Monday, February 11, 2008

Coping with Valentine's Day as a Single

For many, many of my adult years, Valentine's Day was a harsh reminder and a reality check of the absence of someone special in my life.

As a medical student and resident physician in training, I found it difficult to see the nursing staff and married student's getting special flowers from that "Special Someone."

I would spend many a day and night wondering, when or if, I would ever find someone. (I met my husband when we were both 36.)

Valentines - Harder for the Single Female?
Perhaps because of the Valentine Marketing that now appears soon after Christmas and the many pressures placed on women to be part of a "couple," Valentine's Day is harder for the single female and the newly single female.

These feelings were depicted on a classic "Friends" episode from the first season, where Phoebe leads Monica and Rachel on a cleansing Valentine's Burning Ritual (Boyfriend burning bonfire) to help them deal with the holiday. Their ritual goes awry and the fire department (with male fire fighters) respond.

Suggestions for Coping with Valentine's Day as a Single

  • Have a burning ritual, but make it a positive, cleansing one--getting rid of the old, to let in the new. Be fire aware.
  • Listen to your favorite uplifting music.
  • Light a candle.
  • Read an inspiring poem (not necessarily a love poem).
  • Take a minute to list everything you have to be grateful for, and focus on living life with gratitude.
  • Plan a special day just for you.
  • Give yourself a special spa day.
  • Go to a funny (non-romantic) movie.
  • Get your hair or nails done.
  • Give yourself the time to read the book, magazine that you've been wanting to read.
  • Watch the inspirational short mini-film, A Knock at the Door.
  • Plan a distraction, such as a weekend away or a visit with single friends or supportive relatives.
  • Create a new tradition.
  • Go on a lovely hike. Practice some nature therapy. Getting out in nature can be very uplifting.
  • Take a girlfriend out to Tea.
  • Remember that Life is still worthwhile if you just Smile.
  • Do something nice for someone else - thinking of others when you are feeling down is a great way to lift your spirits.

Suggestions for Coping with Valentine's Day When You're Newly Single

Valentine's Day is also a difficult day for those who are newly single, those who have lost that special someone, due to breakups, divorce and especially death. As with Christmas. Birthday's and Anniversaries, Valentine's Day can be another of the painful 'trigger' days that bring back the old memories.

Some helpful coping strategies for making it through the day include:
  • Take time to relax.
  • Focus on yourself and take care of your health.
  • Make time to attend to the needs of family, especially children.
  • Find someone to talk to about how you are feel.
  • Focus on good times you shared with your loved one, rather than the loss.
  • Pretend it is an ordinary, regular day.
  • Find a way of celebrating (or not) that will be the most meaningful for you.
  • If you need to take a look at other healthy ways of coping with grief.
Look over the list of suggestions for Coping with Valentine's Day as a Single and find one that sounds like it would be a good way to celebrate the day.

Dyer K. Ways of Coping with Valentine's Day. Condolence & Sympathy Section. Journey of Hearts.
Dyer K. Anniversary Reaction - When Remembering Isn't Always a Happy Occasion.
Dyer K. Life is still worthwhile if you just smile - An Inspirational Song by Josh Groban. August 2007. Grief, Loss & Transitions Blog.

Image Source:
Sarah Williams.
Brokenheart. Royalty Free Use.