Valentine’s Day used to be an American tradition reserved for Hallmark cards and cheesy movies.
But over the past decade – much like Halloween – the day has become an almost unavoidable event, as little red heart chocolates and flowers suddenly start appearing everywhere, and news outlets go into overdrive with loved-up stories.
The lead-up to and day of February 14 can be incredibly difficult when you’re grieving the loss of your partner, especially if you feel like you’re only just getting back on your feet after the holiday period.
The constant reminders are everywhere, from the grocery store aisle, to your emails, to Spotify, to Netflix.
If you are finding the annual celebration of love a little overwhelming or triggering, we’ve come up with a few ideas to help get you through.
- Arrange to do something nice for yourself that day. It could be as small as getting a manicure or ordering takeaway. Or maybe you feel like going all out and buying yourself a nice gift or a bunch of flowers. Do whatever will bring you some joy.
- Consider steering clear of restaurants and bars, which will be more like Noah’s Ark (everyone seated in twos) than a regular dining experience.
- Spend time with your other loved ones (be that your children, parents, extended family members or friends), or connect with people who understand how you’re feeling, like the First Light widowed community.
- Find a way to celebrate your loved one in a way that works for you. That might be writing a letter to your partner (sometimes getting your thoughts on paper can be a source of comfort), having their favourite drink or meal, visiting a place that is special to you both, or sharing a memory or photo with someone who understands. Love doesn’t die and we don’t have to forget or hide our love just to make others more comfortable.
- Give yourself time and space to sit with your feelings. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious by the thoughts that come up, try using a guided mindfulness like this one to help settle your mind.
There is no right or wrong way to get through Valentine’s Day. If the best thing for you is to close the blinds and stay in bed, that’s perfectly ok. Do whatever you need to do and know that our First Light community is here to support you.