Many claim that the days between Thanksgiving and the end of the year are the hardest days for divorcees and other brokenhearted singles to get through. Based on my experience, I think Valentine's Day is equally as difficult, if not more so. Tradition suggests that February 14 is the day on which to show your lover, significant other or spouse, demonstrable affection and generous gift-giving. When that day is void of romance or special treatment, it can cause a host of emotional maladies -- from tears to over-indulging to hopeless feelings of longing and despair. Yes, the year-end seasonal holidays might be hard to manage, but events surrounding the holidays are often "padded" with the company of loving family members -- many of whom you can lean on. In contrast, Valentine's Day emphasizes the loss and absence of your very personal "dream" (and the person who you attached to that dream)!
While this day may be challenging to get through, it doesn't have to be laden with depression and sadness; not if you find ways to love yourself.
Below is a list of suggestions that may help you get through the day of "hearts and flowers"--recommendations that are fun and interesting ways to mitigate and override that sense of being left out on what is arguably the one day out of the 365 that is celebrated by and for lovers. If you are void of a romantic love interest this year, try at least one of the suggestions below. And, keep your sense of humor as you take one of more of them on.
1. Call a friend: No, not to hang out with, but to help you make Valentine's day a fun day. Make a last minute dash to slide that person a handful of money (whatever your budget allows) and ask him/her to buy you a gift with it. Then ask them to wrap it, drop it off or have it delivered to you. Have that person sign it: "Your Funny Valentine." Since this trusted friend knows you well, you can be sure that the gift you receive will be very personal. If it's a manicure, head for the salon. If it's chocolate, eat the whole box. If it's a membership at the gym, throw on those sweats and head out the door, and so forth... indulge. Know that you are loved!
2. Right this minute: Stop by the store of your convenience and buy a box of valentines. Let's say it's a 14-pack. Write something special (and different) on the back of each one. Sure, you can go online and order an assortment of cards to email yourself, but nothing says you are cherished more specifically than grabbing a stack of valentine cards you can open and hold right in your hand--notes that are highly personal because they are hard-written. I once knew a divorcee who did this--she then lined them up (she bought a two-pack of 14) on her kitchen counter (backwards) so she could keep reading the messages as she passed by them. They gave her a real boost, she said. One read: "Count on me to make you feel loved."
3. Put a "Lift-Me-Up" business plan together: Map out second-, third- and fourth-quarter goals for moving your "heart" forward. Maybe June 30, 2017 will be the date you earmark for reaching out to a single's group, dating service or friend(s) to start making introductions or for setting up a "blind" lunch date here or there. The plan should include some solid yet practical milestones for moving your personal life forward each quarter. Include a handful of ways to shed sad and bad memories in that plan. Box up photos and divorce paperwork, for instance. List all the tasks and activities that will ensure you are moving your personal agenda forward.
4. Give yourself away to a special charity: If you can't leave work or your duties at home -- or take a quick vacation day, sign up and volunteer yourself to help someone in need sometime this week. Maybe it's an elderly neighbor (help him/her clean out a cupboard or two) or sign up at a local children's hospital or center for this weekend and play some board games or read to the youngsters. Yes, when one gives, one gets. Giving love to those less fortunate can fill the heart.
5. Arrange a quiet last-minute dinner: Know of anyone in your close circle of friends and family who is also suffering? Reach out ahead of time to arrange to get together the evening of Valentine's Day. Splurge and pick an upscale eatery for dinner. Across the candle lit table, share your thoughts and feelings and make a pact to offer advice to the person on the other side of the table as he or she shares his or hers.
6. Check out events and activities on social media: These might be functions you can attend with others who are also subject to the suffering only a solo Valentine's Day can provide. Stave off the potential blues that might consume you if you stay home and choose to curl up on the couch. Maybe there is an event happening close by that might serve as a great distraction, and provide a little joy.
Whether you choose to engage in all six activities or not, I urge you to give at least one of them a try. If you do take all of them on, the day will fly by, which will leave you little time to wallow in sadness.