
Above all, I hope that making it through Valentine’s Day can be its own gift of hope. You are doing hard things. Be patient with yourself – you’re going through so much. And be proud of yourself – you’re making it through the hardest days.