7 Tips For Dealing With Heartache On Valentine's Day, According To Experts
For a day that's meant to celebrate love, Valentine's Day can easily put you in a less than celebratory mood when you're dealing with a broken heart. Even if you've made progress in healing from a breakup, when Feb. 14 rolls around, it can make you want to lock yourself in your room, put on some sad music, and cry. But dealing with heartbreak on Valentine's Day doesn't have to be emotionally draining.
"Valentine’s Day can be an incredibly hard day for many people, especially those that are in the middle of overcoming heartbreak or feeling unlucky in love," Jessica Small, a licensed marriage and family therapist with Growing Self Counseling and Coaching, tells Bustle. "There are so many ways to cope, and it all starts with making a plan."
If you're feeling anxious or sad about Valentine's Day approaching, come up with a game plan now for how you're going to spend the day. "One of the things I've seen to be consistently true in my time as a therapist is that when people have a plan, things tend to go better (with space for flexibility, of course)," Small says. Having a plan, whether you choose to go to dinner and a movie with friends or take a solo trip to Europe, leaves you with less room for overthinking so you can be present and actually enjoy the day.
Mourning the end of a relationship can be tough, especially on a holiday that celebrates love. So, it's important to find healthy ways to deal with your feelings. Here are some tips for dealing with heartache on Valentine's Day, according to experts.
1. Give Yourself A Moment To Recognize Your Feelings
As Valentine's Day approaches, give yourself a chance to really feel your feelings. If you need to cry and feel sad, then cry and feel sad.
"Let yourself grieve the loss of your relationship and also the loss of the future you thought you were going to have with this person," Heidi McBain, licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle. Recognizing that you're feeling pain and then letting that out will give you room to let love and positive feelings in.
2. Nurture The Relationship You Have With Yourself
Valentine's Day is a great time to focus on the most important relationship you have — the one you have with yourself. "Spend parts of the day checking-in with yourself, rewarding yourself, and turning your symptoms into goals," Dr. Marianna Strongin, Psy.D., clinical psychologist and founder of Strong In Therapy, tells Bustle.
If you're feeling lonely, then make it a goal to socialize. If you're feeling sad, focus on something that you're grateful for. Accomplishing these small goals on Valentine's Day is a great way to boost your sense of self-love.
3. Plan A Date Night With A Friend
If you put your friends on the backburner when you were in a relationship, Valentine's Day is a great opportunity to reconnect. If you have a friend who's single or also getting over someone, plan a date night together.
4. Send Love & Positive Thoughts To Friends & Family
Just because you're not in a relationship doesn't mean that you can't give love to others on Valentine's Day. "Make an effort to mentally send loving thoughts to everyone you meet," David Strah, licensed psychotherapist and relationship coach, tells Bustle. You never know who could use that little bit of positive energy.
It's also a good time to reach out to family and friends, and let them know how much you love and appreciate them.
If you're in need of a good distraction on Valentine's Day, give volunteering a try. As Lisa Concepcion, dating coach and founder of LoveQuest Coaching, tells Bustle, "Volunteering takes the emphasis off you and puts it on those in need." It also gives you an opportunity to get out of your routine and make new friends.
6. Get Moving
When you're feeling stuck, it's important to keep moving — literally. "Enjoy a kickboxing session or a demanding workout at the gym to let go of pent-up anger (maybe at your ex!)," Dr. Diana Kirschner, psychologist and CEO of Love in 90 Days, tells Bustle. Not only will it feel cathartic, it can help release endorphins to boost your mood, too.
7. Repeat Positive Affirmations
When you're dealing with breakup you may start to feel frustrated with yourself, too, Dr. Meyers says. If feelings of self-doubt arise, recite this mantra in your head or aloud, “I decide my self-worth. My value doesn’t hinge upon anyone else or my relationship status. I also know that I’m at my best when I choose to be positive and hopeful about everything my future holds.” Repeating a positive affirmation, even if you don't truly believe it at first, can help you shift your mindset.
Dealing with heartache during any time of the year is hard, but it can be even more challenging during Valentine's Day. Don't let feelings of heartbreak overwhelm you — there's a lot of love around you.
Jessica Small, a licensed marriage and family therapist with Growing Self Counseling and Coaching
Dr. Marianna Strongin, Psy.D., clinical psychologist and founder of Strong In Therapy
Heidi McBain, licensed marriage and family therapist
Lisa Concepcion, certified love strategist and founder of LoveQuest Coaching
Dr. Diana Kirschner, psychologist and CEO of Love in 90 Days
David Strah, licensed psychotherapist and relationship coach