Valentine’s Day grief is especially challenging in that first year after a loss. That special someone is missing, and the physical and emotional toll it takes on the survivor are palpable.
The first Valentine’s Day after the loss of a spouse or significant other is often a challenging time. Since the day is devoted to love and couples, it’s difficult to escape all that is going on around you and not think about the person who you wish was by your side. Here are some tips for combatting feelings of grief and isolation on Valentine’s Day.
New Traditions on Valentine’s Day
Spending time with a friend or a group of friends is a wonderful way to keep your mind occupied and cope on Valentine’s Day. Whether you choose to plan a dinner party or grab coffee with one or two special people in your life, this is a great way to reframe the meaning of the holiday. It is as much about friendship and connections as it is about love.
Self Care on Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day is also a great time to remember the importance of self care. Treat yourself to a massage or a pedicure, or indulge on a special gift you’ve been wanting to purchase. The day is also perfect for spending time at home with a favorite book or crossword puzzle and giving yourself that opportunity to reflect and focus on the many wonderful things in your life.
Giving of yourself is good for the heart and helps to heal the soul. In fact, research has shown that there are many benefits to volunteering as a senior. They include experiencing a greater sense of purpose, decreased instances of depression or loneliness, and even physical benefits like lowering your blood pressure.
Honoring Your Loved One
As you’re considering your love on Valentine’s Day, focus on remembering them in a positive light, rather than focusing on sorrow or loss. Spend the day reflecting on the things your loved one enjoyed, and try to find joy in them. This can be as simple as going out for their favorite meal, participating in a service at their place of worship, or enjoying their favorite crafting activity. If your loved one enjoyed gardening, plant a tree. If they loved children, volunteer to read a book to a kindergarten class. There’s no right or wrong way to remember them, just look for a way to find joy in it.
Valentine’s Day with Loved Ones
While Valentine’s Day is often considered a couples holiday, spending time with family members who bring you joy is another great way to celebrate the holiday. Make a date with your grandchildren, or have tea and brunch with your adult children. Start a new holiday tradition for your family, no matter how big or small the celebration might be.
If your loved one passes recently and you are new to the bereavement process, check in with your bereavement counselor or spiritual advisor. Honesty about your thoughts and feelings is healthy. Speaking with a professional can help you to reflect on your loss and cope in a positive way.
Valentine’s Day grief is challenging. However, it’s also a first step toward moving forward with your life. Use this time as an opportunity for finding joy in the people and things that matter most to you. Spend time with people you love, pamper yourself, remember your lost love in a positive light.
Salus Hospice in Los Angeles is always here to support our families as they walk through the bereavement process. During special holidays like Valentine’s Day, we encourage you to reach out if you need support.