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Coping with Valentine’s Day

As the 14th February approaches, I’m sure you have all noticed those heart shaped gifts, cards and decorations displayed in shops, windows and restaurants.

For those who are grieving the loss of a partner, whether this is your first valentine’s day or tenth, it can be a particularly painful time of year.

We have put together some pieces of advice which we hope will help you through the run up to Valentines day.

Most of the time, avoidance isn’t encouraged as this can create a negative impact on the grieving process, accepting what has happened is one of the first steps to building your life after a bereavement.

However, this doesn’t mean that if you feel like you aren’t emotionally strong enough to deal with something right now, that you must put yourself through it. If you want to avoid all things valentines related, you do that. Just know that you aren’t going through this alone, there are so many people who are feeling lonely and broken on Valentine’s day, after all, it is the day to show appreciation for the one we love, it’s always going to be difficult if the one you love is gone.

Here are some suggestions on how to get through the day:

  • Ignore the day exists completely – although this may be quite difficult, if you do decide to do this, perhaps avoid listening to the radio, looking on social media or watching TV as adverts, conversations and images will be a reminder of the day you’re trying to avoid. Be prepared, record a TV programme, buy a new movie, invite over a friend who is also avoiding the day, make sure you are doing something that you enjoy.
  • Allow yourself to be miserable for the day – it’s OK to let yourself be miserable every once and a while. But just remember, you aren’t alone in your misery. There are so many people experiencing grief on valentine’s day.
  • Reinvent your valentine’s day perception and change the way you think about the day. Isn’t valentine’s day supposed to be the day for celebrating love? Choose to celebrate love of a different kind – the love of a friend, the love of your family, even the love of your favourite movie.
  • Try something new, if you don’t like it, you don’t have to do it again.  Some ideas include volunteering for the day, inviting your friends over for dinner, plan a fun night out with others you know have experienced a loss, send a card or flowers to a friend or family member who you know is also suffering on valentine’s day.
  • Love yourself. Whilst we are in the mist that is grief, we often forget to look after ourselves – slipping into a rut of unhealthy choices. Take this day as an opportunity for some much-needed attention on yourself, whether this be exercise, a nice long bath, a haircut. If it makes you smile, it’s worth doing.

Remember to recognise your limitations and don’t push yourself to do something you feel unable to do. Whatever plans you do make, make them flexible as you cannot guarantee how you will be feeling on the day.  For more support, please contact our counsellor and bereavement support coordinator Fay Bloor. Tel: 01332 345268 or