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If you are grieving the loss of someone you love this Valentine’s Day, you may be tempted to push your feelings to the side and pretend that you’re just fine. Instead of doing that, why not take a little time to acknowledge your feelings and then do something kind for yourself? Grief is hard work, and Valentine’s Day can be about showing yourself a little love, too.

Here are a few self-care ideas to get you through Valentine’s Day (and may even make your day!).

Shows three women eating dinner together and having fun

1. Spend Time with Friends

Rather than sitting at home alone, make plans to fill your day with fun activities with friends. Whether that means grabbing dinner, seeing a movie, or inviting people over to chow down on your favorite snacks and watch movies, you can create a relaxing evening filled with laughter and joy. You may still have moments of sadness when you miss your loved one, and that’s okay. Your friends will be right there to love and support you through it.

2. Give Yourself a Gift

Who says you can’t give yourself a gift on Valentine’s Day? It doesn’t even have to be chocolate. Be kind to yourself and give yourself something you truly want. It takes time and intentionality to work through your grief, and you will need moments of joy to help you through. Whether you want books or craft supplies, dinner at a new restaurant you’ve been eyeing, a spa day, or 18 holes at the golf course, make this Valentine’s Day one of the good days by treating yourself right!

Shows a cell phone sitting in a basket away from people to illustrate taking a break from social media

3. Take a Social Media Break

Social media can be disheartening and exhausting on a regular day. When you’re grieving on Valentine’s Day, seeing all the happy posts may not be what you need. Instead, take a break from social media to focus on real life. Talk with friends, read a good book, go out to your favorite local joint – basically, focus on making your own memories and creating an evening of positivity (not comparison).

4. Practice Gratitude

When you’re in the middle of the journey, it can be easy to get caught up in your own grief. Especially on special days – when you may feel out of sorts or down – it’s easy to sink into the mentality that there’s nothing going right in your life. By taking a few minutes to write down what you’re grateful for, you can re-center your eyes on the positives in your life. Another great way to help you focus outward (and not get caught in the spiral of inward focus) is volunteering. Choose an organization you’re passionate about and give your time and compassion to others.

Shows man participating in a relaxing activity like bowling

5. Do Something that Helps You De-stress

During the grief journey, emotions can run high, and Valentine’s Day may be a trigger for you, especially if you’ve lost a significant other. To help you balance your sad feelings with positive experiences, consider doing something that will help you de-stress. This will differ from person to person – exercise, reading, crafting, golfing, movie watching, spending time with friends or family – but find something that will bring happiness to your heart even as you process through your grief.

If none of these suggestions appeal to you, that’s fine. Choose something that makes sense for your personality and lifestyle. The point is…take care of yourself this Valentine’s Day.

Grief takes time, and in some ways you will never “get over” your grief. Instead, you’ll learn how to live with it and make it part of your story. By intentionally adding positivity to your Valentine’s Day, you take much-needed steps toward normalcy as you move forward on the journey toward healing and reconciliation.

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