14 Ways to Cope With Loss of Loved One on Valentine’s Day
February is the time of year when pink and red hearts seem to be everywhere. That’s right—it’s Valentine’s Day season. While many people are thinking about their beloved, for people who have just dealt with the loss of a loved one, especially that of spouses or significant others, it can be a difficult time. Valentine’s season can be difficult, whether it’s the first holiday without a loved one or the seventh.
If Valentine’s Day is accompanied by feelings of grief, remember that you’re not alone; a lot of people are in similar situations. Here are 14 ways to cope with loss this Valentine’s Day:
- Spend time remembering your loved one. Do something that they liked to do, or something that you liked to do with them. Whatever you choose to do, celebrate their life through this activity. It will help keep their memory alive in your heart.
- Treat yourself and be your own valentine. On the other hand, you can also celebrate yourself and what you enjoy doing. If it’s an especially challenging period, do something that makes you happy, like drinking hot chocolate and watching bad reality TV or maybe taking a long hike.
- Enjoy a delicious meal. With so many couples enjoying dining out for the holiday, dine in! Order in from one of your favorite places to eat or create a special meal for yourself in the kitchen. Eat something that you truly enjoy.
- Ignore the holiday altogether. It is possible to completely forget that Valentine’s Day is coming, especially if you don’t dwell on it too much. After all, it is just another day of the year and treating it as such is also a terrific way to move past the grief and dread. Consider scheduling something mundane that you need to do that day, like getting your car serviced. That sense of normalcy might help take your mind off the holiday.
- Reframe Valentine’s Day. Consider February 14th as an opportunity to celebrate platonic love rather than romantic love. With this coping strategy, you can celebrate all of the people you love in your life by sending them Valentines and showing how much you care.
- Go easy on yourself. Maybe you simply can’t help it—this season bums you out. Don’t let it stress you out that you haven’t gotten over your loss or that you’re still in mourning. Give yourself some grace and acknowledge that you are trying your best. Grief takes time.
- Volunteer or help someone else. One surefire way to clear your head is to get into someone else’s. Volunteering is one way to give back and realize that as big as your problems feel, there is always someone else who is dealing with the same, if not, more than you.
- Get exercising. Take a yoga class, start hiking, or join a gym. Whatever you decide to do to stay active. Endorphins and movement are scientifically proven to improve your mood.
- Journal. Writing your feelings down can be an effective way of working through them. . Start a grief journal to track how you feel and why you feel this way during Valentine’s Day. Putting your feelings on paper can be very therapeutic.
- Make a donation to something your loved one loved. Was he or she an animal lover? Making a donation to your loved one’s favorite cause is a great way to honor them.
- Adopt a pet. On that note, if you’re an animal lover and are feeling especially lonely during this time of year, then it might be time to get a pet. They will love you unconditionally and also can help keep your mind off of your grief.
- Watch a loved one’s favorite movie. It might even be a movie you absolutely hate, but sharing in something they loved can help you feel closer to them (and maybe make you laugh at how different your tastes were).
- Get their friends or family together for dinner and toast your loved one. It doesn’t even have to be a dinner in their honor, but gathering people who knew your loved one can help you feel less alone and share memories.
- If you have grandchildren or children, make a special date with them. One way to see your loved one again is through your children and grandchildren’s eyes and mannerisms. This could be the start of a wonderful new holiday tradition.