After you lose a loved one, holidays can be such a doozy. Even Hallmark holidays like Valentine’s Day can sting deeply if you have experienced loss. With all the emphasis on love and connection, it is hard not to feel alone in your grief on Valentine’s Day. If you need help coping with Valentine’s Day grief after losing a spouse, a family member, or a child, we have a few ideas.
Take a break from social media
Spending time on social media can be really difficult after the loss of a loved one, because people tend to share a curated persona on social media. Even though we all know that social media is oftentimes not an accurate representation of real life, spending lots of time on social media when you are in grief can still exacerbate some of the pain of grief.
During holidays like Valentine’s Days, our social media feeds tend to be flooded with images of happy couples, family crafts with smiling kids, or sweet treats to share with loved ones. But if you have lost your partner, or are grieving the loss of your baby, or are hoping for that positive pregnancy test, these photos can feel like a stark and painful reminder of what you do not have. Give yourself space from these platforms, and take a social media break for the weeks leading up to a triggering holiday like Valentine’s Day.
Give Yourself Compassion
One of the most important things you can do if you are grieving this Valentine’s Day is to give yourself grace and compassion. No matter what type of loss you have experienced, it is important to release yourself from your own internal set of expectations. For people who tend to have high expectations of themselves, this can actually be really hard!
As hard as it may be, give yourself the freedom to say no to social engagements that do not fill your soul, take a day off work for your mental health, schedule an appointment with a therapist, or prioritize some other activity that would help your mental and physical wellbeing. Give yourself the permission to cry, feel angry, harbor resentment, experience frustration, or even laugh and smile. While these can be conflicted emotions that are not easy to experience, it can help to allow the pain out.
Treat yourself to some self care
For many people, Valentine’s Day is a day when their significant other treats them to flowers, chocolate, and gifts of self care. If you have lost someone you love who normally would pamper you on Valentine’s Day, treat yourself to some self care this coming week. Whether you do something small (like a cup of your favorite coffee, a baked good treat, or a glass of wine) or big (book yourself a massage, spa treatment, or even a night away), it can help to take time to care for your body and soul.
Write down your feelings
Journaling is a highly effective tool to help you process and cope with the loss of a loved one. Many grieving people establish a rhythm of expressing their feelings through journaling around big holidays. Every individual person has different expectations related to specific holidays, so if Valentine’s Day was a big deal for you and your loved one, starting the tradition of journaling or writing them a letter on Valentine’s Day can feel healing.
Send yourself a laurelbox gift
A memorial gift in honor of your loved one can be a really special way to care for yourself on Valentine’s Day. Whether you choose to order a commemorative candle with the name of your person, a personalized butterfly garden seed set, or a self care gift, it can be so healing to purchase yourself a commemorative gift in memory of your spouse or partner.
No matter how you choose to care for yourself and cope with Valentine’s Day grief, it is my deep hope that you feel loved and validated. You matter friend!