Valentine’s Day can feel hollow when you’re grieving. It’s important to remember that the day celebrates all kinds of love – romantic relationships, friendships, siblings, and kids. The most important thing is to do what feels right. Here are some ideas to cope with Valentine’s grief.
Gather Your Gal Pals for “Galentine’s Day”
Galentine’s Day is an unofficial celebration held yearly on February 13th, the day before Valentine’s Day. It originated on the television comedy show, “Parks and Recreation,” when Amy Poehler’s character (the indefatigable Leslie Knope) decided that sisterhood deserved its own special day.
Galentine’s Day doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated. Meet for happy hour, lunch, brunch, or dinner. Or host a sleepover, complete with pajamas, pizza, and doing each other’s nails. And guys, it’s okay for you to borrow the holiday for your get-together.
Restaurants can be an emotional landmine on Valentine’s Day when you’re grieving a lost spouse or partner. If you’re not up to dinner with friends, treat yourself to your favorite meal at home. Order from your favorite place or make something yummy just for you (try one of these delicious single-serving recipes.)
Write a Love Letter to Yourself
What do you love about yourself? It’s not self-centered to appreciate your positive qualities. What attributes did your loved one relish about you?
Need a few prompts? Ask a family member or close friend to describe your best attributes. Think about how you positively impacted someone. Recall a time when you shared a random act of kindness. Reflect on how far you’ve come and your progress through grief.
Try Compassion Meditation
If writing a self-love letter isn’t for you, try metta meditation. Also known as compassion meditation, this practice helps you feel more connected to yourself and others who are also grieving or in need.
Get into a comfortable position, whether seated in a chair, on the floor, or reclining. Take a few deep breaths. Try to release any tension in your body. Feel with all your heart the wish for peace, happiness, and love for yourself, someone you know is struggling, or the world at large. Visualize wrapping that person in a cozy blanket, warm sunshine, or any other image that implies comfort and compassion.
Get Out of the House
Maybe you stayed inside for the winter holidays because of the weather or wished to avoid happy gatherings while grieving. If so, it’s time to venture out, even if it’s only for a short time. If you live in a cold climate, bundle up and go for a walk. Make a snowball and throw it at a tree. Make snow angels. Allow yourself to be silly and carefree.
Be of Service
Helping someone else is an excellent way to lift your spirits. Contact your local charities and find a way to help those in need. The greatest gift we have is sharing love, but the second greatest is our time. Volunteer your time at a food bank, hospital, or shelter.
Join a Club
Join a local widow/widower/partner loss group. Some groups host a Valentine’s Day dinner at a club or restaurant. Even if you skip the V-Day celebration, connecting with people who understand loss helps you and others. You might know someone who is just beginning their grief journey and could benefit from hearing your story.
Adopt a Pet (or Pet Sit for a Friend)
Spending time with animals not only makes you feel better, but it can also actually improve your health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pet owners are more likely to have decreased stress levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol. There are always animals in need of forever homes at your local shelter. If you’re not ready or able to adopt a pet, borrow one! Offer to pet sit for a friend or just spend an afternoon with their pup or cat.
Skip Valentine’s Day
It is acceptable to carry on and treat Valentine’s Day like any other day. Many people adopt a “business as usual” attitude on February 14. Make a point to keep yourself busy with work, family, chores, or a special project.
Want More Grief Support Tips?
Your ShareLife provider has lots of connections to local and virtual grief resources. Reach out to your funeral director or family care advisor to learn more.